BQSG SEMINAR 10-12 October 2014, Chatsworth Hotel, Worthing
The ‘weekend’ began on the Friday with a fascinating look at quilts, coverlets and embroideries belonging to Worthing Museum and Art Gallery for which we are indebted to the Curator, Gerry Connolly, and to Susan Levett who had organised the event. A wonderful selection of items was made available to us.
On the Saturday morning, Sarah Impey opened the Seminar proceedings with her paper ‘On and Off the Wall: A Look Back at Thirty Years of Quilt Art and Art Quilts’, an in depth account from one of its current leading protagonists. Dorothy Osler’s paper brought us further detail and insight into her ongoing and scholarly research: ‘The Rose Diaries: A Window into the World of Britain’s pre-1960 Quilters in North East England and South Wales’.
We were moved to silence following an emotive presentation by Dr. Bernice Archer and Alan Jeffreys: ‘Embroideries Created by Women Interned in the Far East (1942 -1945)’. We heard of the extraordinary strength of spirit maintained by these women in captivity as they secretly stitched a record of their experiences on tray cloths, pillowcases and other spare fabrics (in one instance a bed sheet) which they managed to keep hidden. Many of the embroideries discussed are now housed in the Imperial War Museum, London.
Alison Carter gave us an intriguing illustrated talk about a small piece of mosaic patchwork from 1814 within Hampshire Museums Collection. In doing so, she provided a most constructive template to follow when carrying out research. She described how, from examining the patchwork in detail, subtle clues had led her to information regarding its identity.
There was an excellent session of ‘Show and Tell’: Margaret Nichol, through PowerPoint, enabling us to view two of Beamish’s latest acquisitions; Amanda Davidge bringing a patchwork coverlet thought to date from the 1930s-1950s and describing how effective it was as an aide memoir in her work with those suffering from memory loss, whilst a small hexagonal patchwork piece acquired by Margaret Bauldreay was brought to our attention by Paula Hulme.
The last presentation of the weekend, on the Sunday, outlined the search for the history behind a quilt dated 1847 bought online from Christie’s (South Kensington, London) by Janet O’Dell, who had travelled from Australia to be with us. She gave an entertaining and enlightening account of how she had unravelled the story behind the making of this quilt through intensive study via the internet, as well as of her trip to the north west of England to see for herself where the quilt had originated.
Worthing was memorable not only for its excellent presentations but for its atmosphere. The Chatsworth Hotel looked after us very well and, all members being under the same roof, we were able to continue discussions in the lounge until late in the evenings. An extra treat too, was to partake of the sea air for the occasional bracing walk along the pier - or attempt a walk across the very beautiful, though somewhat pebbly, beach.