Five minutes with Jana Štěrbová
Contemporary quilt artist Jana Štěrbová is Managing Director of the Prague Patchwork Meeting, the international textile exhibition she helped to found in 2005. We caught up with her ahead of this year’s show
ECT: 2019 will be the 13th edition of the Prague Patchwork Meeting. Why should this show be on every textile fan’s bucket list?
JS: For so many reasons! There’s the sheer number of quilts on display for a start – 1,000 quilts, in 30 collections. The range and quality is incredible too, covering everything from traditional examples to contemporary art quilts, all of them the best in their field. And let’s not forget the shopping opportunities; we offer a different choice of fabrics and equipment to that available in Western Europe and have the best prices too. And finally there’s the show’s location. Prague is one of Europe’s top travel destinations and a visit to the PPM can be easily combined with some sightseeing.
ICU by Birgit Schüller
Image courtesy of Prague Tourism
ECT: Czech quilts are always a particular highlight - what makes them special?
JS: As artists, Czech quilters are inspired by many different things, but something we all have in common is innovation. Most people had to make their own clothes at home during the 40 year-long Communist ear, so Czech people learned to be creative. Today, this skill and innovation is being increasingly recognised overseas - Romana Cerna and Irena Zemanova are both well known internationally and three of my own quilts were bought recently by the Museum and Quilt House in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Trh v Yokohama by Monika Tilschová
Blue Moon Quilt by Jana Štěrbová
ECT: Sweden is going to be the guest country for this year - how is the country choice made?
JS: I was invited to the 2018 quilt festival in Lidkoping as a SAQA [Studio Art Quilt Associates] judge and was really impressed by the high level of quilting. Sweden has been under represented at the major shows, so I decided to invite them to Prague. Visitors are in for a treat!
ECT: A high school for textile design will be part of the show for the first time, why were you keen to involve such young people?
JS: I’ve been teaching new surface design at this high school for the last year and the students have done some wonderful collage works, some of which will be on show at the Meeting. It's all about supporting the quilters of the future.
Student textile collage
ECT: Can you tell us any more about this year's challenges?
JS: The creative challenge for contemporary quilters is Writing in Quilt – i.e. using letters and writing as a part of the design. Traditional quilters have been asked to respond to the theme Dresden Plate. We usually get between 25 and 30 entries for each challenge and entries are judged by an international jury.
ECT: Art Quilt CZ is another annual highlight - what can we look forward to in the showcase this year?
JS: Every year we ask the Art Quilt Club CZ to create work using a non-typical quilting material. It’s quite hard to keep coming up with new materials, but this year we decided on jute. It will be interesting to see what they do…
We still have places available on the tour - read all about it here