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Monthly Archives: March 2014

Holding It Together 1 and by Judy Stephens

Holding it Together 1 by Judy Stephens

Holding it Together 1 by Judy Stephens

Holding it Together 2 by Judy Stephens

Holding it Together 2 by Judy Stephens

To say that these quilts have been a struggle is an understatement.  My mother used to say “My head is splitting” when she had a headache. These split heads are all about the various headaches in my life.

Our theme of Connection brought to mind WB Yeats’s line: “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold.”

I am interested in the use of text and also the conundrum of spontaneity, often illusory, in the slow medium of quilting.  The head, or what is going on inside it, has been an image which I have used for some years in my quilts.  I spent my working life as a newspaper journalist and I have an on-going fascination with graphic imagery and narrative.  Telling my own story through fabric is important to me.

I would like to thank my friends in this group for being so kind and patient with me.

Faced and fused applique; hand and machine stitch; free machine quilting. Commercial cottons; hand printed and dyed cottons; digital print on fabric; cotton thread; linen thread; wadding.

This quilt is part of the Connection touring exhibition by Cwilt Cymru.

Connection A to M and N to Z by Jennie Durkin

Connection A to M by Jennie Durkin

Connection A to M by Jennie Durkin

Connection N to Z by Jennie Durkin

Connection N to Z by Jennie Durkin

Influenced by the clear-cut and precise graphic style which had developed by the late 20th Century, I designed a Diptych to illustrate the connection of letters throughout the alphabet.

As a design the sequence from A to M and N to Z is obvious, but in reality the connection of the letters represents an order which is fundamental to many processes in our lives; from simple indexes, directories and dictionaries to the arrangement of books in libraries and the key to locations on Ordnance Survey maps.

This fundamental order is found today on mobile phones and tablet keypads which   take the order of the ABC, replacing the familiar QWERTY keys on the typewriters from the last century

The techniques I have used include curved piecing to create the quilt top, a form of trapunto appliqué and modified contour quilting.

This quilt is part of the Connection touring exhibition by Cwilt Cymru.

 My Mother Made Spitfires by Sandra Wyman

My Mother Made Spitfires by Sandra Wyman

My Mother Made Spitfires by Sandra Wyman

The first in a series of pieces exploring my mother’s life and my relationship with her, this quilt explores the years of her life before she married, when she was one of the many women drafted into the factories during World War II.  She worked at Vickers Armstrong at Castle Bromwich, operating a capstan lathe, making parts for spitfires.

It must have been hard and unpleasant work, with long hours and the constant awareness that the factory would be a target for bombs.  However, there were many things she enjoyed during this time – films, fashions, dancing and of course the heady taste of freedom.

I have collaged this mixture of experiences through images relating to both the work and other aspects of her wartime years.  The poster is used with the permission of the Imperial War Museum.  The photograph at bottom right is of my mother.  The words printed on fabric describe her wartime experiences – but they are obscured by being chopped up, unclear and incomplete as history, including family history, often is.

Other images have been drawn using contemporary photographs as inspiration and manipulated on the computer.

I hand-dyed the fabrics in mixtures of orange and purple.  Some images and all the words were digitally printed onto hand-dyed fabric, others were printed onto silk organza which was then layered over hand-dyed fabric.

Other techniques include piecing, machine applique, free machine drawing and machine quilting.

This quilt is part of the Connection touring exhibition by Cwilt Cymru.

Scarcity by Millie Thomas

Scarcity by Millie Thomas

Scarcity by Millie Thomas

Environmental issues are much talked about by scientists and the recent flooding is an indication of the destruction it can do.

However, in the parts of the world where there is little water or during prolonged heat waves, drought can be just as devastating to human, animal and plant life. And is likely to be the future pattern of life on our planet.

This pice of work reflects how our river beds and streams look in areas of drought in our country.

Paper, dye and stitch.

This quilt is part of the Connection touring exhibition by Cwilt Cymru currently showing at Forge Mill Needle Museum in Redditch.

‘We Stand Surrounded by the Work of Thieves’

by Dorothy Russell

We Stand Surrounded by Thieves by Dorothy Russell
We Stand Surrounded by Thieves by Dorothy Russell

I was naïve enough to be horrified by the greed and corruption exposed during the financial ‘crash’ within the banking sector: it was not even contained within one country, but was world-wide and its repercussions echo through our lives today and will for a very long time. What makes it worse is that although massive sections of society have suffered because of the banking crisis, the people at the centre seem to be undisturbed as though at the ‘eye of the storm’, still wealthy, still greedy and still in control.

