The Festival of Quilts, Birmingham, 2017

Even I sent my quilts for a contest to The festival of Quilts in Birmingham before, this was the first time I went to see it with my own eyes. My daughter Danute accompanied me as she had her own plans. That’s why we booked 5 nights in Birmingham, plenty of time to explore not only The Festival but also Birmingham and few other places close by.

I’ve been to few American Quilters Society shows in US so I kinda knew what to expect but still it was overwhelming. Lots of positive emotions as we entered the festival and walked through halls being a part of the crowd of quilters.




For us, coming from the country where there is no single quilt shops, no quilter’s fabrics and no supplies, this was a lot to see and explore.

Of course, we wanted to see quilts, lots of quilts. We started by finding my own first. I didn’t enter into a competition this year, but I had a quilt in SAQA Made in Europe II collection. My quilt Song of Linen made completely from Lithuanian linen fabrics. It is not what I usually make but this time I wanted to reflect on my heritage, on linen fabrics that my ancestors used for thousands of years, that they sang songs about. I wanted to show that linen still sings to me:


I also had a small quilt in a collection of Latvian quilts ( I am a member of Latvian Quilters Association despite I live in Lithuania).  These quilts were made exploring a log cabin block. My quilt Poppies at the bottom.

We also looked for the winners.  Noriko Endo and her quilt made in a special technique that she created won in Pictorial quilts:


The Judge’s Choice award won a quilt made by Leah Higgins, Liverpool Street, Salford:

Fine Art Quilt Masters winner was Margaret Ramsay with her jaw-dropping quilt entitled Birchington Breakwaters:

But overall winner, Best of Show was awarded to the miniature quilt by Philippa Naylor Measure for Measure. The quilt is unbelievably small for all the work put into it:

At The Festival I met with my Australian friend and mentor on SAQA mentorship program Brenda Gael Smith who was there with the exhibition  that she curates A Matter of Time:


Brenda was giving curator talks that was very interesting to listen to:

Brenda will travel with A Matter of Time to Houston later this year so my American friends can see her and the quilts there. Very worth to see! I also attended a lecture by Brenda- Driven to Abstraction.

Besides the quilts we also explored Birmingham. Our necks started hurting for turning our heads unusual way every time we were going to cross the street:

Then we realized we have to keep left everywhere:

We enjoyed quiet morning walking by the canals. Actually Birmingham has about 100 miles of canals, more than Venice. But they look rather different:





Our other big stop was Library of Birmingham. The outside looks like the place every quilter should visit:

Views of Birmingham from the 9th floor sky walk:


Peaceful Secret Garden on the 6th floor:

And the view inside the library:

The best part of our Birmingham exploration was that all of this was free of charge. Of course, we had to walk a lot and I was exhausted before boarding the coach to the airport:

I am not sure if I will ever go back to Birmingham, but it was fun and worth the stress we experienced. Now I look forward to going to European Patchwork Meeting in Alsace, France in September.


  1. Pat Arndt says:

    Love your linen! Also you other quilts. Nice to read about your impressions and your travels.

  2. Maryte, when you are not quilting, WRITE!
    It is a pleasure to read.
    You look beautiful too!..

  3. Linda Sanders says:

    Maryte, thank for sharing the quilt show and the sights of Birmingham! Linda

  4. Maryte! Go on! Lithuanian linen manifuctured by Birziai is worth to show and it is so delicate !
    I like design and colors You use.

  5. Saunuole, Maryte. Prasmingai leidziate savo laika. Iki


  1. […] A particular highlight was to finally meet Maryte Collard from Lithuania. Maryte and I worked together online in 2016 as part of the SAQA mentorship program. Maryte attended one of my gallery talks and also got to view other galleries – check out Maryte’s post about FoQ. […]

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