Online Exhibition for Festival of Quilts

Today is the launch of Beyond the Festival of Quilts – and online version of the huge event which would normally take place this weekend. I have been part of it every year, one way or another for the last decade or more. I launched my Criminal Quilts book and exhibition there in 2018 and won the Fine Art Quilt Masters competition in 2016, and I have taught so many workshops there that I have lost count. This year I have created an online exhibition featuring some of my pieces from my 2019 solo exhibition Textile Traces. I’ve recorded a talk about the work available alongside the images.

Screen shot of online exhibition website.

Criminal Quilts film

Roll out the red carpet for the premiere of my new Criminal Quilts film!

This will also be shown at Festival of Quilts and most other exhibitions, technology-permitting.

Made by the lovely R & A Collaborations, filmed at Staffordshire Record Office and University of Wolverhampton, with thanks to Jan, Jan, Jan and Ann. Yes, I got all three Jans on one film!

Festival of Quilts

Festival of Quilts is just around the corner! I am scrambling to get my book finished and printed ready for the show, alongside a massive exhibition gallery for Criminal Quilts including older and brand new work, including the collaboration quilt. I also have a piece in the Fine Art Quilt Masters competition exhibition again, which is all very exciting. Most of my teaching slots have sold out but there are still a few spaces left on Sunday’s Intro to Corded Quilting workshop. I also have a discount code for day ticket bookings for £13.50 (normally £16) which includes a little something for me so please do use this code if you are booking online. Enter the code WT75 when you book.

Fine Art Quilt Masters 2018

I’m pleased to have had another piece accepted into the Fine Art Quilt Masters at Festival of Quilts again this year.

Ruth Singer Tracery

Tracery will be shown in a large gallery with a lot of other really exciting textile pieces, 9-12th August. I will also be exhibiting my Criminal Quilts project in a gallery of its own too.

Tracery. Machine sewn patchwork. 2017

This piece was originally made for my 2017 solo exhibition Fragments, with the Quilt Association. Tracery is a direct response to the quilts in the Quilt Association collection.  When I went to view the quilts I was entranced by the damaged ones and chose to make work which reflected this. Tracery has been made and unmade to create a quilt purely of seams holding the remaining threads together, just like the quilting stitches holding together quilts which would otherwise fall to pieces.  To quilt lovers, my preference for the discoloured reverse, the wrecked by laundering,  the paint-spattered and the pieced army blankets may be puzzling but I love the stories held in damaged or ordinary cloth. The humbler the better for me.  I am interested in what it says about those who made it, bought it, sold it, used it, abused it, preserved it and mended it. My training in museum work taught me to look at objects from every angle, exploring every possible story to understand the thing as a whole, not purely as a visual object. As an artist I choose to look from one very specific angle and to explore that rich seam of narrative in as much detail as I can.


In case you missed it, I won the Fine Art Quilt Masters competition in 2016 which helped me fund and develop the Criminal Quilts project which I will be showing at this year’s festival.




Criminal Quilts : The Book

Criminal Quilts Book is open for pre-orders now!

Pre-orders are open until 20th July at a discounted price of £10 per copy which includes a signature, free postcard and the chance to include your name as a supporter in the back of the book.


The books will be printed at the end of July and posted out from mid-August. You can also collect at Festival of Quilts.

As well as the discount, your pre-order will help me pay for the massive printing costs for this book. I really appreciate you pre-ordering and will include your name (or another as preferred) in the back of the book. Please include your preferred name in the order.


Criminal Quilts collaborative quilt

Information regarding returning your quilt square including the address is all in the document below. Thank you

collaborative quilt return form




Thanks for your interest but I’ve now had over 100 people register which already makes an enormous quilt!

I am hoping to re-open this later in the year for exhibitions in 2019, so please keep in touch by signing up to my mailing list, following this blog or my social media including Criminal Quilts Twitter


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Festival of Quilts 2017 workshops and talks

Festival of Quilts

10-13th August 2017
 This year’s Festival of Quilts will be a celebration of my winning the Fine Art Quilt Masters prize last year. I am giving a talk about the Criminal Quilts series past and present and the stories behind the emotive and engaging photographs which inspired my work. Bookings open in April here.

Talk: Criminal Quilts: The story behind the Fine Art Quilt Masters winner 2016. 

Friday 11th August 13.30-14.15. £8.

Ruth Singer will discuss the complex story behind her winning ‘Criminal Quilt’, inspired by archive photographs of women criminals. In this talk she will explore the background to this work and how it fits into her other research-led art textiles work and ongoing projects exploring heritage, personal stories and textiles with a narrative. Ruth will also discuss the techniques and materials used to create this and other work.


