Tuesday, July 30, 2013


Lowell Quilt Festival
August 8 - 10, 2013

A Citywide Celebration
of Quilts & Fiber Arts

It's coming up soon. As I promised I want to let my readers know what is happening with all the details. Lowell, Massachusetts is the home of an annual quilt festival that spans several venues in the city. One of the northern-most cities in MA, it is easily accessible to southern New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont as well as eastern Connecticut, Rhode Island and cities in Massachusetts, such as Boston, Worcester and even the Berkshires. I took my three quilts up to the New England Quilt Museum this morning via Rt.495 and it took me about an hour and a half one way. However, if you live farther away than that, you may want to make it a three day visit and stay at an area hotel such as the UML Inn & Conference Center which is right in the thick of downtown. There are several parking garages in the area, one of which is very close to the NEQM and the Visitor Center at 304 Dutton St.

So what have they got cooking up there?

Let's start a walking tour at the Lowell Memorial Auditorium at 50 East Merrimack St. This is the home of the Images Quilt Show including a show of traditional quilts, art quilts, a vendor mall, a quilt appraiser, lectures and the show my pieces are in, 'Three Cohesive Pieces', a regional SAQA show. Admission to this venue is $12 (valid all three days; includes NEQM entry). There is a group discount for 5 or more people but you have to move fast for this - the deadline is July 31.

You may wish to move on to the Whistler House Museum of Art at 243 Worthen St., which is showing 'Art Quilts at the Whistler: What's My Line?', art quilts exploring the use of line either literally or figuratively. Admission to the Whistler is $5. Also within a short walk is the Brush Art Gallery & Studios, 256 Market St, which is showing 'Art Quilts Lowell: Tangled Up In Blue' and is free with donations welcome. At Appleton Mills at 219 Jackson St., you may view functional quilts with a modern aesthetic at a show called 'Quilts from the Boston Modern Quilt Guild' which will also include quilts from 'Quilts for Boston' a relief effort from BMQG for those affected by the bombings in Boston this spring. Admission here is also free. Rounding out your downtown walk brings you back to the New England Quilt Museum at 18 Shattuck St. where you will see the show 'A Slice of Cheddar: Antique Pennsylvania Quilts' (free with your Images admission or a $7 admission). I viewed this show this morning and it is a powerful show of color.

Other venues included in the festival are the American Textile History Museum at 491 Dutton St. (admission $8), with "Behind the Veil: Brides & Their Dresses' and the All Arts Center at 307 Market St. (admission free, donations welcome), with 'The Fabrication of Imagination 2013: 3D Fiber Arts' featuring both wall and free standing fiber art.

Hours for the festival are Thursday & Friday, 10am - 6pm and Saturday, 10am - 4pm. There is a Gallery Night, Friday, Aug 9 from 5pm - 8pm for all venues except Images in which admission is free. There will be two free shuttle buses running for all three days if you prefer your exercise at the gym.

So what else is there to do in Lowell? A large part of the city has been designated part of the Lowell National Historical Park. Lowell's water powered textile mills were integral to the industrial revolution. You can experience the workings of those huge looms and the machinery that fueled them, traverse a canalway walking trail, or take a canal boat tour or trolley tour. For information on schedules and fees, contact the Lowell Visitor Center. I have experienced two of the many eateries in the downtown area and can attest that you can find some wonderful dining in Lowell as well. There are way too many to list so you may wish to google a few Lowell restaurants before you go.

Here are some numbers if you have questions about the festival: for the Images show, NEQM or Appleton Mills call 978 452-4207, The Whistler: 978 452-7641, The Brush: 978 459-7819,  The American Textile History Museum: 978 441-0400, the All Arts Center: 978 221-5018, the University of Mass Lowell Inn & Conference Center: 877 886-5422 & the Lowell Visitor Center: 978 970-5000.

If you prefer something visual here are some links:

If you love quilts and you are in New England then this is the place to be in just a couple of weeks. I will definitely be there on Saturday all day but may also go up on Thursday. If you want to coordinate times with me so we can share the fun, leave me a message here in my comments box with an email so I can get in touch with you. 

See you in Lowell!

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