I gave a party on the opening night of the Festival of Quilts to launch my new book.
Here are the principal players. Jane Glennie (book designer), Tom Messenger (artist) and me ready for the party to start.
My wonderful helpers, Jane Glennie, Kate Findlay and Kate Crossley, checked to see if everything was ready before the guests arrived.
Just time for a quick signature before the party started!
Many of the quilt artists who provided work for the book had never met each other before the party, so it was a very convivial affair!
Here I am in front of one of my pieces, Walk in the Woods, 5 April 2013 (a paper quilt).
I gave a little speech once everyone had a drink in their hand, thanking all those who were involved in the book, especially my publishers who helped to sponsor the party. Thank you very much to Sixth & Spring and GMC!
It was lovely to toast the book with Jane and Tom at my side. What a wonderful evening it was!
It was very exciting waiting for the 10AM shotgun start each morning at the Festival of Quilts. We could hear the roar of voices building, and a cheer went up as the opening was announced each day and all the quilters rushed in. You had to see it to believe it!
I'll take you on a virtual tour of my finished gallery. This is the front right inside corner. On the left of this photo are my own small pieces, entitled "Zanzibar Beach" that I talked about in a previous post. Then, left to right: Kate Crossley's "Kate's Book of Un-common Prayer," "Once" by Sue Hotchkiss and "Hatching" by Margaret Cooter.
In the opposite front corner are, left to right: "Autumn" by Marlene Cohen, "Rainforest Canopy" by Pauline Barnes and "After Summer 1" by Karina Thompson. On the right are my own photos, printed on canvas and embellished with beads, shells and embroidery.
In the back right-hand section of the gallery you can see, from left to right: "Eternal Lines to Time" by Alicia Merrett, "Lifepath: Time and Emotion" by Jane Glennie (top), "20 Circles, 12 Flames" by Sheena Norquay (below), "Mt. Fuji" by Annabel Rainbow, "Beth Chatto's Bamboo II" by Annette Morgan, "Red Kites" by Ineke Berlyn, "Inner Glow" by Janice Gunner (top) and "Prehistoric Mammoth Tooth" (below) by me. On the plinth is Barbara Weeks' cushion, "Gaudi Mosaic."
Here's a good view of the back wall, with from left to right: "Confidante" by Linda Kemshall, "Green Fuse" by Sandra Wyman, "Codes and Secrets" by Hilary Gooding (top), and an embroidery by Ros Crouch entitled "Singing Women" (below). Next is my own "Picnic in Regents Park" followed by Alicia Merret's "Eternal Lines to Time."
The is the side wall of the back left corner, featuring Laura Kemshall's "Don't Go", Kate Findlay's "Pink Dawn" and Margaret Ramsay's "Tideline: After the Storm." The slashed cushion on the plinth is by Martine Rendle, and you can just see Linda Kemshall's "Confidante" on the right.
This is an outside view of the gallery, with Leslie Morgan's piece, "Many Moons 1." You can see my own two pieces on an inside wall: "Beach Landscape" and "Orange Leaves." In the far corner you can see Annette Morgan's piece.
Along the same aisle in the front corner is Christine Restall's "Red Clay Road 2." Barely visible to the left of Christine's quilt is a small Shibori piece by me, and 2 cyanotype pieces by Cathy Corbishly-Michel. You can also see inside the gallery: the table in the middle is where I did the book signings.
In the front corner on the opposite aisle, is Tracy Pereira's "It Happened Overnight" and my own "Silk Storm."
This is taken from the back of the gallery and shows three of my own pieces: "Poppy Field at Sunset", "Foursome" and "Charles Darwin's Tree of Life." There are also some cards and quilts for sale on the table. You can just see Karina Thompson's piece on the left and Kate Crossley's piece on the right. This virtual tour gives you some perspective about how the gallery was laid out.
It was with much trepidation and anticipation that I drove to the Birmingham NEC last Wednesday morning with a car stuffed full of quilts, books, cards, my son and other paraphernalia for setting up a gallery. Can a son be considered paraphernalia?
The large white space was quite daunting when we arrived, but I had already made a full-color floor plan of where each quilt should hang, so it was just a question of sorting out the quilts and putting them in the right place.
Pieces also began to arrive from quilters who had their own galleries at Festival, and by noon we were ready for the hanging team who arrived with ladders, saws, drills, screws, battens and measuring tapes.
I also had assistance from quilt artists Kate Crossley and Kate Findlay. Below you can see the two Kate's set up a table at the back with all the greeting cards I had printed for the show. You can also see the quilts in place on the floor, waiting to be hung. There is a pile of my new books in the foreground, left.
Liz Cooper was hugely helpful in so many ways. Here she is (below) setting up Barbara Weeks' cushion on a plinth, with the two Kate's offering some advice.
I can't tell you how efficient the hanging team were! They measured and cut battens with the speed of light, and the drills started whirring, screwing quilt battens to the walls.
Finally everything was hung and in place and I just walked around, marvelling at how wonderful it all looked. Thanks so much to the hanging team, Liz, the two Kate's and Keith!
Here is Kate Crossley, standing in front of her piece, "Kate's Book of Un-common Prayer."
Here is Kate Findlay, standing in front of her piece, "Pink Dawn."Margaret Ramsay's quilt, Tideline: After the Storm is beneath.
After all these months of preparation, can it really be true that tomorrow I'll be setting up my gallery at the Festival of Quilts in the Birmingham NEC?
I had absolutely no idea how much is involved in getting ready for an exhibition of this kind. I am featuring the work of 27 quilt artists as well as my own, and the logistics of getting all those pieces to the right place at the right time has been quite mind boggling. I hope it all works out tomorrow!
I've been making some little framed pieces to sell at the Festival, all based on a photo I took of a beach in Zanzibar in early 2013. I used that photo to test various colourways when printing on fabric, so I have purple, blue, lavender, yellow and turquoise beaches framed on top of cotton or silk fabrics.
I had so much fun free-motion machine quilting those pieces and then embellishing them with beads and seashells. I really like working small!
The only trouble with making pieces like this is that I never know when to stop. Shall I add just one more bead or seashell? Often the decision is taken out of my hands when the thread runs out. I have so much trouble threading beading needles!
I also had fun couching various nobbly threads on the surface and embroidering the boats, ocean waves and flying birds.
Some of the scallop shells have a secret pearl hidden underneath. I have been collecting tiny beads and shells for a long time, so it was a real pleasure to be able to use them for these mini quilts.
See you at Festival!
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