At the beginning of November the 19th Open European Quilt Championships were held in Maastricht, a historic city that dates from Roman times, in the Southernmost tip of the Netherlands, close to the border with Belgium and Germany. The move to Maastricht as the show venue saw the Championships being held in the MECC, the largest conference centre in The Netherlands for the first time.
Although the Championships were held in one of the smaller halls of the MECC, there was considerably more room for quilts than in the previous location in Valkenburg. The competition quilts and the larger guest exhibits were held in the main hall. The vendors’ booths were placed over two stories next to the exhibition hall, which was a bit confusing at first and I missed a few vendors from previous years (not because I couldn’t find them, but because they weren’t there). The booths were surrounded by numerous smaller rooms that contained varied guest exhibits. There were a few first time glitches (notably the loud PA system and the fact that some of the exhibit locations had been changed since the show guide was printed) but all in all it is an improvement on the previous location, with room for growth, and one that makes the Championships more accessible to visitors: Maastricht has excellent road, rail and air connections to the rest of Europe, and many of the visitors come from England, France, Germany, Belgium or even further afield.
For me it was also further to travel to reach the show than Valkenburg, so we decided to make a weekend of it: visiting the show on Friday and spending Saturday and Sunday walking in the beautiful hills near Vaals, south west of Maastricht, soaking up the autumn colour which has been truly spectacular this year (yes, there are some hills in The Netherlands, but only in this one area!).
As you can see in the photo below, the quilts are hung from rods on wires that reach the ceiling: there is no backdrop or cloth behind them, which means it is also possible to look at the back of each quilt. It does make taking good photos a bit of a challenge though!
The theme of this year’s competition was ‘The People’. The standard of the quilts this year was higher than in previous years: both the competition quilts and the guest exhibits. I guess we are all just getting better and better! I certainly found it an inspiring day: below are some photo’s of quilts that particularly caught my eye, but in reality there were more than I can share.
Dutch quilter Sylvia Kaptein’s quilt, ‘The Dutch People’ showed a typically Dutch landscape with a river boat and a windmill. The figures at the bottom showed that various styles of traditional dress: all the figures were embroidered and them appliquéd onto the quilt.
English quilter Grace Meijer’s quilt won the Trophy (Grand Prize) for Design, and no wonder. The intricate patterning on the figures’ kimonos was appliqué, not printed fabric. It also won one of three Visitors’ Choice awards.
Finnish quilter Paivi Komsi made this quilt; the 3D illusion (the quilt is flat) was astonishing.
Dutch quilter Elfreide Grooten’s quilt featuring bees was a beauty: very intricately quilted.
German quilter Margarita Schuh’s quilt really packed a punch: foundation pieced tropical frogs surrounded by brightly hued strip piecing.
Also hailing from Germany, Margit Schommers took tumbling cubes to a whole new level with this 160 x 228 cm quilt.
Dutch quilter Marielle Flipse’ The Red Dragon was too large to be able to photograph in its entirety. I though this was great: the Red Dragon is the symbol of Wales, and as I am 1/8th Welsh, how could I resist taking a photo? The machine quilting around the dragon was very intricate as you can see from the photo below.
Dutch quilter Karin Bijvank’s quilt of Africa really made me smile. It was so colourful and jolly, with a very effective use of ombre fabrics. I especially liked the happy elephants in the middle; my husband liked the Guinea fowl at the bottom.
Another Dutch quilt, this time by Anne Lillholm Jorgensen, Bubbles of Joy was a white wholecloth quilt decorated with appliqued ‘bubbles’ of bright Kaffe Fassett fabrics. This quilt won the Trophy (Grand Prize) for Long Arm, and you can see why in the close-up below.
Another prize winning quilt was Red Tartan by the Scottish quilter Linzi Upton (once again to large to photograph whole) which won 1st prize for Long Arm quilting. From a distance it really looked like a huge piece of woven tartan.
Staying with the prizes, Dutch quilter Ans Schipper-Vermeiren, who specialises in quilts made of hexagons won 1st prize Visitors’ Choice.
There were a large number of guest exhibits: one of the most interesting was Two by Twenty from SAQA which premiered at the show. Each of twenty artists made two quilts on a related theme. The quilts were fabulous: imaginative and beautifully made.
US quilt artist Pat Bishop’s Walk of the Cranes was part of the two by twenty exhibit.
As was US artist Barbara McKie’s quilt. They weren’t all birds, by the way: these two just caught my eye!
Thailand based Janice Stevens used the theme of the passage of time in the tropics for her two by twenty quilts, here showing plants growing from old biscuit tins against the backdrop of a mouldy cement wall.
The SAQA exhibit also had a general section, where this lovely quilt was hanging. Unfortunately I neglected to photograph the name of the artist and despite a bit of intensive Google time, haven’t been able to find it. If anyone knows, please post a comment, so I can give credit where credit is due!
Other guest exhibits included International Thread, eight artists from the UK, Germany, Israel en the US who have a new common challenge every three months. Such as use the colour blue, of make a quilt with 90% grey and 10% of one other colour, or vary the scale.
Gillian Travis’s jumper quilt was part of a Blue challenge. She is also a member of Uk group Stitched that also had an exhibit elsewhere at the show, where there were more of her little jumpers in other colours.
I don’t have the name of this artist either, but it was one of the grey-and-one-other-colour challenges.
Another International Threads quilt: they are all the same size, about 30 x 60 cms. This was part of the Vary the Scale challenge.
English quilter Gail Lawther was also at the show with an exhibit of her Glimpses of New Zealand and Glimpses of Britain Quilts, each series comprising 24 quilts that encapsulate the essence of each country: its nature, history and people. If you get a chance to see these quilts, don’t miss them! I bought Gail’s book about The Glimpses of Britain series and we had a nice chat, also about the cricket theme of the Bayeux Tapestry inspired quilt, part of which is shown above.
There was also an exhibit and work for sale from the Tentmakers of Old Cairo, which was getting a lot of interest. The appliqués were great. I especially liked the ones with Egyptian style ducks on them.
And amongst other things at the show… a lovely and unusual Storm at Sea
as well as very cosy looking quilt by Belgian quilter Blanche Vandebroek with sailing ships and whales.
So all in all a wonderful day. Will I be back next year? I certainly hope so!
After all the quilting inspiration we had two days of lovely walks in the rolling hills around Vaals, enjoying the autumn colour in the woods and hedgerows and making the most of the sunshine. I hope your weekend was as good!