…or rather, loch. Well I am back from my brief sojourn down to the outskirts of Glasgow where I whizzed round as many churches and halls as time and children would allow. Sadly I didn’t make it to all 11 venues, and I didn’t get to see all 400 quilts. But I feasted my eyes on some utterly mind-boggling works of craftsmanship and technique, colour and composition. The age-old question of ‘is it art’ has been going round and round in my head. It’s a biggie, and has been asked of everything from Van Gogh’s sunflowers to Tracey Emin’s unmade bed. Quilts can be, and often are, functional objects. But their usefulness in keeping you warm has long overflowed into sometimes quiet, sometimes loud demonstrations of beauty, technique, technology and outright artistry. It can take years to make a quilt, from design, planning, piecing, sourcing, quilting, embellishing, finishing. The placement of fabric and colour, when combined with the design of the actual quilting, can come together in subtle or spectacular ways. It can be simple, or staggeringly complicated and mathematical. Yet, in the UK at least, quilting is rather derided as something for old grannies. Quilting is traditionally something women do. Older women. It’s not cool. It isn’t really art.
I wish the people who think textile art isn’t really art would come to a quilt show. Or better yet, try and make one. I cannot see how anyone could stand face to face with one of Philippa Naylor’s incredible pieces and dismiss it.
Part social history, part art, part plain old keeping warm, quilts are complicated and thus a bit difficult to neatly box. But, to me at least, they are fascinating and warmly democratic- here was I, a teeny baby quilter by comparison, but able to exhibit alongside award winning, world class artists. Pretty cool and lots of fun.
Apologies for the quality of my photos- I was snapping as quickly as I could and then my battery ran out, so I had to use my phone. And I neglected to get the names of all the quilters. If I did get the name, then it follows the quilt photo. You’ll get the idea!
The black and white exhibition:
The aforementioned Philippa Naylor’s quilts- jaw dropping. She was there, and very lovely too!
I loved this black and white one, it had lovely folky animals and birds all over it in tiny squares:
Winner of the ‘Red Alert’ competition, and recipient of an award for hand quilting. A deceptively simple quilt which was utterly arresting and beautiful:
The back- you can see the sashiko stitches in the different colours. Really effective:
This one was gigantic! The colour scheme wasn’t really my favourite, but the hand quilting was the best I’ve ever seen. So even and, in contrast to the geometry of the quilt, very flowing.
More lovely reds:
The Quilter’s Guild’s Scottish division put this exhibition of A3-sized quilts together, which was great fun:
This was in an exhibition by a group of women called The Filanderers, who were talented and very prolific:
A technique that was new to me, called Boutis, from France:
Winner of the men only competition, ‘Mission Impossible:’
The highly commended men’s quilt, and my favourite, complete with OS map fabric:
The rainbow efforts of the Cupar quilting group:
And two huge antique quilts, in the Turkish Red fabric that the Vale of Leven was once famous for. These weren’t perfect, but they had such majesty and were so modern and striking.
The winner of the competition I entered, ‘Singing the Blues:’
The winner of the ‘Silver Lining’ group competition, an absolutely gorgeous log cabin kimono (an interesting combo, but I think it worked!)
Another ‘Singing the Blues’ entry. Words fail me on this one… wow.
There was something about this one which I loved.
Another ‘Singing the Blues’ contestant, made from African fabrics, which was lovely.
Apologies for the mammoth post. I could have stayed among all those fantastic quilts all day- already looking forward to next year!