I am also running a half day workshop exploring the techniques I used to create this work.

 In the Shadows.  Reverse appliqué with transparent fabrics.

Afternoon workshop
Thursday 10th August 13.30. £41

Take applique and layering to the next level with this exciting technique of using transparent fabrics layered and cut away. Using delicate silk organza, you will learn how to prepare and hand stitch a design by hand and create the subtle shadow effects by removing layers of fabric. We will also cover embellishing with shadow embroidery stitch and trapping fragments between the layers. You will create a small sampler during this workshop which can be incorporated into larger project if desired. This technique was used by Ruth Singer to create her Fine Art Quilt Masters winning piece in 2016. Materials will be supplied, cost £7 to be collected by the tutor on the day. Suitable for all levels. Book here

Ruth Singer. Criminal Quilts: Hanging. Winner of the 2016 Fine Art Quilt Masters competition

As usual I will also be running one hour introduction to trapunto quilting quick and easy workshops.
Thursday 10th 10.30am, Friday 11th 10.30am & Sunday 13th 10.30am. £13 per workshop. Book here

Winner of the Fine Art Quilt Masters 2016

I’m astonished and delighted to have won the Fine Art Quilt Masters competition at the Festival of Quilts today for my piece Criminal Quilts: Hanging.

Huge thanks to my friend, supporter and mentor Liz Cooper for encouraging me to push on with this work, the judges and the sponsors and of course to Staffordshire Records Office and Shire Hall Gallery for initiating this entire series of work starting with a commission four years ago.  True to form, I immediately started spending my winnings on antique textiles and vintage threads!


Festival of Quilts

The Festival of Quilts at Birmingham NEC starts on Thursday 6th August and runs until Sunday 10th. This year I have a stand (E6) where I will be displaying some of my recent work, collecting textile memories and showing work in progress. I’ll have books, fabrics, trapunto quilting supplies and kits for sale too.

Star Quilt

Star Quilt

The Harefield Hospital commission quilt is in the main competition area too.

***I have some free tickets, so please get in touch ASAP if you would like one ****


Show Season!

I’ve barely unpacked all the goodies I bought at the Festival of Quilts (last month) and apparently it is almost time for the Knitting & Stitching Show** – with the local Big Textile Show* in between.

Festival of Quilts at the NEC Birmingham is always a favourite of mine – it is an hour away so I can visit as much as I like but also sleep in my own bed. There are exhibitions, there are workshops (I always teach a few), there is catching up with friends and there is always a lot of shopping! These days I only tend to buy small things – threads, needles and tiny scraps of fabric – rather than the huge bolts of quilt wadding and kilos of fabric you see people lugging around. I always make a beeline to the Embroiderers’ Guild stand to hunt through their ‘treasures’ – bits and pieces of old embroidery, samples and materials. I was very pleased with this lovely dragon this year. I’ll be sharing a closer look at him soon.

Dragon embroidery (collection of Ruth Singer)

Dragon embroidery (collection of Ruth Singer)

For the first time in a few years I didn’t have a quilt in the open competition. I didn’t have anything suitable ready for this year but I am already making good progress on something I plan to enter next year – sneak peek below.

Patchwork in progress. Ruth Singer

Patchwork in progress. Ruth Singer

I found the exhibitions at Festival of Quilts were not as interesting as usual, to my taste anyway. The Fine Art Quilt Masters was good but I thought a little limited compared to last year. This year it included a lot more actual quilt pieces, whereas last year the definition was much looser and it was a contemporary art textiles selection. Of all the pieces, I particularly loved this by Raffaela Gottardell. You can see better photos on her Flickr page and Pinterest board.

Raffaela Gottadelli

Raffaela Gottadelli. The Winter of Our Discontent


The exhibition of work by the group Art Textiles Made in Britain was great. I love the detail in Louise Baldwin’s pieces and the stitch work in Rosie James‘.




I also liked some of the quilts from the Russian Gallery, made by Elena Folomyeva. The simple colour schemes and graphic plants on textured white backgrounds are really lovely.

*The Big Textile Show takes place this weekend 27th & 28th September in Great Glen, Leicestershire. I will be there in studio capacity, selling books, vintage fabrics, haberdashery and workshop tickets. I’m also teaching Trapunto Quilting on Sunday afternoon and will probably be shopping the rest of the time!

As for the **Knitting & Stitching Show (8-12 October), I am also teaching a couple of Trapunto (spot a theme here?) one-hour workshops on Thurs afternoon and Fri afternoon. The galleries look great, particularly the work of my friend Caren Garfen and Black Sheep which I have already seen and it is great.  And of course, there will be shopping – you will find me trying not to spend hundreds of pounds on spectacular Japanese threads at Habu.