My visit to the windy and rainy Kent countryside today ended up at Danson House and the ‘Things we do in bed’ exhibition of traditional and contemporary quilts, curated by writer Tracey Chevalier.
The quilts were displayed in the five bedrooms of this rather grand 18th century house, reflecting the many different reasons we go to bed: Birth, Sleep, Sex, Illness and Death
Gallery of my favourite pictures from the exhibition below
The exhibition was small but very powerfully laid out, and as we discussed in Karen’s workshop a few weeks ago – very carefully curated to give a very clear narrative. I found the exhibition reminded me of why I started making quilts in the first place – the power of personal memories and hidden stories you weave into the making; plus the history of centuries of tradition in making such an intimate, personal object which is there to give comfort, warmth and security.
The most powerful piece for me was the pair of quilts by Michele Walker, which were made to reflect her grief for the loss of her mother – the first just after her death, and the second quilt 10 years later. You can tangibly see the change in her emotions through the textiles. This expression of feeling is what I have been aiming to achieve since I started art quilting and journalling. I don’t want to lose this feeling in my own work now I am on the MA course, and I need to make sure I can embed this into any material I choose to work with. I came out wanting to jump on the sewing machine. Perhaps I should take this as a sign that I ought to explore the edges of what I make, and be careful not to lose sight of what has made my work good so far. I have started doing this with stitch, but perhaps I should repeat the exercise with fabric as my next mini-project.
Still feeling like I am on a roller-coaster and not sure what to think about what’s going on – there seems to be so many options hovering about and I can see how easy it will be to spiral into a thousand alleyways to explore. You really are on your own journey – for all of the seminar discussions and sharing etc, no-one can tell you what to do, what to think, or where to go next. Exciting, challenging, a bit scary? I hope this is just how I am expected to be feeling at this point in term 1.