Craft Focus - April/May 2023 (Issue 96)

24 Bumper 20th anniversary celebration for The Festival of Quilts The Festival of Quilts, Europe’s leading patchwork and quilting event, will celebrate its 20th anniversary this year with a bumper line-up of features that include special guest appearances, exciting new competition categories, celebration galleries and exhibitions, the Festival’s biggest-ever workshop and talks programme, and a party! Flying in from the USA to mark this very special occasion will be modern machine quilter and YouTube star, Angela Walters, from The Midnight Quilt Show. Angela will be sharing her longarm quilting skills in a series of workshops and talks. The Festival of Quilts is launching two exciting new competition categories for 2023, Sustainable Quilts and The Joy of Sharing. The Sustainable Quilts category is for quilts made with minimal negative environmental impact, with at least 75 per cent of the fabric used to be re-purposed from functional textiles and discarded items and the rest from organic and/or stash fabric. Biodegradable, recycled or naturally sourced materials should be used wherever possible. The Joy of Sharing category is for quilters wanting their work to be seen but not judged, and is designed to welcome and encourage every quilter to show their work without the restrictions of other categories. Competition entries opened in late February, with more than 700 competition quilts expected to be on display. A special winners’ exhibition, 20 Quilts for 20 Years, will feature a selection of winning quilts from The Festival of Quilts’ competition from the last two decades, giving visitors the opportunity to view some of these masterpieces once again. Visitors can look forward to spectacular galleries by some of the world’s leading quilt artists, including Denise Labadie, Ekta Kaul, Elizabeth Brimelow, Joe Cunningham, Laura Kemshall, L’Merchie Frazier and Sandra Meech, and exhibitions by the European Quilt Association (EQA), the International Quilt Museum Nebraska, Studio Art Quilts Associates (SAQA), The Quilters’ Guild, Zero3, and artists shortlisted for The Fine Art Textiles Award 2023. The 20th Anniversary Festival of Quilts takes place at the NEC Birmingham from 3rd-6th August 2023. Tickets are now on sale at Transforming the future of trade shows Autumn Fair, the successful marketplace for wholesale home, gift, and fashion taking place from the 3rd-6th September 2023, sees the launch of Connect @ Autumn Fair. Endorsed by leading UK retailers such as John Lewis, WHSmith and Choice, Connect @ Autumn Fair is a transformational new approach to buying, designed to revolutionise the traditional trade show model by connecting retailers and brands on a scale never achieved before. From this September, Connect @ Autumn Fair will lead the way for the retail community and transform the buying experience by fuelling thousands of prearranged buying meetings before the show even opens. Viewed as the dawn of a new era for retailers, Connect @ Autumn Fair will connect thousands of the UK’s leading buyers and retailers with all 600+ Autumn Fair exhibitors before the show. Buyers will be able to discover the brands and products their businesses need, by selecting from hundreds of data points important to them. Exhibitors can create leads, orders, and opportunities with the buyers they want to meet most - all in an incredibly efficient and effective way - turning chance meetings into guaranteed connections. Over 6,000 meetings are anticipated to take place at Autumn Fair. Each meeting is 15 minutes long and all meetings are double opt-in, meaning both parties have agreed to meet. Meetings take place on the stand, so buyers can explore the full product range. Buyers can participate in as many double opt-in 15-minute meetings as they’d like limited only by availability and mutual interest. If more than 15 minutes is required, a follow-up meeting can be arranged at or after the show. Peter Allinson, CEO, Whirlgig Toys adds, “Connect @ Autumn Fair sounds great for me. It means I get a really detailed conversation with someone and they’re prepared to meet me. It means they’ve done their homework and I’ve done mine and we can actually talk about something that’s relevant.” Connect @ Autumn Fair is powered by the leading meetings technology company Personatech, that developed and operates the largest meetings programmes for retail events including ShopTalk and GroceryShop. For buyers to join Connect @ Autumn Fair, the first step is to register for a FREE ticket to Autumn Fair. Registration opens in April 2023. Or book in a call with Autumn Fair’s community development team on Tel: +44 20 3545 9735 to find out more.