Monday, 3 May 2010

Books and quilts

I'm beginning to add theatre tickets to some of my book collection, just to ensure that the ephemera has a chance to move to another generation. One day a new reader will find the Ballet Shoes ballet ticket inside my copy. (And one day I will manage to find my own reprint with the original silver wraps). They might also find the V&A Quilts ticket inside Anne of the Island just where Mrs Lynde is compimented on her tulip pattern quilts by the Spofford Avenue millionaire.

It's made me wonder, other than mentions in Lucy Maud Montgomery, are there any other GO novels that do patchwork or sewing?

There are mentions in Gwendoline Courtney who is always good for nesting. I can't find it in any of my Dorita Fairlie Bruces and it seems the type of local craft she would have championed. There's a family quilt in A Traveller in Time, but not much more. Well, if there is, and I hope someone can tell me that there is, so that I can add to my collection.

After a long lead-in and mentions of books, I can say that the V&A Quilt Exhibition this weekend was wonderful. Just wandering along to that part of London on the bus enjoying the cherry blossom and the parks was a treat.

The quilt show at the V&A was interesting and very well set out, with the long history of making art from a craft that relies on 'make do and mend'. It was the final third of the exhibition that wasn't as smooth. They relied too much on the inclusion of headline-grabbing artists (Grayson Perry and Tracey Emin) and they didn't link to the contemporary quilter. The gap between folk art and modern craftsmanship just wasn't bridged. Modern quilting groups thrive in England and that wasn't mentioned. The war relief quilts, the Changi quilt, the Land Girl quilt all gave way to modern artists showing off and conceptualising the quilt. I think it was an opportunity missed not to include the work of the ordinary modern quilter. One who probably does use elements from American sampler quilts or Hawaiian leaves. Actually, if anyone is interested, PBS have made documentary series on quilts and they are fascinating.

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