The Tentmakers of Cairo

Today I have a really interesting topic for you: the Tentmakers of Cairo.

They do wonderful appliqué work on sturdy canvas which was originally used to decorate the interior of tents in the Middle East. This work is called Khayamiya. It is an original craft and since many generations the skills are passed along from father to son.You can read more about the history of Khayamiya here.

As with quilts this art form was not recognized by collectors and/or museums. The art and the artists were “discovered” by visitors to Egypt. The Australian quilt artist Jenny Bowker brought them into the quilting world where they can be found at major quilt shows for some years now. Jenny Bowker tries to promote their work, not only to show the world what a stunning craft this is but also to support the stitchers as their art is a dieing one in their home country. You can find more about the tentmakers at Jenny’s website.

So if you are lucky you can find the tentmakers’ booth at one of the major quilt shows. If you walk into it there is a firework of colors,

there are some signs that someone is working here (like snippets of fabric on the ground),

and sometimes you even can watch one of the tentmakers working.

The beautiful appliqué pieces are only made by men with fathers teaching their sons. A skilled stitcher works really fast and often without marking the appliqué pieces. And still it takes him one to six months (depending on the size) to finish one of these beautiful pieces.

If you want to know more about this craft and their makers I have some videos for you:

In this video by Bonnie McCaffery the tentmakers not only show their stunning pieces but also describe how they design and how they work.

And in this video Jenny Bowker introduces two tentmakers and their colorful pieces. But the really interesting part is what Jenny has to say about their way of life and work.

Here a tentmaker shows the whole process of making a pattern, transferring it to the canvas and stitching the appliqué. Every traditional quilter (in a certain age I should add) recognizes the whole process. It’s the same way we learned to make patterns and transfer them to the fabric. (This was the time before water soluble pens were on the market.)

And last but not least there is a whole documentary on this ancient craft.

If you get a chance to see one of the tentmakers’ exhibitions don’t miss it. You will see a lot of colors, patterns and beautiful work and you will meet really friendly people.

I’m linking this to Off the Wall Friday, Can I get a Whoop Whoop and to Brag about your Beauties.

 

I am missing the Quiltshows

I am really missing the quiltshows! Although I like the online events and really loved some of them (thank you Modern Quilt Guild!), I miss the camaraderie, the exitement, the laughter, the friendship, the harmony, the emotions, the joy, the feeling of belonging together, ……… I could go on and on.

While browsing YouTube I found this great film made for the PBS Short Film Festival in 2020 about Quilt Week in Paducah and it brought all these feelings back to me. So much so that I was close to tears sometimes. It really shows very well what quilting is all about.

If you are missing all the great shows as well – here’s the video. Enjoy!

40 years – a Quiltshow

As we still can not travel (at least here in Europe) many quiltshows are cancelled at the moment. This is sad but understandable. But …… I do have several thousand pictures of quiltshows in my photo archive. So how about revisiting some shows of the last years?

In 2019 the Quilters’ Guild of Great Britain celebrated their 40th birthday with a quiltshow at the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham, titled “Spotlight @ 40”. The quilters were asked to interpret 40 in the most creative way. One side of the quilt had to measure 40 inches. The quilts were all made by British members of the guild and they went into the permanent collection of the Quilters’ Guild.

Here are some of the beautiful quilts:


“40 days and 40 nights” by Cag Tyndall
Artist’s statement: Work on this quilt began during the spring of 2019 when my mind turned to the 40 days and 40 nights of Lent. I wanted to celebrate the wonderful variety of colour and texture of different fabrics, as well as how they respond differently to dyes. Linen, cotton, silk, and mixed fabrics were all hand dyed. There are 40 appliquéd circles of each colour. The piece has been lightly quilted. 


“Circuit XL” by Marion McCrindle
Artist’s statement: Each year is a new cycle, hence there are 40 circles to represent 40 years of the guild’s life so far. Just as each year brings its own challenges and developments, so the circles have different patterns, colours and are made from a range of materials: paper, thread, fabric, wood and metal. Some years are good – some do not go as planned. In the life of the guild, some years have been highly successful, others less so. The circle has no end, something we hope for the guild. The circle of friends I found in the guild has a value above rubies. The circles represent a year—each different: some good, some bad, significant years, quiet years.


“40 Layers of Quilting” by Jo Avery
Artist’s statement: When I thought about the last 40 years of quilting and The Quilters’ Guild, I imagined them as layers of sedimentary rock as found in an archaeological dig. The resulting quilt shows 40 different layers of patchwork techniques including miniature log cabins and flying geese, plus layers of improvised and curved piecing. Appliqué, hand quilting and other embellishments have been added to some layers to represent as many aspects of quilting as possible. A fissure was created through the layers with the two pieces brought back together again with buttons representing the ‘make do and mend’ starting point of our patchwork tradition.

