Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Thoughts from the North........

.....about Harrogate quilt show.

I have been concerned about the future of this show ever since the Festival of Quilts started up, and I saw nothing this year to make me feel any happier.

There were, on the face of it, plenty of quilts on display, but when you looked closely, there weere a lot which were in one-person shows, if you know what I mean. Now don't get me wrong, I love to see these mini-exhibitions from professional or semi-professional quilters, but I did feel that there were less quilts being entered by ordinary people, which is a shame.

There were a lot of wonderful traditional quilts, but, as I said before, the judging amazed me at times, and I know it wasn't just me from comments from friends and things I overheard. (An advantage to having very acute hearing I guess?) Mrs PennyPot and I decided that to win an award, the thing to do was either use a bit of gold lame in your quilt, or sew on some sequins! I know I'm probably old-fashioned, but to me a quilt is for snuggling under, and some of the things I saw would be better in an art gallery.

There were even less traders this year, with some of the well known ones having gone missing, but on the plus side, there were a couple who had never been to Harrogate show before. However, I don't think people were spending. I was able to get to every trader easily to look at things, rather than seeing the usual crowd 3 people deep on the first day.

I think there is a combination of problems here. 1) the economy is probably hitting home; 2) those who do have the money to spend probably went to Festival, where there is far more choice and all the big name traders go; 3) as less traders turn up each year, then less people go to the show.

All-in-all, I saw nothing to make me feel more optimistic about the future of this show, which is a shame.

Well, you did ask! (Well, actually, only Bilbo asked, but there you go.)


  1. All interesting comments Sue, I think Harrogate's main problem is how close it is to Festival, they really need to move it a bit later in the year. From all accounts spending was good at Festival, so I don't think the economy is such an issue.

    The number of quilts on show at Festival was also well down this year, about 1/3 less than usual. We put this down mainly to the changes in categories, but this may help the regional shows a bit more in the future. The Malvern show has also suffered from the Festival effect, but probably not as much as Harrogate because it's the first big show of the year.

  2. That is such a shame. I noticed the same thing about the Victoria Quilt show....I hope it is only a temporary thing...like the economy!
    Have a great day!

  3. I Love the Harrogate show because of its real quilt mentality, it seems it was lost this year. Though not having attended It's a bit hard for me to say. I will continue to support it and send my quilts, ok, not show stoppers, but I believe it's up to all of us to show our quilts to keep the shows going. I missed not being the fly on the wall for the comments which is always interesting, and hope my quilts were what people want to see. I hope this trend that the Harrogate show has shown is something Grosvenor Exhibiitions can address, later may impact on the other Autumn shows they organise, but the FOQ effect needs to be addressed. I hope this show continues in the small freindly manner which it is loved for.

  4. I hope the show doesn't disappear but I think the organisers could do a much better job of promoting it. I know they advertise in their own magazine but I haven't found information about it anywhere else. The website is just a poster - not even an entry form to download. If the information on entering isn't easily available they won't get more quilts entered!

  5. Interesting to note how these shows ebb and flow I think. I haven't been quilting long so I can't speak with authority on the subject but I've heard it said here that our own local show has been slowly changing in the past few years. I can't imagine how the economy might impact it. Guess we'll find out in another couple weeks. I wont though. Not going!

  6. Thanks QuiltSue, as you say, "I did ask".

    I was disappointed in FoQ this year and I don't feel I got my money's worth from a four hour drive plus many ££££ on petrol and hotel.

    Next year will definitely be Harrogate and Trentham, and there is a very, very, very slim chance I might even contribute a quilt to each show so that I cannot complain about the number of Traditional Quilts on display!

  7. You've got it Bilbo, that's exactly why I usually enter a quilt in Harrogate.

    Reading the comments, it seems as though smaller shows all over are suffering at the moment. Fingers crossed it's only temporary.


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