Wednesday, October 29, 2014

This is SAQA Europe/Middle East: The Reps

Maggi Birchenough (UK)

I have always loved working with fabric and being able to change that fabric into something with thread and a needle, hand or machine. I began as an embroiderer when I was taught by my baby sitter. Although my mother used to sew clothes and knit she had little interest in anything more creative and left my stitching education to others. I don’t know if there is any sewing heritage from further back as I never knew my grandparents.
The embroidery was what actually led me to quilting as I discovered a quilt shop when I was visiting a local embroidery who back in the mid 80s. I was fascinated by the array of beautiful fabric, bought a book about quilt blocks and enough fabric to make a double bed quilt and that was that, I was on my quilting journey.
When I look back at that first quilt (I still have it and am still using it), I realise just how far I have come from those early days. Since then I have discovered dyeing, surface design and using my own photos to print directly onto fabric Using and manipulating my own photographs has always interested me and after taking an online class with Beth Wheeler back in 2008 my first venture into printing on fabric was accepted into the Sutton Hoo Exhibition in 2009.

Spring Promises

This was followed by my first entry into Festival of Quilts in 2009 being awarded a Judge’s Choice.

Parrot Tulip II

Recently I have been working in a far more abstract way and have been working on two series, one based on photographs of Belper Mill and the other on the spiral shape of roses. Rose #6 was entered into this year’s Festival of Quilts and achieved a Judge’s Choice award Wheels and Windows #8 was my entry into this year’s Quilt National - not successfully I might add.

Rose #6

For the first time this year I sent off pieces for the Anniversary Trunk Show, the Silent Auction and the Benefit Auction. My reward was having my Trunk Show piece being selected to become part of the permanent collection of the National Quilt Museum in PaducahKentucky

I really do believe that becoming a member of SAQA around five years ago has both inspired me and given me the confidence to move forward with my quilting. I have been volunteering for FOQ for the past 4 years, both stewarding and serving as a delivery point for the books and catalogues each year. By volunteering I have met many people from around the world. Offering to become corep when Elisabeth retires is my way of giving something back to SAQA for all that it has given to me over the years. I am looking forward to meeting many more of you and if anyone is going to the Fiberlandia conference in Portland next year, please stop me and say hello. If not then I’ll see you at Festival of Quilts 2015.


  1. It is always interesting to learn some of the back story of someone's journey.

    I am sorry Elisabeth is stepping down, but I am glad you will be picking up the role.

  2. I met Elisabeth whilst helping on the SAQA Wide Horizons at the EPM this September - she mentioned that you would be taking over as co-rep - well done. I look forward to meeting you in the flesh(as it were) one day - unfortunately, the FOQ is and timing for me as the family all arrive on Guernsey on their annual holidays in August - otherwise could help out as required. Perhaps at EPM one day.

  3. Lovely to see some of your earlier work - it looks amazing and I love your entry for QN. Lucky you going to the SAQA conference. I'm sure you will have a ball.

  4. Congratulations Maggi for being our co-rep!! I hope to meet you at the next European Patchwork Meeting in Ste Marie aux Mines where I am going to have a solo show this September 2015. I particularly love your work: "Waiting"!!