Thursday, March 8, 2012

Irish Inspiration

There is a warm spot in our hearts for St. Patrick's Day and Irish quilts. Last year we featured a little wall hanging with the Irish greeting, Céad Míle Fáilte (100,000 welcomes). This year our inspiration comes by way of Gyöngyi Váradi, a master quilter and member of the Hungarian Patchwork Society, who has created some of the most beautiful Irish quilts we've seen. She spent a year in Galway, Ireland and made quilts together with the Irish Patchwork Society. Her quilts have been featured in exhibitions around Europe. 

Jour de Semaine Charges by Gyöngyi Váradi, seen at the Hungarian Patchwork Society. Featured in the magazine Magic patch n° 90 - Jeux de couleurs (France)

Gyöngyi Váradi's quilts, including the Celtic labyrinth above and the emerald green quilt below, were exhibited during the Hungarian Patchwork Guild's show in Budapest in November 2010. The modern quilt shown below has patterns inspired by the ancient stone carvings at Newgrange in County Meath, on the eastern side of Ireland:

This was a Round Robin Quilt made in 2008 by Gyöngyi Váradi and shown at the Hungarian Patchwork Society and Irish Patchwork Society. The triple spiral in the center of the quilt is a Celtic and pre-Celtic symbol found on a number of Irish Megalithic and Neolithic sites; for reference, a photo of the Newgrange entrance stone is shown below.

Newgrange Entrance Stone, photo from Britannica, courtesy of M.J. O’Kelly

Round Forest, designed by Gyöngyi Váradi and made by members of the Hungarian Quilt Guild. Seen at the 2009 Birmingham (UK) Quilt Festival; photograph courtesy of Sarah Fielke

Each of the trees  in "Round Forest" has a different mixture of print fabrics as shown below; the variety of hues and textures in the trees give a sense of mystery to this quilt.

Mountains in Bloom by Gyöngyi Váradi. Featured in Magic patch n° 90 - Jeux de couleurs. Photo courtesy of the Western Branch of the Irish Patchwork Society

When Gyöngyi Váradi lived in Galway she taught members of the Irish Patchwork Society Western Branch her method of paper piecing to make flowers (for the story, see the Irish Patchwork Society post). Two glorious quilts were completed; they were exhibited in Budapest and also at the Galway City Museum in 2010. Full instructions for the Hungarian 'Mountains in Bloom' quilt are given in the January 2011 Magic Patch magazine (en francais!) A closeup of the flowers can be seen in the photo below by Shirley Goodwin.

Last but not least, how about a trip this June to the first ever International Quilt Festival of Ireland? It will be held on June 8th - 11th, 2012, in Galway. Ricky Tims, Jinny Beyer and other quilting superstars will be there too. If you check out the website you'll be greeted with Céad Míle Fáilte (100,000 welcomes!)


  1. These quilts are all so beautiful! That's a quilter with a wide range of talent!

  2. Such amazing talent! Her work is spectacular and SO detailed! I'd love to see pictures of quilts displayed this year at the IQF in Ireland!

  3. I LOVE your blog!!! Thanks for all the great links you include! I discovered Carol Doak this morning thanks to you!!!!

  4. Do you know what is the significance of the hand in the forest? All the quilts are great, but that item is intreguing.

  5. She is a great artist! As a French quilter and reader of Magic Patch, I already know her and some of her beautiful quilts. Thanks for this post!

  6. Those are amazing. That 'Round Forest' quilt reminds me a lot of a painting by Remedios Varo called 'Spiral Transit.'


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