Bumper 20th anniversary celebration for The Festival of Quilts

Posted by Rachel Westall on 6 April 2023

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 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% 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 open 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 will offer its biggest-ever workshop programme, featuring new international tutors, Carolina Oneto (USA), Joe Cunningham (USA), Maryse Allard (France), Sheila Christensen (New Zealand) and Jane Renton (South Africa), plus Amanda Hislop, Caroline Barley and Chris Harget to name just some of the new UK tutors.
More than 200 specialist craft retailers will be on site, with exhibitors from Australia, New Zealand, the U.S. and Japan returning.

Of course, it wouldn't be a birthday without a party! The Festival of Quilts' 20th Anniversary Party gets underway at the Festival Theatre at 5.30pm on Friday 4th August, with drinks, nibbles, birthday cake, party games, a prize giveaway, and a fun line dancing lesson hosted by dance champion and choreographer, David Chamberlain.

Anna Baptiste, Event Director for The Festival of Quilts, said: "We are counting down to our most exciting show yet when we celebrate 20 incredible years of The Festival of Quilts. It's always the highlight of the quilting year, but this is a particularly special event with exciting new competition categories that reflect the times we live in, spectacular headline galleries by internationally acclaimed artists, our competition winners' exhibition, a star appearance from Angela Walters, and a birthday party! We can't wait to welcome visitors to what promises to be the best ever Festival of Quilts."

The 20th Anniversary Festival of Quilts takes place at the NEC Birmingham from 3rd-6th August 2023. Tickets go on sale to Quilters' Guild members on 14th March, to those who have pre-registered interest on 21st March, and to the general public on 22nd March at www.thefestivalofquilts.co.uk/. Advance adult tickets are £18.50 (£16 for Guild members), concessions are £16.50 (£14 for Guild members) and there are three VIP packages. Booking fees apply to all transactions - £3.50 for e-tickets and £3.95 for postal tickets. Children under 18 go free if accompanied by an adult. Ticket purchases are advisable in advance but are also available on the door.

All information is correct at the time of writing.

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