Thursday, January 17, 2019

Welsh Quilt Museum

The view from our hike.
This past November, my husband and I (Kara) had the opportunity to visit the spectacular country of Wales. This was to be our relaxing treat after such a crazy past year of visitors and travel. We chose the location based on its proximity to Snowdonia National Park—renowned for its beauty—and it did not disappoint. The scenery was spectacular and the hikes through various areas of the park were diverse in landscape and beauty. While hiking through the hills was one of our main goals, seeing some of the towns and castles was another. We decided to visit Caernarfon Castle on our way back to our rental. Any fans of The Crown out there? We couldn't see the castle because they were filming Season 3!

Beefeaters being prepped for the shot
Filming in action

While the scenery and the filming were wonderful, getting to see all the quilts at the Welsh Quilt Museum, just days before it closed for good, was the absolute highlight for me! I knew that the museum would be closing in November, but I thought I would give them a call to see if I would be able to get in. As fortune would have it, the exhibit would be closed the following Saturday, but if I wanted to visit in the next two days, they would be open. My husband and I drove down to Lampeter and were able to visit with the lovely Jen Jones, owner and curator of the museum. 

A few show catalogs and Jen's book, Welsh Quilts
Jen showed us around the museum and shared some of her vast knowledge of Welsh quilts. Her efforts through the years to save this disappearing art form has resulted in a collection of over 350 pieces. While not all of her collection was on display, this exhibit was a summary of past exhibits and showed a variety of amazing Welsh quilts. I could go into more detail about the history of these quilted beauties, but it would be better to just show them, and let you read more about the history in Jen's book Welsh Quilts. As you look at all the quilts, take notice of the incredible hand-quilting on each and every one of these quilts.

The view as we walked in

Tree of Life quilt from an Indian, hand-painted, fabric panel.
Quilted in 1810 and exhibited at the 1851, London Great Exhibition.

The colors are still so vibrant and the stitching is exquisite!

Floral Patchwork, 1920

Blue and Yellow Star quilt,  1920
and Blue Spotty Strippy quilt, 1890

Quilts from the very first exhibit in 2009

Military/Tailors Quilt, pre-1938
The maker of this quilt is still a mystery!

Interesting blocks!

Such bold colors!

From the 2014 exhibit titled, Early to Bed.

This exhibit celebrated Folk Art and "Make Do and Mend"

So many pieces and so much quilting!

A creative example of using what you had

Victorian Patchwork

What a unique center!

From the 2018 exhibit, Nos Da-Goodnight

Prince of Wales Feathers, 1890


Red and White Strippy

This quilt won an award in 1901, and I can see why.

Central Star Quilt, 1895, on top made by Sarah Lewis.
The quilt on the bottom was used for 25 years to protect
the mattress from the boxsprings, circa 1870.

2010 exhibit highlighting the history of paisley in Welsh quilts

Shawls that would have been used in the quilts.

The beauty of the quilting is so evident in this one.

Quilting close-up.

One of my absolute favorites!

Golden Yellow Quilt
Made by Anna Davies, born in 1895

Hand-quilted, satin cotton with lambswool batting

It was a challenge to get good pictures of the amazing whole-cloth quilts.
This one is stunning!

A typical Welsh quilting motif

Another close-up

Welsh quilting frame

It was a wonderful experience seeing such a collection of what could have been a lost art. Jen has spent the last 45 years not just rescuing these quilts, but learning about their history and genealogy. She has found them through many different channels and saved a few of them from a practical existence of keeping a cow warm.

This is a card for purchase in the shop that I couldn't pass up.

If it weren't for Jen's tireless efforts to save such a valuable quilt heritage, this incredible art form would have been lost. While the museum is now closed, this quilt collection will be soon be traveling around the world to various locations.  I will leave you with a few words from the introduction of Jen's book that give you a glimpse into her passion for this art form:

Those quilts that have survived (sadly many have not) come into our own times as living emissaries of another age. They evoke the dexterity, imagination, and creativeness of people who somehow managed to produce such remarkable visual art from such humble and limited resources. What began for me as a salvage operation has evolved into a way of life.

Jen Jones
Welsh Quilts

Thank you, Jen!

Thursday, January 10, 2019

It's All About Appliqué!

Well, one last visit to the incredible quilt exhibit at the International Quilt Festival in Houston, 2018—and I (Teri) am happy to say that the focus is on appliqué quilts. It appears as though appliqué is alive and well within the quilting universe! While I have rarely met a quilt I didn't like, there is something special about studying the spectacular detail  in an appliquéd piece. The intricacies of the art are a joy to behold, and the bodies of work in these exhibits were no exception. Such work involves great dedication and time, not to mention talent. I am in awe of the work these artists put into these exquisite quilts. Enjoy!

In the American Tradition, Appliquéd




Quilts: A World of Beauty, Appliqué category


Not only was the variety of techniques used in these quilts impressive, but I was thrilled to see so many Baltimore Album style quilts. As we replicate the work of our past stitching sisters, we stay connected to them and forge ahead to learn new needle skills. Appliqué is an art that can continually push the limits; the old is not gone, but it is made new—with plenty of room for brand new ideas and skills. It's all about the appliqué!