Textile artist from Sandy wins top prize at Europe’s biggest quilting festival

Karen Callaghan with Sharron Belcher, UK Sales Manager for Vlieseline'and  Anna Baptiste, Event Director for The Festival of Quilts
Karen Callaghan with Sharron Belcher, UK Sales Manager for Vlieseline'and Anna Baptiste, Event Director for The Festival of Quilts

A talented quilt artist from Sandy has scooped a major international prize at Europe’s largest patchwork and quilting event and won £5,000.

Karen Callaghan from Sandy won first prize at The Festival of Quilts Fine Art Quilt Masters competition with her work inspired by a leaf.

Karen Callaghan's winning quilt

Karen Callaghan's winning quilt

The Festival of Quilts takes place at the NEC in Birmingham each August and this year’s event attracted 25,000 visitors from across the world, with over 800 competition entries.

The Fine Art Quilt Masters competition - sponsored by Vlieseline Freudenberg - celebrates quilts that transcend craft and demand equal billing with gallery quality fine art works. It attracts hundreds of entries and is judged by a panel of leading figures from the art and quilting community.

Karen’s stunning entry, Strelitzia, was inspired by a photograph of a leaf from a Strelitzia plant. It received high praise from competition judges who said: “This contemplative work had great subtlety and power yet cast a spell of almost melancholic calm on the viewer. We returned to it again and again before awarding it the top prize.”

Anna Baptiste, event director for The Festival of Quilts, said: “The quilts entered into this competition are masterpieces, stitched with breathtaking detail, intricate design and outstanding workmanship.

“Karen Callaghan’s Strelitzia is truly a work of fine art and is worthy of a place in any national gallery. We are delighted for her and look forward to seeing more of her wonderful work in future competitions.”

Karen’s prize-winning quilt will be on display in the Textile Galleries at The Knitting & Stitching Show, the UK’s biggest event for the textile art, craft and design community, in London’s Alexandra Palace this October and in Harrogate in November.

Highlights of The Festival of Quilts include over 800 competition hung competition quilts, professionally curated quilt galleries by internationally-acclaimed artists and groups, hundreds of workshops, an extensive programme of talks, discussions and social events and over 300 exhibitors selling essential quilting supplies. Next year’s The Festival of Quilts takes place from 1st-4th August 1-4.

Visit www.thefestivaloquilts.co.uk