I had a wonderful, if exhausting day on Thursday at the Festival of Quilts, the first time I have visited this show. I took a few photographs of exhibits, but I thought I would share my experience for those of you who couldn't make it. The day started well when I picked up my friend who found out at the last minute she could join me, and we arrived in Milton Keynes in good time for the train - that was until Sally realised she had left her mobile phone on the kitchen table and it had the pin number on it for her to obtain her pre-booked train tickets from the machine. We had to use my phone to ring her husband, who couldn't operate her mobile, who then had to wake her daughter to retrieve the number, and a sleepy fourteen year old is not always on the ball even when the train is due in five minutes and there is a long queue for the machines. I left Sally in the queue as she had an open ticket and rushed to the platform, luckily the train was a few minutes late and we were fine - happy to sink into our seats.
If you have never been to the NEC Birmingham, it is a huge site, and after waiting over ten minutes for a shuttle bus we decided to walk. This must take at least ten minutes including several long moving walkways. I decided that £6 for the programme was essential and my friend and I split up and made a rendezvous for an hour and a half later for lunch. I decided to have a walk round the space first to get my bearings. I knew a couple of stands I wanted to visit and artists I wanted to look out for. However although I knew one blog contact, Maggi Birchenough was on the SAQA stand until 11.30, I could not located it anywhere and it was not until reading the programme on the train home that I found out which stand this was - it was listed under something different. So disappointingly I missed her. I did locate the Kemshalls and it was lovely to be able to say hello. Lunch was rather disappointing. When I went to the Stitch show in March, they had one of the restaurants open and my friends and I were able to get a pleasant enough meal, this time there were only the smaller kiosks open or food trailers like they have at outdoor craft fairs etc - so, alright if you want fish and chips, a baguette or jacket potatoes - no nice salad or pasta so we ended up with a portion of chips. After lunch I took my time looking at the displays of quilts in the competitions and at the different artists who had stands. I was delighted to see this one by Alicia Merrett, which featured in the April/May Quilting Arts magazine. I certainly lived up to my expectations.
Canal Country -Alicia Merrett
It was also easy to spot Stephanie Redfern's work - (close-ups only I'm afraid) whose blog I follow.
It was difficult to get decent pictures as there were a lot of people looking at the exhibits.
The Moth Pages - Stephanie Redfern
Beyond Dark Spaces - Stephanie Redfern
Stephanie was there on a stand and I had recommended her work to my friend. When we met up to leave Sally said she had enjoyed Stephanie's stand and she had been there very busy talking to people - I had missed it completely. I knew she was on stand Demo H but I could not find it on the plan anywhere! Sally had come upon it completely by accident.
Here are some other quilts from the competition display.
A Tapestry of Canary Wharf - Mari-Theresa Fernandes
Fragments of Time - Hazel Ryder
Don't Go - Laura Kemshall
I had followed Laura making this quilt on her blog, so it was wonderful to see it. the stitching was fantastic - all the whirls in the fingertips were stitched.
I was also fascinated by Kate Dowty's recent work, there was a big stand of her works
It was definitely worth visiting. I can now see why two shorter visits would be preferable, but I will go again next year. I think it would be worth buying a show guide in advance so you can locate what you want to see. I found it difficult to concentrate on deciphering the guide when I was there, especially as I was unfamiliar with the show. I did buy a couple of gadgets and some supplies - well you have to, but the work on display was the real star of the day.
Hope you are enjoying some sunshine.