3 May 2010

Quilt of Quilts





So... you're probably sick of me going on about the V&A this week but just two more things to tell you about and then I'll shut up, promise. Above are some of the public entries into the Quilt of Quilts microsite, developed to coincide with the Quilts 1700 - 2010 exhibition. Aren't they a delight?

I took my mum to the exhibition yesterday for her birthday outing (it's not a bowling ball present, honest!). The early quilts, some dating back as far as 1690, looked very modern, in colours such as teal, mustard and coral (or maybe they were faded primary colours?). In those days quilts were considered indicators of wealth. One of the 19th century ones had a window on the back through which you could clearly see that the templates used for the patches were recycled shopping lists and receipts. The exhibits were interrupted with the occasional modern piece by artists including Grayson Perry and Tracey Emin - conceptual works rather than functional or decorative objects. One of the most startling quilts was made recently by men in Wandsworth Prison, who found they enjoyed the meditative and calming effect of stitching, and, as one of them put it, the quilt demonstrated to his mum that he "hadn't completely wasted time in prison". 

When I emptied my bag this morning I realised I'd picked up an extra exhibition guide by mistake. Rather than stick it in the recycling, if any of you would like it, let me know and I'll put it in the post.

I can't really see any of these draped over my bed (I like the calming effect of taupe ticking stripes and grey flannel check on my sheets), but the idea of patchwork appeals to me (mmm... pretty colours...), so I might try to make a bag like Jessica's. Or maybe a patchwork skirt... or is that going a bit overboard?! Have any of you made any patchwork clothing?

While at the V&A, we also went to the Grace Kelly: Style Icon exhibition. The first outfit you see as you come in is a dress made from a McCalls home sewing pattern! The story was that Grace was dressing for a photo shoot with Prince Rainier when there was a power cut in the hotel, meaning that her outfit of choice couldn't be ironed. So she picked up a floral "easy to sew" number that she had in her room having modelled it for a 1955 pattern book. The rest of the exhibition featured some to-die-for shirtwaist dresses, a few dodgy 70s chiffon numbers, and, my favourite of all, a load of glasses! Yes, old Grace was one of us, a speccy four eyes. Hurrah!

The only glaring omission in my mind was the amazing dress she wore when she made her dreamlike entrance in Rear Window: 



  1. I went to a quilts exhibition today!! Glad you went to the Grace Kelly thing too, I loved it!
    From Carys of La Ville Inconnue

  2. Wow! I can't believe some of those are quilts! I love the dress Grace Kelly is wearing in that clip!!!

  3. Yes yes yes! One of my favorite movie dresses of all time. That definitely should have been in the exhibit.

  4. Oh I saw the most beautiful quilt the other day at the thrift store! I was sooo tempted to buy it but my grandmother's are taking up all the space I have in my coat closet :)



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