Teaching in Dubai


By Jane Haworth

I’m fortunate to have just returned from teaching quilting in Dubai, UAE and what perfect timing that I can share my travels with you here. With Sandra just back from Israel I am feeling a little intimidated to follow her great post and photos. We are both very lucky to be able to share our journeys with you.

The photo above is the view from my hotel window.  I arrived in Dubai late at night and waking early that first morning this was the scene I was greeted to. I spent many an early morning looking out at the city as jet lag made a full nights sleep pretty scarce!

Last summer I was contacted by Shanker Ramakrishnan inviting me to teach at the International Quilt Show Dubai. This came out of the blue and I had to do a google search to learn more about the show. It is a biannual show and is put on by Shanker, Mala and their daughter Aish who own Classic Quilts, the only quilt store in Dubai. It seems they are responsible for bringing quilting to this region of the world.

7th Annual International Quilt Show Dubai

Me, Aish and Shanker Ramakrishnan

In my research about the show I saw the great caliber of teachers that had previously taught there. Since it started in 2008 the teachers include Laura Heine, Kaffe Fassett, Ricky Tims, Helen Gooden, Cynthia Needham, and Norika Endo, to name a few. In 2020 I was truly honored to teach alongside Nancy Prince, Jan Krentz and Amanda Murphy.

Selection of quilts from IQSD 2020

A selection of some of the colorful quilts in the IQSD 2020

The quilt show ran from Thursday to Saturday and opened with a ribbon-cutting, inauguration ceremony. Two workshops were held each day for four days with up to 25 students per class with Bernina or Brother sewing machines in the classrooms. Approximately 140 quilts were entered into the show into eight different categories. New this year the categories included young quilters, beginners and art pictorial. It was amazing to see the quilts submitted from many different countries around the world. The prizes included four sewing machines, silver and gold minted coins. Friday night was the awards ceremony, which was broadcast Live on Facebook, followed by a delicious  banquet dinner.

Hotel Roda al Murooj

View down to the hotel patio where tables were set up for the quilt show banquet dinner. Hotel Roda al Murooj

Having never visited this part of the world before and teaching to such an international selection of students I wondered whether I would have any communication issues. Lucky for me everyone spoke such good English it was never a problem. It seems the world over our quilting community unites us all. We relate to one another in our shared passion of textiles and quilts.

IQSD 2020 Tentmakers of Cairo workshop

Having some free time I was able to take a short workshop with the Tentmakers of Cairo with Jan Krantz, a fellow teacher from California.

I was invited to teach my Faces Fabric Collage  2 day workshop. Some students chose to use a kit that I supplied of ‘Afghan Girl’, the famous picture by photographer Steve McCurry or they brought in their own photo enlargement for a custom design. The students worked successfully learning my technique that they embraced. Their finished quilts turned out to be amazing. Permission to use this photo was given to me by the photographer.

Faces Fabric Collage Workshop by Jane Haworth

Here is a selection of the wonderful Faces made in the class. Many people completed the collage  and were ready to take them home to begin the quilting.

Faces workshop IQSD 2020 Jane Haworth

How lucky was I to teach these ladies. They had traveled from all over the region to attend my workshop; India, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Muscat, Germany and UAE.

When Shanker arranged our travel we were encouraged to have a free day before the workshop and a couple of days after to see and experience what Dubai has to offer. He wanted us to see the history of Old Dubai and not just new, modern Dubai.


I had one day on my own so took a “hop on, hop off” bus tour around the city. I got off in Deira where I took an “abra” ride on a authentic motorized boat to cross the creek to reach the spice souk on the other side. It cost one dirham about 30 cents.

Spice Market Diera, Dubai

I love the way they spelt ‘Chilly’! Walking around the “souks” or markets was a sensory overload. From the colors of the textiles, aromas in the spice market and the sounds of cars honking and vendors wanting you to buy their wares!


You can tell I was drawn to the textiles, patchwork, pillows and designs that I saw in the market.

The hotel Roda al Murooj is where we stayed and also the location of the quilt show close to downtown Dubai.  It was nice as it was just an easy, safe walk to the famous Dubai Mall and the Burj Khalifa.

Hotel Roda al Murooj, Dubai

Roda al Murooj with the impressive skyline of the financial district behind.

My first day in Dubai, while adjusting to the 90+’ temps, it was my time to visit the Dubai Mall and Burj Khalifa tower. My mind was blown by the scale of everything!

These are views close to the Mall and a couple from my bus tour. I do really like buildings and the scale of them here in Dubai is mind blowing! The amount of construction going on is incredible. I heard Dubai has more cranes on buildings than anywhere else in the world and I can believe it.

I loved exploring the mall. In Fashion Avenue I enjoyed window shopping and taking photos as I really couldn’t afford anything in there. It was all so pretty, flowers and floral designs were everywhere.


Jan Krentz and I took the VIP tour of the Burj Khalifa! We accidentally ended up in a small group with private guide traveling up to the 148th floor where we were greeted at a private lounge with arabic coffee and treats. We hadn’t intended on this experience and the tickets we purchased obviously weren’t your standard ticket but was definitely worthwhile.


Can you see our hotel down there with the red roofs. The Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world has 200 floors. For regular tourists the viewing floors are 124 and 123 with inside and an outside viewing areas. The building was designed by a Chicago architect Adrian Smith, 12,000 construction workers worked over five years and it opened in 2010.

Brunch Buffet at Roda al Murooj Dubai

Following Sandra’s post here are my photos of beautiful food!  The attention to detail and visual beauty of the food was incredible, they look like a still life. As teachers we were spoilt and pampered and are so grateful to Shanker and family for giving us this Middle East experience.


If you want to do a similar fabric collage workshop I still have spaces at the Artistic Alchemy retreat in September at Lake Tahoe. Look up the workshop page here and look for the description. As well as learning fabric collage we will spend a day mark-making or making your own custom fabrics to use.

If you are interested in working on fabric collage at the shop on my website www.janehaworth.com I have kits and patterns available for purchase.

Finally exciting news; I will be teaching with Sandra Mollon on a cruise in Northern Europe in June 2021. Look up the website here for cruise details and contact me if you want more details of the workshop as I am looking for students to sign -up.


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