Australian event pieces together the world’s best quilts
Hundreds of hours, thousands of stitches and a considerable dollop of dedication has helped quilters to fabricate more than 350 exquisite quilts including many celebrating the ANZAC Centenary which will be on show at the biggest, most celebrated quilting event in the southern hemisphere, the 11th annual Australasian Quilt Convention (AQC).
Returning to Melbourne’s historic World-Heritage listed Royal Exhibition Building from April 16th to 19th, this year’s AQC will offer a distinctly Australian spin on select quilts, with some Australian-themed exhibitions set to impress alongside a plethora of remarkable and unique modern, international, art and competition quilts. Bringing the world of quilting to Australia, an inspiring spread of international and home spun tutors will also lead seminars and workshops for every skill level, while an exceptional array of approximately 100 specialty retailers from around the world will feature the latest quilting products and gadgets at the shopping expo.
Event organiser, Judy Newman explains that this year’s AQC is particularly special given that many of the quilts are a moving tribute to the 100th anniversary of the landings at Gallipoli, “There will be many incredibly vibrant and intricate quilts that embody remembrance, mateship and the true Australia in celebration of the ANZAC Centenary. Every quilt on display has been hand-picked. These quilts are the cream of the crop.”
This year’s AQC Quilt Show 2015 will feature a diverse collection of specially selected quilts showcasing fascinating techniques, vivid splashes of colour and innovative design from the full spectrum of amateur and professional quilters. Among the highly anticipated exhibits will be the two quilt challenges, ‘True Blue’ and the ‘Lest We Forget Quilt Challenge – 100 years, 100 quilts’. The seventh annual AQC challenge featuring 30 incredible interpretations of the theme ‘True Blue’ has sparked quilts ranging from iconic Australian themes, ‘Blue Heelers’ to shades of blue, images of depression, and political statements relating to the #I’ll Ride with You campaign.
A special 2015 exhibition will be 100 small challenge quilts commemorating one of Australia’s most defining times at Gallipoli with the ‘Lest We Forget Quilt Challenge - 100 Years, 100 Quilts’.
Continuing with the Aussie theme, visitors can meet the generous members of ‘Aussie Hero Quilts’ who make quilts and laundry bags to send to serving Australian servicemen and women. Another philanthropic group, ‘Quilts of Valour Australia’ will be showing visitors how they can help send quilts to wounded Australian Defence Force personnel, ex-ADF personnel suffering Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and families of deceased soldiers.
Guest artist and veteran of the Royal Australian Air Force, Lucy Carroll has drawn on her passion for quilting and personal experience in the armed forces to create an impressive 12m long ‘The Gallipoli Quilt’. Comprising 10 panels, the quilt is a tribute to ANZAC history illustrating the story of an Australian soldier from his dockside departure to his arrival at Gallipoli Cove and is literally set to be one of the biggest attractions!
At just 15 years old, Ineka Voigt has quilted her way to Turkey, having been selected to represent Australia at the 2015 100 year ANZAC Centenary ceremony. Her incredible winning quilt, ‘Spirit of Anzac’ which features an appliquéd Red Cross and painted poppy on a piece of 1908 tracing linen from her grandmother, will be on display at the AQC.
The best of Australia’s home grown talent will also be on show, with the ‘Best of Australia’ National Quilt Award to be selected from the winning ‘Best of Show’ quilts from every state and announced at the AQC Gala Dinner, alongside a collection of the annual AQC favourite, ‘Best of the Best’ which will give visitors a chance to see the best quilts from all annual state quilt guild shows.
A stand out international exhibit by French designer, Ségolaine Schweitzer will reveal her exceptional wool artistry where she incorporates a blend of raw and recycled materials including salvaged wool and threads with the delicacy of embroidery to create decorative panels inspired by nature and the seasons, unique garments, accessories and textile artwork.
Quilting beginners and experts alike will have an opportunity to take their skills to the next level under the tutelage of some of the world’s best quilting teachers, from seminar-style one, two and four day pre-booked workshop packages to one hour walk-in make and take classes, mini-workshops and lectures on offer during the four days. There will be a diverse range of hands-on activities to suit every schedule with more international and local tutors than ever before hailing from Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands, South Africa and the USA who will showcase the latest trends, styles and techniques spanning from century old traditional hand techniques to contemporary art methods.
Workshops have proved very popular already, with quilters from all over the country booked to attend. A much anticipated tutor is renowned ‘fabric painter’ from the USA, Lenore Crawford who creates French landscapes with dramatic colour, texture and warmth and will teach people of all skill levels how to design a fused project from an original photo. The 2014 Rajah Award winner, Michele Hill from South Australia will also be on hand to showcase her specialty, machine appliquéd quilts with hand embellishment; while artist in residence at Ayers Rock Resort, Caroline Sharkey from NSW will not only showcase her five quilt ‘As The Forest Falls’ collection inspired by her visit to Oregon, but will also demonstrate her cutting edge confetti technique she uses to create colours and texture in her trademark Australian scenes. Another from NSW, Jan Clark uses modern art techniques reflecting her studies in natural history illustration and scientific drawing which influence her design and printing of exquisite original fabric.
Amongst Victorian locals set to share their talents is award winning guest artist, Esther Aliu from Doncaster who will uncover secrets to create her modern version of the advanced quilt ‘My Love Entwined 1790 Marriage Coverlet’. This quilt is an evocative homage to its unnamed 1790 Georgian original which itself raises many questions about the maker and her extraordinary design skills during a time when quilting was limited to a small class in society. Belgrave South graphic designer and artist, Ro Bruhn will guide visitors to create a personalised textile art journal using fabric and everyday ephemera.
There are also social events to attend including an entertaining Gala Dinner where several national awards are presented, which can all be booked online alongside the various class packages.
Seniors / Pensioners $15
Children (5 to 16 years) $9
Children under 5 FREE
Family (2 adults + 2 children) $41