This year our annual seminar was held in the excellent lecture facilities at The Edge, Bath University. We also had the use of an additional large room which was a lovely display area for the poster presentations which were on show over the weekend ‘West Stow Coverlet’ by Hilary Workman and ‘BQSG Signature Quilt Group’ by Maxine March, Janet Crossley, Brigid Ockelton and Anne Jeater. We were also able to look at the Quilters’ Guild Travelling Trunk Collection ‘Textile Treasures' as well as visit the book sales table.
The study sessions held on Friday at the Fashion Museum Bath gave us a chance to study in great detail items from their collection including finely quilted petticoats and jackets from the 1800’s. Elaine Uttley, the Collections Assistant, had set out two or three pieces on each of two tables and wearing white gloves, we were able to handle them and really examine their construction and the fabrics used. After twenty minutes or so Elaine and her assistant brought out a further selection for us to see. Some of us also had a chance to look round the museum and see the interesting exhibition ‘Behind the Scenes’ where clothing and other items from the time of Jane Austen through to World War One were displayed against a backdrop of the stored collection piled high in their boxes. A very enjoyable time was had by us all.
The papers presented at the seminar were varied and diverse both in their time-span and items studied.
Saturday began with a very interesting presentation from Dorothy Osler and her team looking into the cluster of quilters in Spennymoor region of County Durham in the 1930’s. Joan Foster, Anne Jeater, Kathryn Kersey, Julia Shay,Val Shields and Rosemary Tonks each worked from home to undertake the genealogical research into various quilters of the area with very interesting findings.
Kathy Haslam then gave an interesting talk on the cot quilt ‘The Homestead and the Forest’ which was designed by May Morris and embroidered by Jane Morris and had recently been acquired by the Society of Antiquaries of London for Kelmscott Manor, the former Cotswolds retreat of William Morris.
After we had all enjoyed a delicious lunch, Lucie Heins the Assistant Curator at the Royal Alberta Museum, Canada brought us right up to date with her study ‘Documenting Twenty-First Century Quilters: Capturing Quilting Trends Today for Tomorrow’. This was followed by Lynn Setterington and Alison Slater’s paper ‘Stories of Collaborative Making: Two Rochdale Quilts’ which focused on two signature quilts, one made in the late 19th century and the other in the 21st century.
Ron Simpson was the next speaker and he treated us to an informal session with his quilt collection on a table on the stage for us all to gather round. He had brought along a large number of quilts for us to see from small doll quilts to the large Welsh wool quilt with a cow in the middle! We then had a very interesting show and tell session and left the lecture room at around 6.00! A long but very informative and enjoyable day.
Sunday began with Hazel Conway’s paper entitled ‘Queen’s Pictures: the life and work of the artist, Elizabeth Allen’. Elizabeth Allen (Queen) had her work widely exhibited in the 1960’s but is now largely unknown and this paper brought her intriguing work back into focus.
Margaret and Aidan Nichol gave a wonderful insight into the life of ‘Joe the Quilter’ who was murdered for his supposed wealth from quilting. They had undertaken the making of a replica of one of Joe’s quilts for Beamish Museum, which involved tracing a pattern from the original quilt and then hundreds of hours of handquilting – mostly done by Aidan.
The final talk was by David March who explained his digital research into a WW1 signature coverlet possibly made by the Canadian Red Cross as a fundraiser.
Another superb seminar covering a wide range of topics – many thanks to everyone who was involved in any way in making the weekend so enjoyable.