Eagle Ray Dance by Jan Gilray.
Muhammad Yusuf, Features Writer
As quilting remains a perennially popular hobby for people of all ages, the 2020 edition of the International Quilt Show Dubai (IQSD) (Feb. 27 – 29) is set to break records as the biggest event the region has ever seen, attracting crowds of up to 1,000 people each day.
Event Director Shanker Ramakrishnan runs Dubai-based hobby shop Classic Quilts, together with his wife and quilting expert Mala. They began the event back in 2008, with a vision of putting the UAE on the international quilting map.
“My wife Mala is a keen quilter, starting the first quilting store in the Middle East. We have both seen the hobby and the event go from strength to strength. This year’s event features an incredible line-up of educational activities, a bigger competition and exhibition than ever before, and the chance to test out first-hand some of the world’s best equipment, including Bernina, Brother and Handi Quilter Longarm quilting and sewing machines,” says Ramakrishnan.
Holding the event every two years, IQSD has grown to a point where it now attracts people from all over the region, and even further afield, rivalling similar events in the US, UK and Japan. True to the hobbyist nature of quilting, the event is open to all, free to attend and run not for profit.
Every event features a hotly contested competition for best quilt. The focal point of the show is always the quilts on display – representing a chance for the region’s best quilters to show off their skills. Some are also on sale to visitors.
This year the event features eight entrance categories: traditional, contemporary, art (generic), art (portrait), beginners, IQSD Challenge: United We Stand, Young Quilters and Miniature Quilts.
Each category will have three prize winners, with the prize winners announced on Feb. 27 and the prize distribution at the gala dinner on Feb. 28. The Best of Show prize is Bernina 770 QE Tula Pink.
There’s also a series of workshops hosted by some of the world’s leading experts in quilting, stitching and sewing arts and crafts running over the three days – many of which are already fully booked.
The workshop teachers include Nancy Prince, an award-winning quilt artist from Florida, US, who specialises in thread painting. Californian Jan Krentz is a recognised quilt instructor, author and designer, and winner of the 1998 Teacher of the Year award.
Jane Howarth is an award-winning professional quilter specialising in making nature inspired raw edge collage applique quilts. Amanda Murphy has been designing, drawing and sewing since she was a child. She has authored several books, including the best-selling Modern Holiday and The Free-Motion Quilting Idea Book.
Vendors from across the region and international arena will be in attendance, offering the chance to see the latest trends in quilting and other arts and crafts. Those interested in promoting their own craft skills or wares are also invited to take an exhibition stand.
A highlight of the 2020 event will be a special demonstration by the world-famous Tentmakers of Cairo. Egypt’s legendary patchwork quilters and stitchers will be demonstrating their unique, beautiful tent hangings, proudly exposing their mastery which can be traced back to the 13th century in the North African country.
Another highlight is the event’s charity quilt – a unique pattern chosen for each event, based on a vote cast by the members of the Quilter’s Circle in Dubai. Members then create the quilt with help from Classic Quilts and offer raffle tickets to win the quilt during the event. The pattern of this event’s charity quilt is called Beads, a design created by Donna Jordan of Jordan Fabrics. Proceeds raised by the charity drive will be donated to Dubai Cares.
The following are show sponsors: Bernina, Brother, Handi Quilter and Mazz Quilts, Classic Quilts & Quilting and the Tentmakers of Cairo.
IQSD brings together quilting fans, businesses, quilt-hobbyists, professional quilters and quilt-admirers for a programme of events and classes not seen anywhere else in the region. Organised every alternate year since 2008, it is now in its 7th edition in 2020. The event includes:
Quilt Education - features learning of various techniques from a panel of teachers, via trunk shows, lectures or hands-on sewing
Quilt Exhibition - features quilts in various categories in competition. Judged by international quilt judges prior to the show, and then displayed for public viewing
The aim is to provide a global hub for quilters and sewists to come together, engage, network and build businesses in one arena, in the art and craft industry.
Classic Quilts & Quilting was established in June 2005 by Mala Ramakrishnan, a long-arm quilter who identified the need for a quilt shop. Today, the store provides high quality quilting accessories such as fabrics, notions, threads, sewing machines, sewing machine tables and cabinets, readymade quilts and quilting services.
It is sole distributor of Bernina sewing machines for the UAE, Kuwait and Oman. Classic Quilts & Quilting is also sole distributors for the Middle East for Handi Quilter, USA and Horn of Australia Sewing cabinets.
The well-established, well-renowned store is situated in Jumaira Plaza on Jumeriah Beach Road, Dubai, and as well as selling everything for the modern quilting fan, including the biggest range of Bernina and Handi Quilter machines in the region, the store is a craft cornucopia, and offers craft classes, alongside a full range of notions and fabrics.
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