Jo Avery wrote a blog post about how she made this quilt and what a terrible mistake she made, which resulted in an even more interesting quilt. Don’t miss it, it’s a lesson in creativity.


“Belonging” by Lesley Brankin
The second line of The Quilters’ Guild Mission Statement reads: “We bring together quilters in a spirit of friendship and learning. We promote quilt-making in all its forms across the UK.” In the spirit of coming together in the guild’s 40th anniversary year, the maker invited fellow regional members to donate squares of cream/white fabric and provide a single descriptive word summing up what membership of the British Guild means to them. The squares were pieced together as a background and the tallied words featured in the ‘spotlight’.

 
“Spotlight on The Guild” by Anne Gosling
Artist’s statement: When I thought about the theme Spotlight@40, I decided to put the spotlight on The Guild, in particular guild membership, to celebrate the 40th anniversary. A crossword in guild colours seemed the most appropriate way to express all that the guild has to offer its members. The quilt is machine pieced but as I love to stitch by hand, the letters are hand appliquéd. The guild logo is the basis of the quilting design which is also hand stitched.

 
“Headline News” by Sabi Westoby
Artist’s statement: The theme was interpreted by focusing on world events that took place 40 years ago. For (british) quilters, the highlight of 1979 was, undoubtedly, the formation of The Quilters’ Guild and this work marks that exciting event. I also refer to other contemporary cultural, historical and political events that still seem significant to me 40 years later.  Red text, a reference to the ruby anniversary, was digitally printed on cotton sateen and the piece was stab stitched by hand.

 
“QGBI Excels” by Jeni Rutherford
Artist’s statement: The inspiration for this hanging is The Quilters’ Guild and how patchwork has evolved in the last 40 years. In 1979 contemporary work was unusual but now the Contemporary Quilt Group is one of the guild’s specialist groups. The hanging is in two parts: the front features QGBI, the guild’s ‘initials’. The back features traditional block designs—where the guild began—but the single colour blocks and quilting are contemporary. It represents all the people working away, in York and around the UK, who are generally unseen but make the guild what it is today. The motifs feature 40 in Arabic and Roman numerals. XL can be pronounced excel—what guild members try to do.

 
“40 Endangered in 40” by Melanie Missin-Keating
Artist’s statement: In the 40 years since The Quilters’ Guild began, the 40 animals, plants and insects shown in the quilt have become endangered to the point of extinction. Will they be extinct in the next 40 years? Can we save them? 


“Region 3 from the Air” by Grace Meijer
Artist’s statement: The landscape of Region 3 was the inspiration for this piece—the beautiful rolling landscape with its many colours, from the white chalk to the acid yellow rapeseed and the little hamlets and farms tucked into the hills. It is also the area where The Quilters’ Guild started; the first AGM was held in Winchester.


“Birthday Celebrations” by Aoibhínn Murray, Ciaran Behan & Aoife Behan
Here the 40th anniversary of The Quilters’ Guild is celebrated as a quilted birthday cake. The cake has three tiers, and each of the three Young Quilters involved designed and created their own section before joining them together. A sewing machine as the cake topper features a patchwork fabric flowing from it, displaying printed photos of 40 quilts from the past 40 years.

This is one thing that I like especially about the British Guild – it really fosters the young quilters. From 5 to 18 years the membership in the guild is free and there are special workshops for them. It’s really a great way to bring children and young adults to quilting. The above quilt is a perfect example of how much this pays off.

So this was our first, private, little quiltshow – with more to come. Come back to check or – even better – subscribe to this blog (enter your e-mail address in the box on the right) so that you don’t miss them.

I’m linking this to Off the Wall Friday, Can I get a Whoop Whoop and to Brag about your Beauties.

 

Quiltshow: Road to California

Each year Road to California is one of the most eagerly awaited quiltshows. This year’s “in person” show was postponed to 2022 (January 19 – 22, 2022) but the organizers created a virtual experience called Road@Home.

Road@Home offers an abundance of quilting classes where everyone – from the beginner to the advanced, art quilters, modern quilters and quilters intending to open a business – will find at least one, but generally quite a few classes. And although the event will take place from January 20 to January 23, 2021 I think you can still register for some classes.

And now you are in for some real treat – the winning quilts of Road to California 2020:

https://online.roadtocalifornia.com/awardwinnersroad.php?con=31

You still want more? Here are the winners of 2019:

https://online.roadtocalifornia.com/awardwinnersroad.php?con=30

I assume you are as stunned as I am by all these beauties. And as inspired. So please excuse me I have to go and cut some fabric.

