Seasoned quilters or embroiderers among you will probably already have a long list of shows and events hard wired into your brain as not to be missed. For the rest, here are a few details ahead of time, so hopefully you can plan a trip or two well in advance. There’s nothing quite like these days out for stimulating the creative braincells, whatever stage we’re at. If you’re tired of one event, try another one instead this year, or if you only do quilt shows, go to a symposium instead – this can kick-start ideas all over again. This is a very personal list, in no way totally inclusive, but I have been and can heartedly recommend them.
Stroud Textiles Festival (Select) runs events from early spring onwards, mostly in the Museum in the Park, a lovely location, check online from time to time to see whats on. Workshop are not much advertised else where so its worth checking. The Premier Inn on the edge of the park is not in no way a boutique hotel, but clean and friendly and reasonably priced (book through booking.com its cheaper) and on the edge of the Park with parking facilities, so handy if you’re doing a weekend workshop.
Pairings II a textiles exhibition, is part of that (download the brochure online) which runs at the Museum from 28th April until 27th May. The aim is to bring together pairs of artists to collaborate and bounce ideas off each other, Jilly Morris and Jane McKeating have an online blog recording their work as it develops.
There is a related Pairings Symposium with some fantastic speakers on the 5th May – places still available. Again, in Stroud the Textiles Trail runs every weekend from the 12th to the 20th May – lots of studios open to the public, fantastically inspiring to talk to artists and designers against the backcloth of there work. More usually, (like here in Oxon with the annual Artweeks in May) these open studio events are mixed across many disciplines, not just textiles, but going to see paintings, drawings, pottery, any visual medium in fact, will add to your knowledge base and awareness and feed back into work. Have a look to see if something similar operates near you, and also check out what on if you do away for a weekend during the Spring/Summer.
For those up North, there are two exhibitions on at the excellent Quilt Gallery and Museum in York (managed by the Quilters Guild) now showing until 28th April. Skipping across to Manchester, have a look at Interventions, an exhibition by the phenomenally important 62 group of Textile Artists, on until the 19th May at the Platt Hall Gallery of Costume.
Quilts UK at Malvern runs from the 17th to 20th May, a lovely location right out in the Malvern Hills, but be warned its a bit tricky to get to without a car, unfortunately the courtesy bus no longer seems to run from nearby Malvern town centre.
Art in Action is a huge annual Arts events here in Oxon in July – worth staying in the nearby Cotswolds and getting a two day pass for.
One of the biggest Quilt shows of the season is at the NEC in August, the Festival of Quilts runs from 16th to 16th of August. A big plus is the totally enclosed walkway from the NEC train station; leave the car at home (if you can afford the train fare! Book that in advance - its cheaper) and do it in total comfort. This event got a bit tired at one time, but seems to have picked up again of late – lots of speakers of the quality of Pauline Bainbidge, workshops and a big shift towards more contemporary work.
Obviously this is not a conclusive list (I’ll do an Autumn/Winter one later) – I’m sure plenty has been left off. If you do have relevant events in your area or favourites of your own, please do add details in a comment here - this way we can spread the word and let others know what they might otherwise be missing.