The India Quilt Festival

 “Every quilt tells a story. You write it with your needle and you read it with your heart”, reads a line in the book, ‘The Elephant Quilt’, by Susan Lowell. Quilts to most of the world are simply layers of fabrics, put together with a purpose to provide warmth and safety. However,  quilts also serve as a great learning tool for children; be it for learning geometry, counting, shapes or art.  Whether it is adding to the beauty of a physical space, providing warmth or being the learning aid, it is clear that quilts are invaluable to our lives. Telling stories of traditions, crafts and cultures, they continue to be an intrinsic part of lives today.

The word, quilt comes from the Latin ‘culcita’ meaning a stuffed sack (and that’s exactly what our good old ‘razai’ is), but it is also believed to have a French connection. We in India grew up with the warmth of a ‘razai’, which is nothing but a form of the modern day quilt.  It’s time to show even more love towards the quilts and quilters of India and it is Chennai that is just about to host ‘The India Quilt Festival’ for the first time ever and, we are excited; hence, the post.

The reason for the existence of the Quilt India Foundation

Apart from always extending a ‘hug’, the quilt also tells tales of days gone by; of the communities and the lives lived; the fabrics, the embroideries and the techniques prevalent at the time. For ‘something’ that provides so much love and warmth, it’s only fair that is has a festival solely dedicated to it.  The India Quilt festival’s vision is to celebrate this craft form too, focussing on:

  • Revival of Quilting in India
  • Promoting Quilting as an art form and a commercially viable craft
  • Providing a common platform for Quilters in India
  • Bringing Indian Quilting to the International scene
  • Bringing suppliers of  Quilting and Sewing  related items closer to the buyers, thus making it easier for people to take up Quilting
 A peep into who & where for the Festival
The people giving the quilts a platform in India

The founders of the India Quilt Foundation are:

  • Deepa Vasudevan
  • Tina Katwal
  • Varsha Sundararajan
Where & when is it going to be?
  • It’s going to be hosted in Chennai from 25th – 27th January 2019
  • The Quilt show and Special Exhibits are at: Sri Sankara Hall, TTK Road, Chennai
  • Workshops and lectures are ticketed events and will be held at WelcomHotel, Cathedral Road, Chennai
  • Textile tours are also planned to coincide with the festival. These experiential tours include trips to Kerala, Pondicherry and Kutch. Speak to the organisers to get the details
  • Contact India Quilt Festival  India Quilt Festival


Why should you be attending the festival?
If even an iota within you resonates with anything that is written below, then you ought to get yourself to Chennai for this festival. Here goes:
  • You love quilts in all colours and styles
  • Expert quilters from across the world are sharing their work in various exhibits
  • Antique Indian quilts as well as  quilts from from USA, Egypt and even more countries will be on display
  • There are workshops being run by skilled quilters
  • You are looking to take up a new craft as a new hobby
  • You are a quilter already and would like to know more about the quilting world
  • There are about 290 different entries entered into the quilting competition and all this work is on display
  • An opportunity for you to buy quilting related products
quilt, indian, quilting, craft
Magical Quilt
quilt, parmajeet bawa, india, craft
Stunningly beautiful Quilt by Paramjeet Bawa
quilt, kings, india, wall art, handmade
The skill of the quilters leave me speechless!
quilt festival, india, 2019, quilt, quilting
Founders of the India Quilt Festival – Know them and thank them for bringing a quilt festival to India
History of Quilts & Quilt Festivals across the world
History of Quilts
A write up on V & A’s website provides us an insight into the history of usage of the quilting technique. An extract: ‘History tells us that the earliest quilting was used to make bedcovers. There is a mention of very fine quilts in medieval inventories that frequently went on to become family heirlooms. Throughout their history, many superior examples of the technique have survived by being passed down through generations.  One fine example of quilted clothing in V & A’s collection is an Indian hunting coat, made in the 17th century, when the Mughal dynasty ruled South Asia. The exquisite ‘tambour’ chained stitch (worked from the top surface with a special needle called an ‘ari’, similar to a crochet hook) suggests that it was probably the work of a specialist craft workshop that would produce work for export to the West as well as for the Mughal court.’ 

International Quilt Festivals

Houston appears to have had the first ever international quilt festival way back in the 1970s. It is now believed to be the biggest ever festival and continues to attract a large audience.  Love for quilts has grown and today continues to be appreciated across the world. Some of the quilt festivals across the world:

As always, the language of craft unites people across cultures and continents. Experience the craft festivals; Be Notjustashopper!


See Also

Pics: India Quilt Festival




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