School girls sweep the board at European competition

Students from Burgess Hill Girls claimed three prizes at the European quilting competition
Students from Burgess Hill Girls claimed three prizes at the European quilting competition

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

Talented designers from the top independent school won no fewer than three top prizes at the prestigious event, which was held at the Birmingham NEC.

Students from Burgess Hill Girls claimed three prizes at the European quilting competition

Students from Burgess Hill Girls claimed three prizes at the European quilting competition

The theme of this year’s event was ‘Free’ and first prize in the school’s competition went to a piece entitled Free Range Chickens, which featured seven almost life-sized birds on a handmade felt base with a quilted banner on which the girls printed and then embroidered their names.

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

Head teacher of the school 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.”

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 was a 3D fabric sculpture featuring 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 have the names of authors whose books were burned 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.”