Quilters from around Australia and New Zealand, and indeed from all corners of the globe, converged in their thousands for the 15th Australasian Quilt Convention under the magnificent dome of the Royal Exhibition Building. The event was a blast – four days of shopping, hundreds of exquisite quilts, classes with top tutors and fun at the social events. Prizes were awarded, hard workers, high achievers and shining lights were awarded and all in all, everyone agreed, it was the best yet.
Julie Adamson took out the National Quilt Award with her exquisite work, The Apprentice, a hand needle-turned design inspired by the style of John Henry Dearle, who was the Master Apprentice to William Morris. If you have the chance to see this quilt in person at your state show, take time to inspect it closely – it’s a masterpiece.
Three unique and amazing quilts were winners in the AQC Challenge, themed Magic. First prize went to Women’s Magic by Alison Withers, Runner Up was Jeannie Henry with Unconditional Magic and the Viewers’ Choice was Linda Steele’s Magical Coral Reef.
Downstairs in the quilt show, quilts ranging from traditional beauties to textile artworks were displayed. From the ACT, 20 quilters who have been challenging each other for 20 years presented The Experimentalists exhibition.
Timorese women demonstrated their skill on an ancient Singer treadle machine, managing to free-motion stipple-quilt on it. Shout out to textile artist Dijanne Cevaal who helped make this possible.
A Latin American group from Los Angeles showed their Mexican Altar quilts and conducted floortalks explaining the symbols and icons they use in the work, and had a ball meeting Australian quilters and seeing the sights of Melbourne and Sydney.
Quilters from the major festival in Korea and the Korean patchwork magazine displayed their countries’ best quilts plus presented an exhibition of bags with matching quilts.
You never know what surprises will be in store at AQC, and the Thursday evening lecture had delegates screaming with excitement when Chuck Fresina, a US Director of Handi Quilter gave away a Sweet Sixteen machine when put on the spot. Lucky Carla Smales from WA was the winner and grinner.
And this was before the lecture which Joe Cunningham, while playing his guitar, took us on a musical tour of his story with quilting, interwoven with quilting history around the world. During his classes, he serenaded his students while they worked creating beautiful improvisational patchwork in possibly the most relaxed classroom we’ve ever seen. Bliss!
Several new tutors taught at the event and led students to take their skills to a new level. Emiko Toda Loeb from Japan imparted the secrets of her double sided (reversible) log cabin technique which allows her to create a quilt that has two completely different patterns on either side. Rachaeldaisy’s colourful classes reveled in the results they achieved, Jessica Wheelahan (above) had people creating striking patchwork coats and improvised works well out of their comfort zone and Kat Jones classes mastered her bias and trapunto techniques.
Julie Haddrick’s classes were a busy smorgasbord of art techniques assisted by her husband Peter who had the Brother Scan N Cut set up in a corner assisting students in making their own stencil designs.
This year for the first time, Expertise Events rewarded volunteers from quilt guilds around the country with a free Gold Pass to attend the event. These giving people were selected by their guild and treated to an AQC experience on us: Val Jackson from Victoria, Sandra Harvey from NSW, Lesley Clugston from WA, Verna Hunt from Qld and Julie Ricketts from the ACT. It was our pleasure to reward them for their hard work for their quilt guild. Expertise Events will be offering this Volunteer Reward to guilds once again in 2020.
Gillian Travis presented the Friday evening lecture, entertaining and moving the audience to tears with Journeys in Stitch, a visual presentation of her travels and the quilts inspired by them, and her journal quilts following the highs and lows of her family life.
The retailers presented new fabric ranges, new machines, new designs, new sewing gadgets and new books, to tempt shoppers.
During the Gala Dinner, Expertise also presented several awards honoring achievers. Read more about these here and if you know of a worthy nominee, consider entering a nomination for 2020. The forms are available on the AQC website aqc.com.au.
The dates for AQC next year are April 16 to 19, 2020 so mark it in your calendar now. Many quilters are making it an annual pilgrimage – so go on, get the gang together and plan to be there next year, we know you won’t regret it!