Thursday, 04 July 2024

The Festival of Quilts Awards

As your patron, it is my pleasure to be with you for the presentation of the 2024 Festival of Quilts winners.

It is all the more special to be doing so in your 40th year as a organisation: four decades of creativity, camaraderie, and collaboration.

Quilting of course dates back many centuries, and as SA Quilters, you are part of the continuum that keeps this artform flourishing.

Through quilting we tell stories, we capture the images of the past and present, and preserve images of things that we care about.

Women – and while it’s mainly women, I know you have a few male members – come together to sew, to chat, to share experiences, to pass on their talents and to be there for each other.

History tells us that sailors of the 19th Century made woollen quilts during their long voyages and soldiers in the American Civil War quilted to pass the time and provide protection from the elements in between battles.

Perhaps Rod’s co-patronage will encourage other men to become involved in today’s times!


We had the privilege earlier today to select the Patrons’ Award, and, I have to say, it was a difficult decision; I am sure the festival judges found it likewise.

Each piece was painstakingly created. I suspect the quilts also told us something about their creator, their personality, and interests, by the designs they have chosen.

All demonstrated a love of the craft.

That same passion for the craft of quilting has been evident to Rod and me as we travel throughout the State.

We have also much admired the winning quilts displayed at the Royal Adelaide Show each year.

Alongside that, members of the SA Quilters have given us a marvellous introduction to the finer arts of quilting and a greater appreciation of the craft.

To those who have worked hard to stage and support this Festival, thank you for your contributions. The huge band of volunteers has done a marvellous job.

I trust the festival will inspire many more to become involved in this beautiful craft.

Forty years ago, Rachel Dettman, Elaine Gardner, Julie Abbott and Jude Adams met at Rachel’s home to discuss the formation of a Quilters Guild here in South Australia.

You have come a long way since then. A few months ago, you became SA Quilters, to mark the Ruby anniversary.

Over that time, you have promoted patchwork and quilting, exhibited your art, brought women together in friendship, and contributed to the community in many ways.

I particularly mention:

  • Isolette covers for neo natal units.
  • Quilts for the children’s ward at Flinders Medical Centre.
  • Quilts for refugees, oncology patients, domestic violence units and homeless support agencies.

Your quilts not only give practical warmth, but also wrap babies and people in the warmth of caring.

Rod and I also commend SA Quilters for your fundraising contributions to Bedford Industries, the Biggest Morning Tea and programs such as Kick Start for Kids and Back Packs for Kids.

An organisation such as this relies on volunteers to thrive, and I thank everyone who over the past 40 years has given the gift of their time.

Your efforts have built one of the most successful quilting associations in Australia.

In looking forward, you are finding ways to engage younger quilters and grow membership.

I am sure the quilted sneakers made by the Modern Mix group attracted just as much attention as the more traditional pieces, if not more.

To the members of Quilters SA, thank you for providing a space where creativity and friendship can flourish.

Congratulations to the winners and I look forward to the presentations.

Coming events