Last week I made a flying visit to Cumbria to see the New Quilting exhibition at the Rheged Gallery.
Over 70 quilts are on display and 30 quilters have contributed quilts for the exhibition. There is so much to see – traditional designs, modern quilts, detailed hand quilting, elaborate machine quilting, 3D works, quilts that look like maps, ones that look like travel posters, free cut quilts, improvised piecing and appliqué. There are even some quilts from the early 1900s on display.
One of my quilts features in the exhibition and here it is on display, yay!
And here is a closer look at the quilt, titled “A Life in Film”, that I made for my nephew. It features Polaroid blocks that highlight aspects of his life – growing up on a farm, his love of basketball, a special trip to the zoo, his love of chocolate cake, to name but a few. I know he’ll love snuggling under it when reading or watching TV.
But enough about my quilt. Here are some of my highlights and favourite quilts from the exhibition.
I loved this quilt of Cologne Cathedral by Greta Fitchett which represents a scene reflected in other buildings. Those lines between the blocks are really skinny and must have been so difficult to get straight. It reminds me of photographs made from contact sheets.
This was another of my favourites, by Alicia Merrett, showing a pilot’s view of a country landscape at night, with an air strip on the right hand side. The quilting really helps to accentuate the contours of the landscape and I love the bright colours of the houses shining in the dark.
This quilt by Marita Lappalainen made me smile. Recycled fabrics and crochet pot holders feature in this work of an imagined city. She said that she wanted to make something “fairy tale like, childish and fanciful”. I’d say she has nailed it.
This quilt, Bitter Pills, by Sara Impey was especially thought-provoking. It is a whole cloth quilt featuring free-motion embroidery. The juxtaposition of the bright colours of the capsules against the “bitter pills facing society” serves to heighten the power of this work.
This shows the detail from one of the quilts, made in 1900, that is on display. The quilt is quite large – certainly large enough for a double bed – and must have taken hours to hand sew all those tiny seams.
A modern day version of a log cabin quilt was also on display. This one is by Joy Salvage, a young quilter in her mid 20s, and features log cabin blocks where each of the logs are only 1/4 inch wide!
I’m a great fan of scrappy quilts and I loved this one by Janice Gunner. The colours she has chosen and the lovely hand quilting have transformed old fabrics (often rags) into something beautiful.
I could go on and on about the quilts but really, the best thing is for you to see them for yourself. The exhibition runs until 23 April and is well worth a visit.
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