National quilting competition prizes put Burgess Hill Girls in a league of their own

August 23, 2017

Pupils from Burgess Hill Girls have swept the board at the Festival of Quilts, the largest quilting competition in Europe.

Talented designers from the top independent school have won no fewer than three top prizes at the prestigious event, which is held at the Birmingham NEC. This year’s theme was ‘Free’.

First prize in the schools competition went to a piece entitled ‘Free Range Chickens’, which features seven almost life-sized birds on a handmade felt base with a quilted banner on which the girls printed and thenembroidered their names.

The artwork was created by girls from Years 8, 9 and 10 who attended the school’s weekly lunchtime quilting club.

In the Young Embroiderer/Quilter category of the Festival, Jasmine Derbyshire won second place with her ‘Burning Books’ and Francesca Arlett came third for her ‘Free as a Bird’ outfit.

Jasmine’s design is a 3D fabric sculpture features life-sized books referencing the book-burning by German students of the 1930s who destroyed works that did not conform to Nazi ideals. The books havethe names of authors whose books were burnt on the spines and ‘flames’ can be seen creeping through the pile.

Francesca’s entry was a two-piece outfit comprising a pencil skirt with a black lace tree, bird and butterflies which are restricted by a 3D bird cage. As the birds and butterflies fly free from the cage they also acquire vivid colours.

Barbara Bradley, Head of Design and Technology at Burgess Hill Girls, said: ‘Winning three prizes at this prestigious event is a fantastic result for the girls. They gave up much of their time to produce the entries and deserve their success.’

Head Liz Laybourn said: ‘At a time when arts subjects are being squeezed out at many schools, it’s such a thrill to see our girls excelling in quilting and embroidery. At Burgess Hill, arts subjects have parity with academic subjects and we do everything we can to encourage girls’ talents.’