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Nancy Crow to bring biggest ever UK exhibition to The Festival of Quilts

By Mark Hayhurst 15 Mar 2018

US artist and quilt maker Nancy Crow will be headlining the Festival of Quilts Quilt Galleries this year with an exhibition of 75 “quilted drawings.”

75 DRAWINGS: EXPLORATIONS IN MONO-PRINTING will be the largest exhibition of the artist’s work ever staged in the UK and will occupy 350 square metres of Festival space.

In the exhibition, Nancy showcases the results of her determination to learn the art of mono-printing using Procion MX thickened dyes on cotton cloth. After first learning how to mono-print in a class taught by UK artist Claire Benn, Nancy acted on a long-held desire to commence ‘drawing’ on fabric. She had taught drawing (on paper) while in graduate school and understood that it had an immediacy that could be exhilarating.

After years of machine-piecing - her preferred approach to quilt making - she found it laborious and wanted to experience a more intense, immediate result while creating. To start the process of understanding the intricacies of mono-printing, she set up parameters for herself on how to approach this new medium that included both a very set 9am-8pm daily studio schedule and abstinence from computers and phones. She drilled into herself that only the mono-printing could absorb her 24/7 and that there would be no focus on anything else during each two-month time allocation.

Over two years she produced more than 200 mono-prints, most never shown before. The 75 Drawings featured in the exhibition range from small early pieces to tall major works. They are hung in sequence so viewers can follow the artist’s progress as they become covered with vastly more intense mark-making due to her playing with iterations in size and value scales.

The Festival of Quilts features 30 galleries by leading artists and groups from all over the world including Shizuko Kuroha, Laura and Linda Kemshall (This is Everything We Are), Hilary Beattie (Art Quilts: Made in Britain: WILD) and Ruth Singer (Criminal Quilts), entries from the 14th Nihon Quilt Exhibition, the 1718 Silk Coverlet from The Quilters’ Guild Collection and a collection of 179 moon-inspired art quilts by 131 artists, curated by Susanne Miller Jones (Fly Me To The Moon: An Art Quilt Journey).

The Festival of Quilts is Europe’s ultimate quilting destination and takes place at the NEC in Birmingham from 9-12th August 2018. Tickets go on sale on 16th April (9th April for members of The Quilters’ Guild). Festival highlights include: over 750 competition quilts; an extensive workshop programme led by top UK and international tutors; talks, lectures and social events, including an evening with award-winning quilter, author and musician Ricky Tims; and over 300 textile craft suppliers.

picture credit: ©Nancy Crow photographer: J Kevin Fitzsimons

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