It was the perfect Saturday for thousands of Calgarians to take in the annual Festival of Quilts.
The festival, which has more than 500 quilts on display throughout Heritage Park, runs Saturday and Sunday.
From the balconies of the Wainwright Hotel, to the simple clothesline of the working farm, the park was draped in a sea of colour. The show is the largest outdoor quilt show in Western Canada.
Calgarian Cheryl Arkison was the 2022 quilter of distinction.
“I have been in Calgary for 18 years now and the coming to the quilt show the whole time, have volunteered and have put quilts in—like every other quilter—but to have this recognition for my professional work is a huge honour,” she said.
International award-winning quilter Stacey Day will also be present at the festival over the weekend. She will be putting on a pair of workshops for quilters.
Traditional, and modern works of art on display
Arkison has been quilting for the past 24 years. A number of her works are on display at the old Canmore Opera House building within the park.
“I love this show because no matter what kind of quilter that you are, there’s something for you,” she said.
“I would consider myself a very modern quilter, but I can appreciate very intricate traditional quilts, and so you just see everything.”
She said that shows like the Festival of Quilts work to dispel the myth that its just an activity for old ladies.
And although not necessarily in the public consciousness as a major art form, she said that there are a lot of artists using fabric in different ways.
“There’s a lot of us out there doing really interesting, dynamic, unpredictable things, and I think that’s fantastic.”
Among the special exhibits this year are showings of modern minimalism, quilted portraits, and quilts done by children.
For more details on the Festival of Quilts, see Heritage Park’s website at heritagepark.ca.