The Union of Quilters and Allied Workers (UQAW) is the oldest surviving union in Buentoille, and almost every Buentoillitant family contains at least one member. However, the union has moved well beyond its initial purpose of uniting quilt workers and working for improvements in their conditions and pay.
In the late sixteenth century the quilting industry went from being a huge part of the Buentoilliçan economy to being essentially worthless. The largest purchasers of Buentoilliçan quilts had been the nearby cities of Litancha, Catrosondia and Helmuud’s Hill, but with the introduction of the Seven Cities Trading Company and the resulting opening of the Tibizian Straits, this trade all but dried up. Around thirty percent of Buentoillitants were employed in the quilting industries at the time, so the union had to take drastic action.
The internal market for quilts at the time was weak, as the skills were so widespread, but the artistic value of the industry was recognised by the parliament of the time, especially as it made use of otherwise-worthless scraps from the tailoring and haberdashery industries. Under pressure from the union, Parliament passed the 1589 Quilt Workers Relief Act, wherein every member of UQAW was guaranteed a small weekly wage, as long as they spent the entire year producing under seven individual works of exquisite artistic quality. This process was initially overseen by the odious Quilting Standards Officers (called ‘Snifters’ by the quilters, due to their frustrating propensity to turn up their snotty middle-class noses at the product of the quilters’ labour), but after several mysterious disappearances no volunteers could be found, and this task was taken up by UQAW appointees.
Eventually, as other industries filled the gap left by the quilting industries’ departure, the monthly stipend provided by parliament was not increased with inflation, and therefore the time requirements to be a member of UQAW decreased with it. Eventually, this led to the current state of affairs, where the (now primarily ceremonial) stipend is paid to all union members today, on Display Day, where almost every household hangs out their creations for all the City to see. Quilting has now achieved the status of high art in Buentoilliçan society, and the spectacle is quite something to behold.
Whilst the galleries will do their part in displaying a number of well-known quilt artists, there is no match for the spectacle available for free at The Warrens on the south side, where walls, windows, washing lines and walkways are sure to be thronging with quilts, both traditional and highly innovative in style.
Other festivals happening today:
- James de Barth’s Festival of True High Culture
- The Maze Is Open
- Buentoilliçan Internationalist Recognition Day
- Buentoilliçan Film Festival