Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Festival of Quilts 2012

I am back from my first visit to the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham followed by two fabulous days at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. There were so many beautiful sights to remember that I have given myself the gift of a weeks peace and quiet to digest it all. So I have been hibernating in the studio and doing some meditative quilting on the Illinois Album quilt.

I have been working on this piece off and on for two years... more off. But my goal is to have it finished by the end of the year. As I stitch leaf after leaf and bury every thread a therapeutic calm envelopes me... my ideal summer vacation. And I think how lucky I am to be part of this exciting world of art and design.

The Festival of Quilts lived up to all my expectations. The exhibits featured some of my all time favorite fiber artists. Pauline Burbidge and Anne Woringer had breath taking displays of their work.
In fact, most of the inner galleries showed very exceptional and contemporary work. But the competition quilts were a sampling of traditional to modern. I spent a lot of time signing books, Patchwork Sassaman Style, in the busy Lady Sew & Sew booth.

While at the Festival we stayed in a nearby town called Solihull. One evening after the show I went for a stroll to look at all the quintessential English houses... just like the ones on the BBC Mysteries that I love so much. When I came upon this house I was floored!! Any other Inspector Morse fan will understand why. The red Jaguar is the clue.

After the Festival we took the train to London. Our hotel was in walking distance to our object of desire, the Victoria and Albert Museum!! This is a place I've wanted to visit since my college days so my anticipation was peaked. My heart palpitations were audible. Here is the dramatic front entrance. Safety cones, believe it or not.

This is the courtyard in the center of the museum, a very popular place to have coffee (in a William Morris paper cup, ahhh) and cool off by the wading pool. The cafe had wonderful food, which just enhanced the special atmosphere. The weather was warmer than expected and by the end of the day we were ready for a pint and a pub meal.

Between the museum and our hotel there were lots of high end boutiques and shops. One of the best surprises was that the Conran Shop was just down the block! It is built around an old Michelin tire building. I have been a fan of Sir Terence Conran since working at the Crate and Barrel 35 years ago.  He is one of this centuries grand guru's of design. In fact, his famous The House Book was one of the initial books in my extensive design library and has influenced my own adventures in design.

So you can see that I was in "designers heaven" for the entire trip! But this month brings several teaching jobs, which lead up to Houston Market. It's hard to believe the year is three quarters over.
Time to start sewing and crafting for the autumn season, so stay tuned.