Greed and corruption, of course, are not only evident in one sector of society: the expenses scandal among our Members of Parliament was shocking and further undermined faith in the quality of our ‘leaders’.

Greed, bribery and corruption, like the poor, it would seem, are always with us. It feels as though the relationship between greed and the societal imbalance of massive wealth/poverty are directly related.

Stung by these thoughts and feeling impotent in the face of them, I set about responding through my work. I felt a need to mark and communicate my distress at the system and its major failings which are founded in greed and theft.

The work is blue and understated, hiding its serpentine message in intertwining words which are subtle and need to be searched for in the same way that the manoeuvrings of the powerful are disguised and secretive. There are also words which appear in the background machine quilting, though many difficult to decipher or simply not legible.

Falling through the image are appliqué silver discs suggestive of coins. There are flashes of red in the painted/printed background and around the lettering. Red can be used to symbolise danger or threat.

The border is foundation pieced but with no apparent pattern or regimentation and separating it from the centre is a confusion of couched threads, distracting the eye from the message within.

Although this piece of work has not ‘changed the world’, it has offered some little satisfaction to me in knowing that I have made a statement and expressed my frustration.

Cotton fabric with used with small amounts of metallic net, cotton, silk and metallic threads. The wholecloth centre was painted, stencilled, printed, appliquéd, couched and machine quilted. The border was pieced, machine quilted and couched.

This quilt is part of the Connection touring exhibition by Cwilt Cymru currently showing at Forge Mill Needle Museum in Redditch.

Red Ripples  and Red Remnants by Margaret Ramsay

Many of my textile artworks use sections of old, over-loved quilts, too worn now for functional use. As I bring new life to them with layers of paint and additional stitch, I wonder about who stitched on them previously  and used them in their lives, feeling a connection to cloth and to the past.

My walk to work takes me along the river Thames.  It’s different every day and changes in the tide and traffic remind me how waterways form a connection through time and space – the Museum of London holds items found in the area dating back centuries.  On the towpath after high tide I found a treasure of my own:  a piece of wood, perhaps from a boat, weathered and with peeling paint.

A ragged antique Irish red and cream strippy coverlet with a hand woven twill backing, hand quilted  with chevrons , has provided the  material for a series of four quilts based on the colours and textures of that weathered stick and the patterns of water on the Thames. ‘Red Ripples and Red Remnants form the last two in the series, almost every scrap has now been used.

Red Ripples by Margaret Ramsay

Red Ripples by Margaret Ramsay

Red Ripples  24 x 48 “

Torn masking tape strips were laid on a section of antique red and cream quilt, acting as a stencil and layers of acrylic paint (Winsor and Newton and Liquitex Heavy Body) applied with brush and palette knife. Machine quilted with 5mm twin needle using red and blue varicoloured threads (YLI and Superior King Tut).

Red Remnants by Margaret Ramsay

Red Remnants by Margaret Ramsay

 Red Remnants  24 x 48”

Referencing the lock gates where the Grand Union Canal joins the Thames, inspired by and assembled from the offcuts and trimmings of 3 quilts made from antique red and cream quilt including very worn sections.  Scraps sown together with machine zig zag  and decorative and structural hand stitched darning with red crochet cotton. Additional acrylic paint applied in some areas to unify.

This quilt is part of the Connection touring exhibition by Cwilt Cymru currently showing at Forge Mill Needle Museum in Redditch.

www.magsramsay.co.uk   http://magsramsay.blogspot.com

Processional Way by Judith Barker

Processional Way by Judith Barker

Processional Way by Judith Barker

This quilt continues a series of work about prehistoric landscapes, with burial barrows and routes to sacred places. Stonehenge and Avebury in Wiltshire are linked by a long path known as the processional way.  It may have been used for formal processions with hundreds of people, or for pilgrimages and journeys with small groups – we can never know, so we have room to imagine.

I visited the wonderful ancient Irish sites in 2013 and used images carved into their massive stones as the starting point for my design in this quilt, but interpreted the design – probably a sundial – to reflect the journeys made for festivals and ceremonies across a landscape rich with traces of an even older past.

Hand-dyed cotton from Heide Stoll-Weber; machine quilting; hand embroidery; fabric paint.

This quilt is part of the Connection touring exhibition by Cwilt Cymru currently showing at Forge Mill Needle Museum in Redditch.