Call for entries

The International Quilt Festival in Houston is scheduled from October 28 to October 31, 2021. There are 5 calls for entries for this prestigious show. I give you the overview and you can find all the details at https://www.quilts.com/enter-your-quilt/.

 

HANDS ALL AROUND

Artists from all around the world incorporate influences from their own cultures into the design and technique of their quilts.

2 entries per person maximum.

Minimum width is 36” (91 cm). Maximum width or length is 96” (244 cm).

There is a $20 submission fee per quilt.

The works must be made between 2017 and 2021.

Submit 2 photographs for each piece (an overall photograph of the work and a close-up detail showing the stitching) and an artist’s statement that describes the inspiration for the work.

End of registration: May 21, 2021

 

IN FULL BLOOM

Just as florists and gardeners cultivate works of beauty from the soil quilters create beautiful pieces of art with fabric. This exhibition will showcase marvellous floral quilts in all the colors of the rainbow.

2 entries per person maximum.

Minimum width is 36” (91 cm). Maximum width or length is 96” (244 cm).

There is a $20 submission fee per quilt.

The works must be made between 2017 and 2021.

Submit 2 photographs for each piece (an overall photograph of the work and a close-up detail showing the stitching) and an artist’s statement that describes the inspiration for the work.

End of registration: May 21, 2021

 

IN THE AMERICAN TRADITION

Contemporary quiltmakers often look to the art form’s rich tradition for inspiration in their own works. This exhibit features quilts that incorporate traditional blocks, styles, and/or techniques.

3 entries per person maximum.

Minimum width is 36” (91 cm). Maximum width or length is 96” (244 cm).

There is a $20 submission fee per quilt.

Submit 2 photographs for each piece (an overall photograph of the work and a close-up detail showing the stitching) and an artist’s statement that describes the inspiration for the work.

End of registration: May 21, 2021

 

LANDSCAPE QUILTS

Landscapes often inspire artists, including many in the quilt world. Recently made landscape quilts will be featured in this exhibit.

2 entries per person maximum.

Minimum width is 36” (91 cm). Maximum width or length is 96” (244 cm).

There is a $20 submission fee per quilt.

The works must be made between 2017 and 2021.

Submit 2 photographs for each piece (an overall photograph of the work and a close-up detail showing the stitching) and an artist’s statement that describes the inspiration for the work.

End of registration: May 7, 2021

 

TACTILE ARCHITECTURE™

Buildings have a long history of inspiring the creative designs of quiltmakers. In the 19th century, American quilters developed classic architectural patterns such as Log Cabin, Schoolhouse, and Brick Wall. This exhibit challenges quiltmakers to create works based on architectural themes and inspirations.

2 entries per person maximum.

Minimum width is 36” (91 cm). Maximum width or length is 96” (244 cm).

There is a $20 submission fee per quilt.

The works must be made between 2017 and 2021.

Submit 2 photographs for each piece (an overall photograph of the work and a close-up detail showing the stitching) and an artist’s statement that describes the inspiration for the work.

End of registration: May 7, 2021

 

To give you some idea about the high standards of the International Quilt Festival I found this video by Cara Sorella showing quilts of the 2018 show.

 

If you are going to try to get your quilt in one of these exhibits I will keep my fingers crossed for you.

 

Only a few days left to see these quilts

Two great quiltshows are going into their final days.

At the National Quilt Museum in Paducah, Kentucky you can see the whole collection of Inspired by Endangered Species. 182 quilts 24 x 24 inches, each of them depicting  endangered animals, insects, flowers or sealife. It’s not only about these beautiful quilts but also about the stories behind them which are educational and sometimes heartbreaking. If you have any chance go see them before the show is closing on January 12.

"Loggerhead Turtle" by Karin Täuber, Virginia, USA

“Loggerhead Turtle” by Karin Täuber, Virginia, USA
can be seen in the “Inspired by Endangered Species” show

 

At the Schweinfurth Art Center in Auburn, New York the 38th annual show of Quilts = Art = Quilts 2020 can be seen until January 10. 71 art quilts from around the world are on display – quilt art at it’s best. Watch this video to see the winning quilts.

If you have the chance go see the shows, if not you still can visit the websites. The Schweinfurth Art Center (https://schweinfurthartcenter.org) has a virtual walk through the galleries on its site and at https://inspiredbyendangeredspecies.blogspot.com you can see some of the quilts from the show.

And whatever you do – stay safe!