Late October sees the annual Open European Quilt Championship in the ancient city of Maastricht, founded in Roman times, situated in almost the southernmost point of the Netherlands. For me, about a two-hour drive away. We (self and husband) always make a long-weekend of it, and after the show spend a couple of days walking in the gently rolling hills (yes, we do have some!) in the countryside around Vaals and enjoying the autumn colour, which usually coincides with the show.
This is the second year that the show has been in the huge Conference Centre in Maastricht (the MECC) and the organisation was noticeably better than last year, both with the layout and the vendors, but especially with the catering facilities. There are still a few issues with the PA system (too loud!) but all in all a big improvement on last year.
This year was the 20th anniversary of the Championship, so ’20’ was also the theme for the challenge quilts. There were also quilts in the general category, as well as a number of invitational exhibits and an exhibit of the Best of Show quilts from the last 20 years.
There were lots of inspiring quilts on show (about 400): below a selection of the quilts that caught my eye. Obviously just the tip of the iceberg, and a very personal choice. There is a lot of purple in the main show hall (carpet, lampshades), so many of the photos have a bit of a purple cast to them, that I couldn’t edit out, so a little imagination is needed!
Jos Hermsen’s quilt was one of the display of winning quilts from the last 20 years. The centre was made of intricate folded fabric. But if you look closely you can see what really appealed to me about this quilt! Hint, look at the next photo!
There were a number of quilts by French quilt artist Béatrice Beuche: both in the competition and in a separate invitational exhibit. Her work was very varied and beautifully executed, with a lot of appliqué, super use of colour and very detailed and elaborate machine quilting.
There was a lot of colour variation in this year’s quilts: that sounds a bit strange, but I’ve noticed that often in any given year a similar palette of colours is dominant, but that wasn’t so this year, perhaps because of the inclusion of quilts made throughout the last twenty years. There was everything from whole cloth white quilts to multicoloured quilts, from soft and gentle to dramatic.
The quilts on the theme of ’20’ were also incredibly varied: some interpreted the theme quite literally (twenty blocks, or twenty circles) others were more subtle, but all very imaginative! The quilt below was white, and beautifully quilted and appliqued in primary and secondary colours. The ’20’ was tulle, and was very subtle in real life: it shows up more on the photo for some reason. A worthy winner of a couple of rosettes.
A bed-sized version of Carol Doak’s tesselated autumn leaves pattern. I made a cushion of this pattern myself about 15 years ago. You can see it in my gallery.
This quilt was amazing to look at: very three-dimensional with complex collaging of ruched fabrics. The photo really doesn’t do it justice.
For me, one of the highlights of the show was the invitational exhibit of work by Eszter Bornemisza. I have been following her work for years in catalogues and books, but had never seen her quilts on display. She makes very complex surfaces using dying, painting, appliqué and quilting, based on maps and ancient documents. The more you look the more you see.
I include the quilt below because it was made up of hundreds and hundreds of tiny log cabin blocks in red, cream and green. The amount of work in this huge King sized quilt is phenomenal!
I thought this quilt was interesting for its use of the Atarashii technique to make butterflies, leaves and flowers.
This large quilt was a sumptuous array of hand appliqué and quilting. it was a group quilt, and took the 10 members of the quilt group four years to make.
It was hanging near the quilt below, also all made by hand, and from silk. It was based on an antique quilt. It was beautiful. Another winner.
I took a detail photo of this quilt, too, to show the quality and detail of the workmanship.
Strangely enough, one of the world leaders in the production of African wax print fabrics is also based in the southern Netherlands, Vlisco in Helmond. The quilt below is made of off-cuts of the fabrics from the factory, that the quilter received from a friend.
A whole cloth quilt in a very soft almost white eau de nil. Another rosette winner.
An incredibly detailed wall-hanging quilt based on elemenst of Turkish Islamic art.
Worth a detail photo for a better look:
One of the previous Best of Show winners, from 2013. As well as exhibiting their winning quilt from the Best of Show year, each quilter also showed an example of their most recent work: you could see how their art had evolved and changed, which was fascinating.
The same quilter had a quilt elsewhere in the show that I also really liked:
A quilt from a display by the Dutch Quilter’s Guild. I liked this for the imaginative way the quilter had augmented the animal panel sections with extra ‘matching’ fabric to make the blocks larger and more interesting.
A recent piece from one of the earlier best of Show winners: this one from 2015.
And a very intriguing use of Shiva paint sticks and little hot glued crystals as well as quilting and dyeing…from another former Best of Show winner, this quilt is from 2016.
This quilt was made of transparent fabrics, and was really quite bizarre: from nearby you couldn’t really see anything much except soft colours and a few fish shapes, but when you stepped away a whole scene of a coral reef appeared!
A detail gives and idea of how it looked close to.
This super hand-quilted Amish inspired quilt was in one of the invitational exhibits.
In another of the exhibits there was a yummy pile of cushions on the floor, all made in variations of log cabin blocks, the speciality of the quilter; all her quilts were log cabin variations, too.
Then I came across this extraordinary quilt that includes a needlepoint panel in the middle (the woman in and landscape within the smaller frame): the speciality of this quilter. As you can see, it has collected numerous awards!
There was also an exhibit of work by Lies Bos, from quilts from throughout her career. I liked her Mola quilt:
As well as this modern use of old fashioned chintz fabrics:
And last, but by no means least, a couple of superb art quilts by Karin Oestergaard from Denmark. I loved these.
Well, that’s it for my round-up of the OEQC 2016: I’m certainly feeling inspired for the coming winter of quilting! I hope you are too.