The Perth Quilt Show

Time has completely gotten away from me. I’ve been meaning to blog about my visit to the Perth Quilt and Craft Fair since attending it on the 24th of May and here it is June already. Geez, where does the time go?

Now let me explain before I go too far into the post that I almost always attend the Fair alone. This is by choice. I’m one of those women who doesn’t mind her own company especially when it comes to shopping. I’ve never been one that needs to get affirmation about a purchase from a friend. I like what I like and someone else’s judgement usually doesn’t affect me one way or the other. That’s not to say I don’t have my moments of wanting a friend along for coffee and a chat afterwards. I love that. But for the actually act of shopping, I’m a lone wolf. I like being able to pause and ponder where I want to without the worry of keeping track of a friend or needing to comment on something I don’t find appealing to my tastes. I sound like a pretty bad friend to shop with don’t I! LOL, I suppose that’s why I prefer to shop alone – especially at the quilt fair.

My usual habit when it comes to the Fair is to get there early, just after the doors open. But this time I took my time arriving and travelled by train into the city as well. I was extremely frustrated last year when I could not find a parking space at the conventional centre and ended up parking miles away. So this year I was smart and took the train.

Perth is a small metropolitan city and very isolated from the rest of the country. So for a quilter attending the Quilt and Craft Fair each year it’s a real treat to have the ability to actually BUY quilting equipment/fabric/notions out right away instead of needing to order it through the mail. We have a limited amount of dedicated quilt shops in WA. They do the best they can but they don’t carry all the lines of fabric or new quilting tools that so many other shops do closer to the hub of Sydney. So the Quilt Show gives we Perth-ites a taste of what’s new in the quilt world.

This is what I bought at the quilt fair:

I noticed a lot of the vendors at the show this year showcased Japanese fabrics. In the past I've never purchased Japanese fabric before or even looked at them close up so I spent a fair amount of time browsing the fat quarters and feeling the texture of the textiles. It is quite different to regular cotton. Much of the Japanese weaves are just that – weaves. They tend to have much more texture than our regular quilting cotton and the weave itself is looser. I like it actually. I especially like the tones of their neutrals. When you think neutral you think colorless, dull, without punch. But Japanese neutrals have great depth. Their neutrals span a wide array of tones from white to green to blue and so on - all presented in the package of a toned down neutral. Very pretty I think. I ended up buying two bundles of five inch squares and a few fat quarters. From the same vendor selling the Japanese fabric I purchased an iPad carrying kit. I’m not usually into kits but this one was cute and caught my fancy. And it will give me the pattern to make more iPad cases in different styles for when I want something different. I also purchased a pattern for a very nice quilt/wall hanging. Again, it’s a pattern and usually not my thing but this year I just left my purchases go to wherever it took me and it just so happened to take me to unknown territory. I also purchased two books – both on modern quilting. I have lots of books in my reference library on quilt history but not much on emerging quilt styles so these two will be a good addition to my ever growing collection of books on textile work.

After much shopping and browsing I wrapped up my visit by taking in the beautiful quilts on display. So often I’m in awe at the creativity and skill of my fellow textile artist. Even in a small show such as this one in Perth, there are glimpses of things to come and techniques that only last year were new but are now here to stay. I saw a fair amount of quilts using beads and rhinestones. And fabric painting has become very popular as well. I’ve tried the technique of fabric painting but as I use most of my quilts in a utilitarian fashion, I find paint applied to fabric changes the texture too much and I’m not happy with the feel of it. It’s lovely however to look at if you plan on using the quilt only as a piece of art. Abstraction is very much in vogue – presenting a quilt to invoke emotion and not necessarily to depict or represent a known thing. Looking at the abstract quilts brought me back to my childhood when my mother used to bring me to museums – lots of museums. And living in NY we had some awesome museums at our disposal. My favourite has always been the Metropolitan Museum of Art. But my mother’s was The Museum of Modern Art. At the time I didn’t understand why she thought something that didn’t look like anything was attractive. She explained it was all about emotion and how art didn’t have to look like anything to be beautiful. Art was about how something made you feel. And she’s right. Looking at these abstract quilts I could hear my mother giving me an art lesson in my head. Thanks Mom for teaching me early on that an apple doesn't have to look like an apple to still be as sweet.

So another quilt show come and gone. I sincerely wish we had more than just one large textile themed event to look forward to each year. I know that next year in September I plan to be fulfilling all my textile wishes at the Australian Quilt Symposium in Bali. Yes, I’ll take another cocktail with that fat quarter please……

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  1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the quilt show - and on abstraction! This is a concept that many people who want to make fiber art struggle with. I think some folk 'get' abstract art and some do not. What excellent ideas you express. :)

    Linda (who shops just like you do:)


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