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Why quilting is the new expat hobby

Every week across Singapore, groups of women gather together to talk, laugh and enjoy one another’s company. This is no idle chatter, though; enterprising fingers are busily working on quilting and craft projects. It’s the enjoyment of a common activity that bridges borders and brings women together as friends.

Long-term Singapore resident and passionate quilter Martina Bacon says there are numerous private groups that get together, as well as those under the auspices of the British Club and ANZA, and new members are always welcome. “By its nature, the expat community is very transient, with people coming and going, so we have to constantly get the word out to new arrivals that there is an active quilting community in Singapore,” said Martina.

In 2004 Martina and a group of fellow quilters organised an exhibition of quilts, which has since become an annual event held every October. This year’s theme is My Favourite Quilt, which she says gives people the opportunity to display their best work. “Specific themes can be difficult to interpret, and the pressure of judging can be intimidating, so we decided that this year people could contribute the work that they are most proud of.

“We also want to get more local Singaporeans involved in the exhibition. There is an active local quilting community and we hope to see some of their work in the display. Quilting crosses all boundaries and we want to get away from the exhibition being entirely expat-focused.”

Martina says quilting in Singapore opens up new opportunities. “Expats come from different backgrounds: they all use different fabrics, colours and styles. Here, they can try something different and find new things to love.

“The quilting event is inspirational. Ladies get new ideas from colours that they may hate, and styles they may dislike; they think: ‘I never thought about doing that, maybe I can give it a try,’” laughs Martina. She says most quilters belong to a mutual admiration society; “Even if we don’t like it, we can appreciate how much work and effort has gone into it.”

As for getting together for regular quilting meetings, she says, “It’s cheaper than therapy!”

Quilters in Singapore Exhibition
Tuesday, 16 October
10am to 3pm (lunch at 1pm)
British Club, Bukit Tinggi Road
Email singaporequilters@gmail.com for more information. Exhibition registration closes on 16 September.
Contact Martina Bacon on 9624 7929.

ANZA Quilters, anzaquilters.blogspot.sg
British Association craft group, britishassociation.org.sg