Wow….. wow…..and again, wow. Some quilts just grab your attention when you first see them and you can’t help saying wow. The Best in Show at the Festival of Quilts should be one that does this and this year, it certainly did.

‘Our Ladies’, Oliver and Vendulka Battis

Vendulka Battais and her husband Oliver set up Oliven, (devised from a mixture of their two names) originally on the Isle of Wight, moving to Suffolk four years later. They now have built up quite a following with their distinctive style of textile art, patchwork, quilting and felting. I interviewed Vendulka a couple of years ago for P&Q magazine when she launched her book on Cathedral Windows and it was lovely to catch up with her after her success at this year’s Festival of Quilts.

Since we last met they have really expanded their workshops and she had a fabulous selection of Stained Glass kits along with Mandalas and Feather designs on her stand. Some of these patterns stem from the design of the winning quilt.

Central Mandala

Vendulka and Oliver have younger children and when they were picked up from school they frequently came to the shop with their parents. On the way the kids would ask “are the ladies going to be there?” Which then led to the name of the quilt, ‘Our Ladies‘.

But let me talk about the quilt. Two metres square, a central mandala surrounded with feathers. Each one a unique design to represent the uniqueness of each customer in the shop and the quilt was dedicated to them. The quilt was designed by him, sewed by her and painted by both of them.

When I say painted they used Marabu liners, a fabric paint in a tube which is painted or piped onto the fabric. They come in a wide range of colours and, having visited her stand, I obviously had to purchase some, purely for research you understand!

They can be used to jazz up printed fabric and Vendulka was demonstrating on her stand throughout the day. You could also join her for a Quick and Easy workshop at the show and she runs zoom and in person workshops from her shop, which cover a range of projects and techniques.

If you would like to see more of Vendulka’s work visit www.oliven.co.uk.

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