Saturday, 5 June 2010

Quilty Goodness

On Friday I finally made it to the V&A Quilt Exhibition 1700 to 2010 I was totally wowed by the beauty and detail of the earliest works which looked surprisingly modern in their fabric print and applique character stitched details. I very much loved the many varied almost comic animals they were delightful, but maybe amused me a little more than they should. The enormity of time spent on all these works is quite overwhelming and very inspiring all for different reasons.

A particular piece of work that has stayed with me is that done by the Fine Cell Work project and HMP Wandsworth Prisoners, the quilt was really beautiful, graphic and shows a great level of stitch work and some really innovative designs. I was really impressed with what can be achieved through rehabilitation. 80% of the projects stitchers are male with no previous experience, and there is a part in the video below where a male prisoner talks of how he sews now when he feel angry, and they use the time to sew and think and disappear somewhere else. Hand stitching is fantastic for that and main reason why I am so totally hooked i like to sew and think, it takes a certain kind of contemplative concentration, perfect for rehabilitation of any sort.

finecellwork video from Fine Cell Work on Vimeo.

On my return the exhibition got me thinking about a miniature quilt that I started making last year for the quilt festival, but things got in the way of me finishing it on time so I've dug it out again. The competition idea was that it was supposed to be about A4 in size I think but when photographed appear to look like a real sized quilt, me loving all things tiny thought it was a great idea to try. I selected specific prints, like tiny eye-boggling gingham to work with the scale and decided on a traditional stripe quilt broken with quilted blocks of floral print. The gingham is still to be to be fully embroidered with lyrics that a friend Sarah Taylor-Morris wrote 'Longest Day' with the center panels reading 'music is my sanctuary, music is my blanket' a quote from a song called Blanket by Urban Species. Still lots to do on this but it's back on the to do pile think it would make a great cushion now its not destined to be a tiny perfect quilt... although I am still tempted.


  1. i've just started reading your blog after seeing your work on folksy (it's lovely). I loved the finecell work video, I had never heard of them before, what a fantastic idea. Thanks for sharing it

    Kate x

  2. Thanks Kate, the quilt was quite special to see and I was quite humbled at the skill that had been learned through rehabilitation. It made it all the more beautiful.


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