8th European Quilt Triennial 2021
from 12 February to 24 April 2022 at the Zons District Museum, 41541 Dormhagen, Germany
Previously on display in Heidelberg and due to travel to St. Gallen later in the year, this exhibition shows amazing developments in the quilt art scene. I was last involved as a jury member in 2015, and at the time the quilting scene was already in transition. I wrote in the catalogue published that year: “Can we continue in the same way and keep demanding two or three layers of fabric in quilt competitions, knowing that the artists have already advanced beyond that? The Heidelberg Quilt Triennial now promotes such innovations and boundary crossings, and is regarded as being very open-minded”. This still applies today. The number of submissions has increased only slightly (from 136 to 159 works, still predominantly by female artists), but it seems to me that the variety of techniques and themes has increased and the works have become generally more demanding. This could be partially due to the depressing situation during the pandemic. It may have given participants more time to think and probably to experiment.
The two works which share the Doris Winter Memorial Prize both address the pandemic: Rita Mertens from Switzerland traces the social connections and symbolic hopes in emotional and creative ways, and Heidi König, also from Switzerland, aims to add a colourful and cheerful element to the daily bad news. Both works of art have a style all their own and are technically sophisticated and innovative. I was very happy with this choice. The winner of the prize for young female artists, Paulina Sadrak from Poland, was likewise a fortunate choice. The work reflects the process of combining meditative manual work with digital and machine procedures. The resulting piece created a poetic and very personal impression. Here, too, the technique was new and unusual. I found the award of the innovation prize to Hungarian artist Dora Marföldi somewhat less convincing. Her work was about traces of time, with the aid of recycled materials, as well as the growth of a mycelium. The process sounded more interesting than the result, but this may have been due to the work being hung on a brick wall. My choice for the innovation award would have been the piece by Teija Patrikka from Finland who used darned socks that can tell stories. I thought this was funny and innovative because I have never seen darned wool socks used in a quilt artwork.
The whole exhibition was a positive experience that made one happy, despite the sometimes very thought-provoking themes. It inspired confidence, and I hope that recognition by a larger public will not be long in coming. Since I found it so exciting I will try to show as many examples as possible so everyone can see for themselves.
The last stage of the exhibition is St. Gallen/CH from 7 October 2022 to 8 January 2023 at the Textile Museum, Vadianstrasse 2.
Heidi König, Switzerland:” Multi-Coloured”, 60 x 120 x 10 cm, 2020/21; black cotton fabric, black polyester fleece, polyester thread, oil pastel chalk; free machine stitched whole cloth, washed and dried to obtain more structure, painted with acrylic medium and oil chalk, cut into forms; Doris Winter Memorial Award (shared); photo Beatrijs Sterk