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Part 21. More from Wales

Part 21 - More from Wales

I am going back to Wales for the two books in this review, one of which is about Welsh quilts and the second is the work of a Welsh (by domicile) lady. Both are written in two languages, the first in French/English, the second, English/Welsh. This does have the advantage of increasing our textile vocabulary without needing a specialist dictionary. My earlier review appeared in Culcita 15 (Spring 2006) 

The first book is Les Quilts Gallois: Welsh Quilts by Jen Jones. I have already included her Welsh Quilts (1997) in Culcita 4 (Autumn 2000) but this book is an expensive glossy hardback, a far cry from that slim paperback. Les Quilts Gallois starts with brief Acknowledgements, a Contents page and a Dedication and then moves onto a three-page Introduction and an eight page History. These pages have French text in the right-hand column; English in italics on the left. There are abundant full page colour photographs of quilts and these are captioned in coloured French text with the English in black underneath - a font I found difficult to read. All quilt captions include measurements and slightly “chatty” details. But they are beautifully photographed and many have enlarged details; forty-four quilts are shown and as many again as details and artistic shots. Though Making a Quilt comprises twenty-eight pages, only four of these contain text, the others are photographs; also, the writing is rather bland, no deep insights or research. The next chapter is a single page on Method - equating to a paragraph saying “quilts in Wales were made on a frame”, with illustration. Things pick up with the fifty-four page chapter Types of Quilt, subdivided into The Woollen Quilt, (fourteen illustrated), Cotton (four), Red Paisley (two), Red and White (one), Strippy (three), Cotton Patchworks (fourteen), Appliqué (three) and Crib Quits (none). The four-page chapter Joining and Finishing has two pages of text, Provenance has barely one. Six pages called Buying a Welsh Quilt follow, and then the five of text in Caring for Quilts are somewhat more useful. There is a one page Conclusion, five pages of Some Pictures of the House and the Cottage Shop (Jen’s own) before the Patterns. This last chapter gives instructions for four quilts in the Welsh tradition; the templates and rudimentary quilting design are given on a separate loose piece of paper that comes with the book. However, throughout the book each chapter has a large square quilting design superimposed on a wholecloth with the title as more inspiration and other designs fill up occasional spaces, including one on the last page Public Collections and Bibliography.

Taken overall, this is a useful addition to the Quilters Library, there isn’t so much written about Welsh Quilts that we can be sniffy. But remember; Jen Jones makes a living from collecting and selling quilts, this is not the work of a quilt historian.

Edrica Huws Patchworks is my second book and an absolute delight. This publication was planned to coincide with the exhibition of her work held at Anglesey in her centenary year (2007). Her work is a breath of fresh air: Edrica took scrapbag bits and made exquisite pictures in the same unique way Lucy Boston used regular patchwork pieces for her innovative designs. The book starts with Contents, in Welsh and English, an enlarged full colour double page spread of Tulips comes next allowing us to see her construction methods and stitches in detail. A Preface follows, then son Daniel Huws edits A Biographical Sketch; six pages of text: two columns, one in English, one in Welsh, with photographs. Four pages in English of Edrica Huws’s own Observations on the medium of patchwork, prepared for a Japanese lecture given in 1989 come before seven pages by Val Shields on Edrica Huws’s place in the history of patchwork, in English/Welsh which thoughtfully place her work in context. These take up the first twenty-five pages of the book, and then follow the sixty four full colour illustrations of Edrica’s patchworks in chronological order; captions include measurements and some details, occasionally the source of her original inspiration. The book ends with a page of Publications.

For those with the Internet, there are several clips on youtube, including a short video made by SC4. Try uk:youtube-com/watch?v=PNAecCVhKI  or just Google Edrica Huws and they will come up. Good fun.

The other two books I recommended in my first Welsh article were the well produced Making Welsh Quilts by Mary Jenkins and Clare Claridge published in 2005 by David and Charles and Welsh Quilting Pattern and Design Handbook by Marjorie Horton, a spiral bound, self published manual; helpful and practical.

And finally, for the members of BQSG who heard Lilian Hedley’s after dinner talk at our Beamish conference, may I remind you that she has published the patterns from Mrs Yellowley’s quilt as A Tribute to Mrs Yellowley, £9.95 from Lilian herself. (Culcita 17, Autumn 2006)

Availability

Jen Jones’s Les Quilts Gallois, Welsh Quilts is published by Quiltmania, (France) in 2005. The ISBN is 2-916182-01-2. Their website is www.quiltmania  and they are offering the book at 39 euros (plus I assume p&p). Jen’s own website www.jen-jones.com  has it at £28 plus p&p. Amazon did offer it £1.99 sourcing but now say it is out of stock. If you buy “unseen” please do check the ISBN number or publication date to be certain you are not getting her earlier paperback (Towey, 1997)

Edrica Huws Patchworks is edited by Daniel Huws and published by Manaman (Aberystwyth) in 2007, ISBN 978-0-9556021-0-8. Amazon says it is out of stock, offer it used at £6.50 upwards, plus p&p. The Embroiders’ Guild also has it at £10 plus p&p, www.embroidersguild.com/bookshop.

© Brigid J.Ockelton. 2009

PLEASE NOTE - An indication is given of the availability and market price of the book at the time of writing and may not reflect today's availability and price.