14 Jul 2010
So i finally made it to the quilts exhibition at the V&A and was not disappointed. On a Monday morning surrounded by the 60+ quilter, walking around the low-lit rooms of the exhibition space, I was struck at the painterly quality of this textiles collage art medium. I have loved a bit of quilting in my time, and have close friends who are contemporary quilters, but never before have I realized just how much of an expressive art this is, as opposed to a craft hobby. . From a decorative art, presents for new babies, and Grayson Perry and Tracy Emin illustrate this with their quilts commenting on American Abortion rates and childhood memories, but the quilts made from the military uniforms of and by injured soldiers during the wars took my breath away; I'm talking about a king-size quilt made from hexagons the size of my thumb-nail! depicting badges of honour and perfectly symmetrical graphics and pattern. Emotional imagery, patriotic recording, gifts for new babies and political comment, some quilts could make you cry and others cry out with humour! The couples courting quilt with the 'Alphabet of Love and Courtship' with intricately detailed embroideries of Admiration, Beauty, Cupid, Doves, Eyes, Friendship, Gorgeousness etc etc.. These sat alongside other contemporary additions from Liberties, Keffe Fasset and a prison made quilt that I have previously blogged about.
I loved this exhibition, and hope that it goes some way to reviving the appreciation and respect that this textiles art deserves. Certainly more accessible to some than painting, and can be done in groups, watching films and even on the beach! With patterns named, 'tumbling blocks', 'grandmothers flower garden', and 'windmill', what's stopping us?