Earlier this month, I was in Ipswich for The Quilters’ Guild Conference and AGM, where I had the chance to hear excellent talks by quilters, illustrated by their beautiful quilts. What a range of skills were on display! I will briefly mention some of the speakers I heard and enjoyed. At the end of the post are links for you to find out more about each of them.
Sara Impey (pictured above) produces fascinating quilts covered with meticulously placed letters, all of which are machine-stitched individually. Her quilts carry powerful messages about big topics, including, for example, dementia, Brexit, political speech and much more. Sometimes the words are partially obscured and at times the viewer needs to work hard to understand the meaning – as seen for example in the piece below, in which the words weave above and below the surface.
Helen Howes (pictured above) showed us a wide variety of her quilts as part of an examination in her talk of what makes a Modern (with a capital M) quilt. She emphasised, rightly, that she is a Textile Artist, using her skills in a modern (small m) way. Thus, some of the quilts we saw did fit the criteria for Modern Quilts, such as use of modern prints, simple quilting lines, negative space and some, she suggested, possibly didn’t! The debate about ‘Modern Quilts’ continues… Below is one of her lovely tree-themed quilts.
Helen Butcher (pictured above) also contributed to the debate about Modern Quilts, by showing some of her own, including the green piece above and the interesting illusion-creating quilt below. Helen has a Graphics background and revels in creating these complex shapes. Interestingly, she wondered aloud if this quilt IS a Modern quilt!
Lynne Edwards gave an entertaining talk about her life in quilting, beginning with her first quilts, made in the 1970s, including a wonderful, large table-cloth that she still uses. She shared lots of her quilts including the pretty cot quilt above which has an original quilting pattern, designed by her, and the large quilt below, pieced in her favourite, muted, colour palette.
Moira Neal’s talk was about enjoying lockdown! She shared with the audience, the many creative activities she undertook during the three lockdowns and showed us the large graffiti quilt above (made together with graffiti artist Kilo and entered into the Festival of Quilts 2021 in the two-person quilt category). Also on display was the quilt below, made from several ‘disposable’ hotel table-cloths (now seen as black dresses), as a protest against using paper products just once and then throwing them away.
Mary’s talk expanded on the many ways in which she alters cloth for her quilts, including, for example, dyeing, using discharge paste, re-dyeing, printing, painting and manipulation. These effects can be seen in the quilts hanging behind her in the photo above. She is interested in texture and form – as seen in the dramatic semi-opaque jacket displayed on the screen and modelled by Mary herself.
Each speaker had so much to share that was interesting, informative and attractive and each was generous in sharing her art with those at the conference. It was an excellent event.
Sara Impey http://www.saraimpey.com/
Helen Howes https://helenhowestextiles.co.uk/
Helen Butcher https://littlepatchpockets.co.uk/
Lynne Edwards https://www.gathered.how/author/lynneedwards/
Mary McIntosh http://www.marymcintosh.co.uk/