Thursday, 25 March 2010

Patchwork


I went to see the V&A's British Quilts exhibition the other day...and all I can say is "GO AND SEE IT!" It's a real tribute to the women and men who so laboriously and lovingly patched together the fabric of their lives to create some seriously beautiful and intricate work. It's incredible to see what they managed to do, often with very little space, probably very little light, and sometimes in secret or on the high seas. I was amazed at their attention to detail and ingenuity when it came to finding things to make their patchworks. I love the fact that each fabric tells a story - many of them were of course cut up old clothes or household linens. There were girls in a Japanese prison camp who cut pieces from their dresses to make a quilt for their Guide leader, or the man who used army flannels to construct a quilt consisting of thousands of hexagons no bigger than a 1p coin. I had no idea either how women from the Welsh Valleys quilted in the 40's to supplement the incomes of their miner husbands, and how some of their work ended up in Claridges hotel. The modern work was interesting too, but for me it's the really ancient quilts that impress the most. Wonderful animals, people and scenes all sewn painstakingly onto their backgrounds. The only quilt I've ever made was something I rustled up over a couple of nights as a teenager. Using the sewing machine, I patched together loads of squares and joined them all together with strips of an old sheet. I then backed the whole lot with another sheet. I still have it now - and I love the fact that I can identify most of the fabrics as this or that dress, or those curtains. My rough and ready attempt is nothing compared to the beautiful hand work on the quilts in this exhibition. But seeing them makes me appreciate even more, the dedication needed to create a real heirloom.




3 comments:

Affi'enia said...

Oh I am so jealous. I must find a way to get to London to see this.

火吟 said...

你可以從外表的美來評論一朵花或一隻蝴蝶,但你不能這樣來評論一個人........................................

Josie-Mary said...

I've heard the modern quilts were a bit odd but I like the sound of the old ones.
I don't like it when people buy fabric or wool to make blankets/quilts the idea should be to make it from scraps...more loved that way :)