Quilting at Tate Britain

Tate Britain, London.JPG

Now before anyone reading this gets over-excited, I need to declare from the beginning that it was me quilting at Tate Britain, rather than Tate Britain exhibiting some quilt art. (I look forward to the day, however!)  For overseas readers I should explain that Tate Britain is one of a group of four art galleries in the UK. This one is in London, at Millbank, Westminster, London SW1P 4RG, right by the river Thames. The others are: Tate Modern (also in London), Tate Liverpool (in the city of Liverpool) and Tate St Ives (at St Ives in Cornwall).

I was in London for a family occasion, and after a wonderful breakfast on the Sunday at the Greenhouse in Deptford (click here for more), we were free for the rest of the day. Our top choice was to see the David Hockney exhibition at Tate Modern.

David Hockney poster, Tate Britain.JPG

Before moving to Durham we lived in Leeds, near the Leeds/Bradford border, just up the road from the marvellous Salt’s Mill (click here for more) where Hockney’s work is always on display. There I learned to love David Hockney’s work, especially his pencil and coloured pencil drawings.

On arrival at the gallery about eleven-thirty-ish, whilst waiting in the queue to pay for tickets, the timed entry sign was switched from 3.30 to 5pm.  Our train back to Durham was 6.27pm and in addition, it was the day of the London marathon and we were unsure how much this would affect public transport.  Still, we really wanted to see the exhibition.

So it was, during the waiting period, that I found myself seated outside Tate Britain on a bench situated just behind the hedge in the photo at the top of the post. I happened to have a quilt with me. When you have six hours of train journey within a 24 hour period and the binding of a big quilt to complete, it seems entirely reasonable to pack it in a bag and take it with you on a flying visit to London. Carrying it in London is another matter, but sewing a quilt binding outdoors in these circumstances was enjoyable. The day was sunny, there were children playing ‘Grandmother’s footsteps’ on the grass and the many visitors going to and from the gallery passed by in front of us. At a certain point we moved indoors to the Djangoly cafe inside the gallery, where I continued to stitch.

Quilting at Tate Britain.JPG

Then suddenly, one of those nice quilting moments happened when another visitor to the gallery stopped and said ‘Oh, so you’re a quilter too!’ and I met Brigitte from who is a quilt-maker, long-arm quilter and teacher.

When the magic hour arrived, the exhibition itself was wonderful, and worth the wait and even worth the shortness of our forty-minute visit. The vibrancy of the colours is breathtaking, and the recent ipad drawings (which are seen appearing stroke by stroke) are mesmerising. You can see some of the pictures from the exhibition, plus other works by Hockney, by clicking hereThe very first picture shown is of a sewing machine!

David Hockney, 'Woman with a Sewing Machine' 1954

Woman with a Sewing Machine 1954 by David Hockney, Tate   (c) David Hockney

And speaking of sewing machines, it was good to see a photo of my friend Lydia at her sewing machine (below right) in a Sunday Times ‘Style’ magazine feature entitled ‘A Handmade Tale’.

Lydia Higginson feature in the Sunday Times 'Style' magazine.JPG

You can find Lydia at http://www.mademywardrobe.com and in these posts on my blog, click here and here.

I am just about to send out a calendar sheet for May to any reader of this blog who would like one. The A4 page, which includes a pretty design from my textile design collection will come to you as a PDF for you to print out. All you need to do is to fill in the contact form below and I will send you the May calendar page and you will also receive one for each of the remaining months of this year.

One thought on “Quilting at Tate Britain

  1. felicity higginson says:

    Thanks for the lovely story of you quilting at the Tate and promoting Lydia’s article! love Felicity

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