Latvian Quilt Association
Since ancient times our grandmothers had been quilting but only for about a time span of 15 years we could speak of the flourishing of the patchwork and quilting as an art medium here in Latvia.
Mrs. Aina Muze, a renowned Latvian professional textile artist both in her home country as well as abroad, introduced art quilting in Latvia in 1995. Patchwork and art quilting got an immediate attention on the professional textile scene. At once Mrs. Aina Muze was invited as a professor at the Textile Department at the Latvian Academy of Arts to teach patchwork and art quilting and the popularity of this art media among the artists spread at incredible rate. The considerable amount of art pieces at juried textile art exhibitions were impressive compositions executed exactly in the art quilt media.
Apart from this expansion of art quilt some ten years later so far independently working traditional amateur quilters started joining together to organize local events in attempt to introduce classical patchwork and quilting techniques to the wider public.
Those two independent moves of patchwork and quilting art media in Latvia led to a mutual agreement on foundation of the Latvian Quilt Association. These two streams still co-exist although as the practice all over the world shows the distinct border between traditional and art quilt has a tendency of becoming vaguer.
The very first open to the public patchwork meeting held in Latvia was the festival “Quilting Art Riga 2009”.
At the same time our professional textile artists – Mrs. Aina Muzeand Mrs. Elina Lusis-Grinberga - being already well known not only in Latvia but also abroad had been invited with their exhibits regularly and still continue participating in various patchwork and quilting events all over Europe and Russia as well as giving master classes.
A year later the festival “Quilting Art Riga 2010” was organized and both Latvian professional and amateur quilters participated with their art pieces. At the closing ceremony the decision to found the Latvian Quilt Association was initiated that also came to pass in October 2010. The main goal of the Association is to unite for mutual creativity Latvian quilters –professionals and amateurs – as well as all the organizations related to this textile art media in order to popularize and advance the quilting art in Latvia alongside with achieving the recognition of the Association abroad by participating in different quilting and patchwork events and activities.
The Latvian Quilt Association was founded by Latvian professional and amateur quilters. Mrs. Aina Muze (representing art quilt) . At first 37 members joined the Association but the number increased and by the end of the year 2011 we had already 60 enrolled quilters.
As the Latvian Quilt Association is only recently founded, the formation of creative collaboration with art and craft schools, youth centers, women’s clubs and other organizations is currently expanding in Latvia as well as with various institutions related to patchwork and quilting. In cooperation with organizations connected to textile art media in two years time it has been achieved that right now also here in Latvia the quilters are able to purchase special craft tools and implements, as well as auxiliary materials needed for creating patchworks and quilts. The same refers to qualitative cotton fabrics and threads.
The Board of the Latvian Quilt Association passed the decision to organize the festival “Quilting Art Riga” every year as a kind of annual creative report of Latvian professional and amateur quilters. Thereupon a successful collaboration has been developed with “Coats Ltd. Latvia”, the Latvian representatives of sewing machine companies “Bernina”, “Janome”, “Husqvarna Viking” and “Brother”, as well as with fabric and sewing utensil traders. The partners provide the premises and technical equipment for exhibitions and seminars and rewards and prizes for the competition laureates.
In order to improve the professional skills the educational and instructive seminars are being organized 4 times a year for the members of the Association. At the same time all the other who are interested are being welcomed to participate. In various regions of Latvia regular patchwork and quilting classes are held by the active members of the Association.
Taking stock of the situation after the festival “Quilting Art Riga 2011” the Latvian Quilt Association decided to pay more attention to and emphasize the work with the schoolchildren. In collaboration with “Coats Ltd. Latvia” the competition of mini quilts “Flowers” was issued. Thereupon the educational seminars were held for school teachers of visual arts. Consequently 800 submissions were received reaching far beyond our expectations. The conclusion of this competition will be 13th -15th April, 2012 during the International fair “Intertextil Balticum Riga” . This will be the opportunity to see all the submitted mini quilts and the laureates will be marked out. /Intertextil Balticum Riga 2011/.
The enrollment as a member of European Quilt Association in Birmingham, UK, in August 2011 was a very special recognition for Latvian Quilt Association. Mrs. Elina Lusis-Grinberga was elected as an International Representative of the Latvian Quilt Association.
Being a part of European Quilt Association - it is a great privilege and respectively enormous responsibility at the same time. For the small country as Latvia it is a strong motivation for creative activity and participation in European patchwork and quilt events. We are very pleased that Latvian quilters’ – Dzintra Bitena’s and Lolita Simane’s artworks will be seen in the upcoming quilt exhibition “Celebrating the Diversity” at Quilt Museum in York, UK.