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Part 32. Three Exhibition Catalogues

Three Exhibition Catalogues.

My first publication in this issue is It's All in the Making, patchwork and quilting unpicked, the catalogue of the BQSG exhibition of the same name that has just finished at the Quilt Museum. This exhibition was developed from an original concept by Sue Marks in collaboration with Carolyn Ferguson, Rachel Terry, Maxine March and Rachel Nichols and the beautifully produced catalogue has essays by the first three of these plus Bridget Long and Dorothy Osler: an impressive line-up. The exhibition's central theme: different reasons for making, also showcased some BQSG quilt research and the five chapters expand this. After the Contents page, Heather Audin has written an intelligent Foreword and Dr Sue Marks, a two-page Introduction. The 1718 Silk Patchwork Coverlet: Expanding the boundaries of British quilt research by Bridget Long, brings together all the research on this quilt in five illustrated and annotated pages. Similarly, Dorothy Osler has seven pages on Making a Living, which runsfrom Elizabeth Sanderson to Pauline Burbidge. In Stitched with Feeling, Carolyn Ferguson covers -in seven pages- a wide range from wedding quilts through to the AIDS quilt. Making Use and Making Do, The patchwork of Necessity is Rachel Terry's six page look at economy quilts and Sue Marks ends this part of the book with six pages on The Creative Thread; crazy patchwork through to today's makers. These are little gems bringing together many strands of research and knowledge in lucid articles.

However, this is only half the catalogue, the remainder is the the object catalogue. Here are a photograph and details for each quilt etc. exhibited, plus seven pages of information expanding some exhibits e.g Margaret Nichols on A Club Quilter's Life: Robina Frizzel, nee Learmouth (1882-1956) or Pauline Adams on Lessons Learned from Making the 1718 Replica Quilt. The catalogue ends with a page of Acknowledgements and a further page for Contributors, Picture Credits and Information about BQSG.

This is not only a lovely book to handle, it is also a high-quality exhibition catalogue of the best kind: all the exhibits are there, with details, plus well written essays which put them all in context, adding depth of knowledge and displaying a broad range of research and scholarship. If you saw the exhibition, this will add to your understanding; if you didn't, this book will go a long way to making good your loss. One for every bookshelf.

I should also like to recommend two more exhibition catalogues still available from the Quilt Museum-perhaps you can add them to your order!

Firstly, Sewing in Wartime, Canadian WWII Red Cross Quilts, by Heather Audin, Maxine March, Anna Mansi and Jackie Maxwell, edited by Catherine Candlin. This is the catalogue of the highly successful exhibition featuring quilts from the Canadian Red Cross Quilt Research Group held at the Museum in 2010. It begins with a one-page Sewing in Wartime, another on The Quilters' Guild another telling the Aims of the Research Group-with six photographs of labels followed by a four-page essay on Canadian Red Cross Quilts by Maxine March. Eighteen quilts each have a two-page spread; a full-page photo and a page of background, description and detailed photos. Finally, a one-page Bibliography.

This is really an object catalogue with additional background information, however the excellent photographs make it such a very useful resource, there is so little written about these quilts. Well worth the money.

My last purchase from the Museum shop is The Blossoming of Patchwork, another object catalogue of a 2013 exhibition curated by Bridget Long and Heather Audin. This booklet has a four-page introduction covering The Blossoming of Patchwork, A Taste for Printed Cloth, Printing Techniques on Cottons and Linens, Printed Cottons and Linens and The Fashion for Printed Panels, all brief but intelligent. Then the following nineteen pages each have a large colour photograph of a quilt plus a couple of paragraphs of detail, again succinct but interesting. As many of the quilts are in a private collection this is a unique opportunity for the early quilt enthusiast to have such a record for little more than the price of a cup of coffee.

Though both these two catalogues are lovely to have as reference material, they are no match for the high standard of Its All in the Making, a real treasure.


All these three are available from the Quilt Museum Shop or go to, and look under “catalogues”.

It’s All in the Making costs £12.50

Sewing in Wartime, Canadian Red Cross Quilts costs £10.00

The Blossoming of Patchwork costs £6.95.

© Brigid J.Ockelton. 2013

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.