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Quilting stories

While the world was shut in lockdowns, a group of ladies were busy quilting stories, which led them to win many awards. Here is a sneak peek into their quilting world…

Lalitha Rajan and Prabha Mathew

Quilt Title: Anamika: #We Too# The Faceless And Unsung Bravehearts

Award: Judges Choice award at the virtual quilt competition of the Festival of Quilts, Birmingham held between July 30 and Aug.2

Insights: This quilt is a tribute to the countless unseen and marginalised women of this country who, for the better part of their lives, toil day and night to support their families but yet are not treated as equals in the family and social hierarchy. It’s a small effort on our part to depict the life of a rural Indian woman who faces innumerable hardships during the course of her life but is unable to articulate her worth and the discrimination she faces.

With the ghunghat covering her head, she balances the life outside the house by helping in the farms and also handling the entire household chores but yet has very little say in the way she lives. This rural woman forms the backbone of agricultural labour and yet she is completely missing in the current debate on farmers and agricultural distress. This quilt is a metaphor for this faceless indian woman and her daily struggle.

Lalitha is a resident of IIT Madras while Prabha resides at Neelankarai. They can be contacted at 94443 97919, 98411 95148 respectively.

Kamala Murali

Quilt Title: Peach

Award: Winner of QuiltCon 2020, USA, in the Minimalistic Design category, held in February 2020.

Insights: The Peach Quilt is a modern, minimalistic piece that features simple bands of improvised patchwork. The design is meant to evoke both a sense of symmetry and asymmetry in the use and placement of its colours. A spot of pink draws the eye outwards and then inwards, while contrast piping lends a visual frame. This quilt is made from discarded surplus fabric from the industry and is quilted in horizontal lines that give it a unique ribbed effect.

Kamala Murali is a resident of Thiruvanmiyur. Check out her work at https://www.kamblistudio.com/.

Chitra Mandanna

Award: Barnyarns visitor’s choice winner at the Festival of Quilts 2020, Birmingham, held between July 30 and Aug.2

Insight: If you want to know what a pure heart is, you have to meet 'Pookari Anjale'. Though flower vendors earn a very meagre amount of money by selling their ware, Anjalè took me by surprise with her love. I have seen her a number of times before, selling her flowers on the pavement on the street in my neighborhood.

One evening while my one and a half years old daughter and I were on a walk, my little one’s eyes fell on the flowers that Anjalè was selling. We were soon looking at the many types of flowers that she offered - marigold, roses, lotus and lilies. My little one eagerly took all the many flowers she liked. Once my daughter was satisfied with her pick, I took my purse out to pay. This is when Anjalè surprised me with her generosity and love. She did not charge me a penny and instead said “It is for the child. She can take as many flowers from me whenever she wants.” Anjalè continues to offer free flowers to my little one who is four years old now. It is her generous heart and a beautiful smile that I have attempted to capture in my art quilt.

Chitra Mandana is a resident of Thiruvanmiyur and can be contacted at 98401 13533.

India International Quilt Festival 2021 is going virtual and online

The first India International Quilt Festival, conducted by the Quilt India Foundation, was held in 2019. The second edition of the festival was scheduled in 2021. However, due to the pandemic, the event will go digital. The virtual event comprises competitions, exhibitions, workshops, festival catalogue, and a bazaar.

Some of the highlights to look out for are: Floral Rhapsody, Gen Nxt – a new category created for quilters below the age of 18 years, and the Indian quilts category - quilts that reflect the rich textile tradition of India and its various quilting styles.

The event will be held from Jan 23 - 35, 2021. Registration fee: Rs.500 per entry. Registration starts from Sept.1 and closes on Dec.15. For details, contact: 43189595, contact@indiaquiltfestival.com. Also check out: https://www.indiaquiltfestival.com/, https://www.quiltindiafoundation.com/.

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