Since Midsomer Quilting first opened in 2004 we’ve organised, on average, a couple of quilt exhibitions a year, to ‘showcase’ about 2500 quilts made or lent by our customers and teachers. Some of them lasted several months (the exhibitions, that is!)  Some have been devoted to the work of quilters of international repute while others have been debut exhibitions of the work of teachers at MQ who are rapidly gaining international reputations of their own.  One display in particular had a profound effect on Midsomer Q.  It was the first showing in Europe or the USA of the work of

The International Twelve by Twelve Group

This group - www.twelveby12.org - was founded in 2007 by Diane Perin Huck, an American, and includes seven other Americans, one Australian, one Belgian, a New Zealander and a Brit.  Diane tells how they began:

We set the group early on to run in a fairly democratic way.  We agreed on the size and Shape our challenge quilts would be and on having a two-month period between quilt ‘reveals’, and agreed that we would each take turns choosing a challenge theme. . .

The British member of the team is Helen Conway, who happens to be one of MQ’s customers. Soon after the group was established - in fact they’d hardly finished their first challenge - we told Helen that we’d be delighted to exhibit the group’s work and this we did some months later, in 2011, when the group had completed twelve challenges – the same twelve that were featured in great detail in their fascinating book Twelve by Twelve.

 ". . . In the United Kingdom, Chris, De and Birgitta, from Midsomer Quilting, have been champions of our project from the outset and hosted an exhibition of the ThemeSeries before it toured onto the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham in 2011."

The exhibition at MQ was the first time the group’s work had been shown in Europe or the USA. It was a great success, and three years later the International Group exhibited their second collection, Colourplay, at Midsomer Quilting. It was their only show in Europe that year.

 Our Twelve by Twelve Challenges

 When we first displayed the International Groups’s work, many who saw it wondered how they could possibly have come up with such remarkable ideas. So, we challenged them to make their own 12” x 12” quilts on a theme of Fruit and the results were exhibited in December that year.  

 Click on any of the 12x12 images below to go to our Flickr page to see all of the quilts that were entered in our Challenges in any particular year.

 Fruit (2011)

The first Challenge (as are all of our Challenges) was strictly restricted to Midsomer Quilting’s customers and friends. Many of the 85 entries were offered for sale by secret auction in favour of CLIC Sargent, the charity that supports children with cancer and more than £1000 was raised. Judi Mendelssohn in her five-page review in Patchwork & Quilting magazine, said the exhibition was:

"Simply stunning . . . a roaring success . . . absolutely outstanding . . . fantastic
. . . really exceptional . . . not only were the quilts a treat to look at, with really
original, witty and clever entries, the way they were displayed added to the visual feast."