2003 - 2. European Quilt Triennial Textile Museum Max Berk

Palatinate Museum Heidelberg


Textile Collection Max Berk

2003 - Searching for new directions- from the perspective of the organiser

2nd European Quilt Triennial 2003

Searching for new directions- from the perspective of the organiser.
After the highly promising start of the European Quilt Triennialin 2000, the competition in the 2nd Triennial has been more restrained. Compared to 327 participants from 24 countries with 457 entries in the year 2000, this time there were only 172 participants from 18 countries with a total of 229 entries. There might be several reasons for this drop in numbers:
The high artistic standard of the competition, which might not have been so evident in the forerun to the 1st Triennial, this being the reason why so many entries were submitted by traditional quilters. 2.
The same entry deadline for the Triennial and the" Tradition & Modern VI" competition being staged by the German Patchwork Guild.

High bank charges for foreign transfers as regards the participation fee.
The end of a year is an unfavourable entry deadline, 5.
Constantly increasing exhibition and competition activities in the German and, above all, in the international patchwork sector. Without doubt, this is to be welcomed, but it also gives cause for reflection. When the forerunner of the European Quilt Triennial, the German Quilt Biennial, was brought to life in 1984 by the Max Berk TextileMuseum and Doris Winter in particular. this was almost pioneering work. There was no guild for quilters at the time, and so this competition provided quilters with a forum to make contacts, compare themselves with one another, and to develop their skills.The aim of the competition was to provide an overview of the German quilt scene on the one hand, and on the other hand to trigger new impulses. Naturally, the quilts that were exhibited at the time were still very much committed to the heritage American quilt. But the face of the Biennial changed very soon, and its name has become a guarantee for artistic quality and innovation in techniques and materials with patchwork quilts. Thankfully,alot has happened in this sector in the 20 years since the Quilt Biennial (and Triennial)was launched, but simultaneous entry deadlines and clashing exhibition dates of different organisers give rise to a certain competitive situation. In these difficult economic times it therefore seems appropriate to consider merging the important European competitions and exhibitions. In this way, forces and resources could be bundled, from a financial as well as an organisational point of view.
The organisers were disappointed to receive very few entries from eastern European countries, and this is almost certainly due to financial reasons.

The drop in the number of entries by almost 50% did not automatically mean any reduction in quality, as the exhibition proves. About one third of the quilters have a professional artistic background, and, like most of the exhibitors, they are firmly established in the patchwork scene. It is rather a shame that there are no newcomers or young quilters, but we are pleased to have a male participant again in this year's Triennial, namely Andreas Grigoleit.
As a freelance artist, he -as well as Rosie Francis or Tiziana Tateo - use spainting on fabric as the creative medium. The results could not be more different: in one case a graphic composition with tachistic elements in detail, in another a monochrome, abstract, geometric composition, and in another a particularly objective composition, reminiscent of Egyptian mummy portraits.

Printing techniques such as mono type and screen printing have now taken on a popular role in the quilt sector; the works of Agnes Bockel, Gisela Hafer and Beate Ruberg deserve special mention here.
Computer print and phototransfer techniques have also established themselves, and can been seen in the quilts of Jutta Briehn, Rita Lerch-Heer and Dirkje van der Horst-Beetsma.

Nowadays, there is no need to draw attention to hand-dying of fabrics -this has almost become standard practice. Nevertheless, special mention must be made to the works of Ann Fahy, Lia Flemings, Ursula Gerber-Senger. Elisabeth Gevrey and Heide Stoll-Weber. in which the processing of fabric and metallic fabric plays a central role.
The trend of discharging fabric, which was very popular in the 1st Triennial,is seen in the works of Tiziana Tateo and Anne Woringer. but is not so much at the forefront of this exhibition.
In asmall group of the selected quilts, the emphasis ison embellishing the surface with machine and hand embroidery and applique, Two of the three winning entries belong to this group, In Mirjam Pet-Jacobs' quilt "Mimiquilt IV: Ancestral Shadow", which was awarded firstprize, the surface has been decorated with machine and hand embroidery as well as tulle applique. It forms the background for three archaic figures which are emerging from their shadowy existence. "Red Bole" by Karen Fleming, which was awarded second prize, is rich in gilding and subsequent decoration of ared flannel fabric by means of tucking, and hand and machine embroidery. This group also includes the works of Rosmarie Artmann-Graf, Ingeborg Merkel and Judith Mundwiler.

Heidi Förster explored another way of crafting the surface structure, with a two layer technique and a simultaneous view of the front and reverse of an appliqued, double-thickness fabric.

Typographical elements are in greater evidence than was the case in the 1st Triennial. The number of works with lettering as an integral part is comparable, but the emphasis placed on lettering in the quilts of Jutta Briehn, Chantal Charmes, Anne Doustin, Friderun Heil (3td prize), Greti Raffeiner and Cecile Trentiniisconsiderable, giving the characters aspecial significance.

A striking number of works deal with contemporary themes such as the search for one's own identity (Agnes Bockel, Mirjam Pet-Jacobs, Greti Raffeiner), isolation of the individual in the masses (Marlene Cohen, Cecile Trentini), violence through war and terror (Ann F1eeton, Rita Lerch-Heer), the ups and downs of human existence (Rosie Francis, Ingeborg Merkel), the concept of time (Beate Ruberg) and environmental pollution (Margareta Wackerle).

Mention must also be made of the quilts created out of simple pleasure in working and experimenting with fabrics, colours and forms, and which are mainly of a light-hearted nature. The works of France Brechignac, Lia Flemings, Inge Hueber. Ursula Mehler. Jane Lloyd, Erika Odemer, Gabrielle Paquin, Cosabeth Parriaud or Heide Stoll-Weber belong to this group.

Another trend in this year's triennial is the integration of portraits, as seen in the quilts of Gisela Hafer. Dirkje van der Horst-Beetsma and Brigitte Perzl-Reinhard. The work of the latter also deserves mention due to the modelling character of the quilting. Thistechnique has rather been overtaken in this Triennial by the general trend to embellish the surface by means of quilting and embroidery. The work of Inge Mardal occupies an intermediate position between these two extremes -the intensive machine quilting complements the painted surface and also gives it structure.

Only one person ventured into the area of threedimensionality, namely Radoslawa Horbaczewska. As in the 1st Triennial, the only materials that she uses are denim and metal zips.
The artistic, sound quality of the selected quilts will certainly be an incentive for applicants in future quilt triennials, and also a driving force to look for new directions as wll: innovation is welcome!!!

Kristine Scherer
curator of the exhibition