The problem was....there was just too much to see in one day! Having explored most of the main exhibition categories and a few others besides, had some lunch and checked out the Janome sewing machine stand, I barely had the energy to do indulge in any retail therapy!
It made me think of The Ladies' Paradise by Emile Zola - the novel upon which the recent TV series 'The Paradise' was (very loosely) based - in which the book's male protagonist, Octave Mouret, expertly exploits his, mostly female, customers' obsession with fabric and fashion with magnificent displays of cloth and colour to which they flock to admire, touch and of course, cannot resist buying! I recommend the book, which I have just finished: its is a fascinating portrayal of the rise of the department store in Paris in the nineteenth century and the beginnings of consumer culture. And it mentions fabric...a lot!
Anyway, back to the FoQs....I did take quite a few photos but took my small camera rather than my bigger digital SLR so the photos didn't do justice to many of the quilts. The crowds and lighting are also a challenge!
It's so hard to choose, but one of my favourites, and it seems a favourite of many others too, was this one, called A Slight Murmur of Starlings by Janie Harvie-Douglas which won a 'highly commended'.
The scene is so beautifully atmospheric and perfectly captures that moment at dusk when the starlings begin to gather for their astonishing aerial displays. I have seen this phenomenon many times at the RSPB reserve at Leighton Moss in Lancashire.
Otherwise, for some reason I was drawn this year to some of the beautifully crafted traditional quilts, both wholecloth and pieced, and machine and hand quilted.
Here are a couple of close-ups of Grace by Sandy Chandler which won second prize in the Traditional Category
Worked on sateen cotton, the design was traced onto the fabric and long-arm quilted, guided by hand.
I also spent ages admiring this stunning hand quilted Sanderson Star by Elizabeth Nally,
Elizabeth's artist statement explains that she was inspired by an antique version of the quilt she had seen, and adapted the design to make a smaller quilt. Machine pieced with set in star and hand quilted. Fabulous! And a perfect example of slow quilting!
I think I was attracted to this and other whole cloth quilts because I too have been thinking of making one and have been looking at the Sanderson Star pattern in Diane Lodge's lovely book, Patchwork where the patterns are all inspired by quilts made between the mid -19th century and the 1930s. I think it would be quite a challenge....but perhaps just a small one to begin with!