Norwich quilter to judge quilts, lead classes in Kuwait

Apr. 23—A Norwich resident will travel to Kuwait City, Kuwait Friday to judge and teach at a textile exhibition.

Lorry Chwazik, who is one of 45 certified quilt judges in the United States and the only certified quilt judge in New York state, said when she first got the call to be a judge and lead classes in the Middle Eastern country, she thought it was a scam. A representative from the Kuwait Textile Arts Association mentioned two other members of the National Association of Certified Quilt Judges, so Chwazik called them to ask them if they had judged previous competitions. "They told me it was a legit offer and they had a fabulous time," she said. "I was lucky enough to be the next person on the list. I never thought when I started quilting I'd be able to visit Kuwait."

Chwazik said she is leaving Friday, April 26 and coming back May 9. She will judge this year's exhibition April 30 through May 2, and will teach three different classes to students on quilting by hand, portrait quilts and techniques. As a retired school librarian, she is looking forward to teaching the classes. "I miss the activity of instruction and interacting with students," she said.

The Kuwait Textile Arts Association, whose mission promotes the diversity of textile and fiber arts, hosts an annual exhibition of member works judged by international judges, a media release said. The association's benefactor is Sheikha Altaf S. Al Sabah, a member of the royal family, whom Chwazik will meet, she said. "I'm pretty excited about that too," she said.

As judge, she will evaluate the quality of the quilts and give critiques to let the quilters know what they are doing right and give "constructive comments to direct what improvements could be made," she said. "I love the judging process."

She has made more than 300 wall hangings, garments and art and bed quilts in the past 33 years, the release said. "Quilting is a great right brain, left brain activity," she said. It combines creativity with technology. "Quilting is a tactile experience. It has been proven to lower blood pressure and is therapy as it occupies the brain in so many wonderful ways. It is a good counterpart to viewing a computer screen all day."

Before she heads to Kuwait, Chwazik will judge the Empire QuiltFest in Johnstown Wednesday and Thursday. "It's going to be a crazy week," she said. It has been a couple of busy weeks, as she had just returned from visiting her newborn grandchild in Washington, D.C.

Additional information about Chwazik's quilts, classes and judging services may be found on her website,

Vicky Klukkert, staff writer, can be reached at or 607-441-7221.