As we still can not travel (at least here in Europe) many quiltshows are cancelled at the moment. This is sad but understandable. But …… I do have several thousand pictures of quiltshows in my photo archive. So how about revisiting some shows of the last years?
In 2019 the Quilters’ Guild of Great Britain celebrated their 40th birthday with a quiltshow at the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham, titled “Spotlight @ 40”. The quilters were asked to interpret 40 in the most creative way. One side of the quilt had to measure 40 inches. The quilts were all made by British members of the guild and they went into the permanent collection of the Quilters’ Guild.
Here are some of the beautiful quilts:
“40 days and 40 nights” by Cag Tyndall
Artist’s statement: Work on this quilt began during the spring of 2019 when my mind turned to the 40 days and 40 nights of Lent. I wanted to celebrate the wonderful variety of colour and texture of different fabrics, as well as how they respond differently to dyes. Linen, cotton, silk, and mixed fabrics were all hand dyed. There are 40 appliquéd circles of each colour. The piece has been lightly quilted.
“Circuit XL” by Marion McCrindle
Artist’s statement: Each year is a new cycle, hence there are 40 circles to represent 40 years of the guild’s life so far. Just as each year brings its own challenges and developments, so the circles have different patterns, colours and are made from a range of materials: paper, thread, fabric, wood and metal. Some years are good – some do not go as planned. In the life of the guild, some years have been highly successful, others less so. The circle has no end, something we hope for the guild. The circle of friends I found in the guild has a value above rubies. The circles represent a year—each different: some good, some bad, significant years, quiet years.
“40 Layers of Quilting” by Jo Avery
Artist’s statement: When I thought about the last 40 years of quilting and The Quilters’ Guild, I imagined them as layers of sedimentary rock as found in an archaeological dig. The resulting quilt shows 40 different layers of patchwork techniques including miniature log cabins and flying geese, plus layers of improvised and curved piecing. Appliqué, hand quilting and other embellishments have been added to some layers to represent as many aspects of quilting as possible. A fissure was created through the layers with the two pieces brought back together again with buttons representing the ‘make do and mend’ starting point of our patchwork tradition.
Jo Avery wrote a blog post about how she made this quilt and what a terrible mistake she made, which resulted in an even more interesting quilt. Don’t miss it, it’s a lesson in creativity.
“Belonging” by Lesley Brankin
The second line of The Quilters’ Guild Mission Statement reads: “We bring together quilters in a spirit of friendship and learning. We promote quilt-making in all its forms across the UK.” In the spirit of coming together in the guild’s 40th anniversary year, the maker invited fellow regional members to donate squares of cream/white fabric and provide a single descriptive word summing up what membership of the British Guild means to them. The squares were pieced together as a background and the tallied words featured in the ‘spotlight’.
“Spotlight on The Guild” by Anne Gosling
Artist’s statement: When I thought about the theme Spotlight@40, I decided to put the spotlight on The Guild, in particular guild membership, to celebrate the 40th anniversary. A crossword in guild colours seemed the most appropriate way to express all that the guild has to offer its members. The quilt is machine pieced but as I love to stitch by hand, the letters are hand appliquéd. The guild logo is the basis of the quilting design which is also hand stitched.
“Headline News” by Sabi Westoby
Artist’s statement: The theme was interpreted by focusing on world events that took place 40 years ago. For (british) quilters, the highlight of 1979 was, undoubtedly, the formation of The Quilters’ Guild and this work marks that exciting event. I also refer to other contemporary cultural, historical and political events that still seem significant to me 40 years later. Red text, a reference to the ruby anniversary, was digitally printed on cotton sateen and the piece was stab stitched by hand.
“QGBI Excels” by Jeni Rutherford
Artist’s statement: The inspiration for this hanging is The Quilters’ Guild and how patchwork has evolved in the last 40 years. In 1979 contemporary work was unusual but now the Contemporary Quilt Group is one of the guild’s specialist groups. The hanging is in two parts: the front features QGBI, the guild’s ‘initials’. The back features traditional block designs—where the guild began—but the single colour blocks and quilting are contemporary. It represents all the people working away, in York and around the UK, who are generally unseen but make the guild what it is today. The motifs feature 40 in Arabic and Roman numerals. XL can be pronounced excel—what guild members try to do.
“40 Endangered in 40” by Melanie Missin-Keating
Artist’s statement: In the 40 years since The Quilters’ Guild began, the 40 animals, plants and insects shown in the quilt have become endangered to the point of extinction. Will they be extinct in the next 40 years? Can we save them?
“Region 3 from the Air” by Grace Meijer
Artist’s statement: The landscape of Region 3 was the inspiration for this piece—the beautiful rolling landscape with its many colours, from the white chalk to the acid yellow rapeseed and the little hamlets and farms tucked into the hills. It is also the area where The Quilters’ Guild started; the first AGM was held in Winchester.
“Birthday Celebrations” by Aoibhínn Murray, Ciaran Behan & Aoife Behan
Here the 40th anniversary of The Quilters’ Guild is celebrated as a quilted birthday cake. The cake has three tiers, and each of the three Young Quilters involved designed and created their own section before joining them together. A sewing machine as the cake topper features a patchwork fabric flowing from it, displaying printed photos of 40 quilts from the past 40 years.
This is one thing that I like especially about the British Guild – it really fosters the young quilters. From 5 to 18 years the membership in the guild is free and there are special workshops for them. It’s really a great way to bring children and young adults to quilting. The above quilt is a perfect example of how much this pays off.
So this was our first, private, little quiltshow – with more to come. Come back to check or – even better – subscribe to this blog (enter your e-mail address in the box on the right) so that you don’t miss them.