Sue, Gunilla and I travelled up first thing Saturday morning to the Festival of Quilts. Almost the first quilt I came across which I wanted to photograph in the 'Elemental' section was this one - which turned out to be Gunilla's prize winner!! I sought out Gunilla to tell her ( she had no idea!) - it certainly set a high standard for the viewing right from the start. I viewed the competition quilts first as I knew that once I'd seen the quilts in the galleries, there would be no going back. It was great to see quilts made by friends and people I knew and to see how their styles were developing. With many quilts, I took photos , looked at the catalogue and then had that 'of course 'moment when I realised they were by quilters I admire (including Kate Dowty, Annette Morgan, Stephanie Redfern)
I went to the talk by Susan Brandeis on 'Living the Creative Life'. Not too many people first thing Sunday morning which was a pity. I've heard/read most of the suggestions before but reinforcement is always good. The importance of taking risks and working through quantity toward quality resonated for me, also the need to work at your own pace and avoid comparing yourself negatively to others. I looked at Susan's quilts afterwards- some of them I thought a bit 'busy' but I liked her recent work particularly (me being a botanist!) those with a botanical theme. I know from experience how difficult it is to capture the essence of plants without getting overloaded in the detail. Her quilt of equisetums showed this quality admirably ( and anyone who is using digital prints in such a subtle and imaginative way get my vote)
But as many people have said in their blogs already ( do read Olga's thoughts) once you'd seen Dorothy Caldwells work, nothing else compares.
I looked at her pieces again and again, talked to her, and tried to make sense of them by sketching them. Her work is equally mesmerising on a small and monumental scale, and the real magic is that you can't tell where the marks made by resist/ discharge and stitch start and finish. Mind blowing.
I was relatively modest on the purchasing front, sticking (mainly) to my shopping list of wadding, silk organzas and variagated thread ( machine and cotton perle) But I succumbed ( as I often have before) at John Gillows stand. After making him laugh with my adventures in Iran ( (he'd advised on textile possibilities, some of which I'd managed to follow up), he showed me a bandhini (shibori) turban length that I was unable to resist. It has many different patterns on it (flowers, stripes, checks, triangles, paisley and even a Persian style tree) The challenge now is to work out how I can display its 14m length to best advantage.