Monday, April 15, 2013

Quiltmuseum in York, England

One of the highlights of my trip through the north of England that I had been looking forward to for weeks was the visit to the Quiltmuseumin York.
The Quilter’s Guild of the British Isles has worked hard for many years and put together a collection of heritage and contemporary quilts which they display in magnificent rooms at St. Anthony’s Hall.

The main hall at the Museum of Quilt in York -
picture taken from website of the Quilters' Guild of the British Isles
Exhibitions are changed on a regular basis so it does make a lot of sense to check opening times of the museum when you are planning a visit, as the premises are inaccessible during changeover between exhibitions.
When I was there, three rather different exhibitions were on display. The large hall contained an exhibition called „Town and Country“, which juxtaposes quilts from well-to-do origins with quilts from a more moderate background. It was very interesting to see how they differed in terms of fabric selection and quality, and intricacies of pattern. Quilts from wealthy estates used silk and other at that time expensive fabrics and demonstrated a lot of leisure time for sewing in the intricate patterns, especially the half-inch hexagons usually done with the English paper-piecing method. Quilts from workers or small farmers usually were made to keep warm, had faster to sew patterns and are characterized by a totally different choice of fabrics. Often to just as stunning an effect!
One of the smaller display rooms had „Signatures V“ by zero3 textile artists who have been exhibiting together for a number of years. And the smallest room showed a selection from the “Nineties Collection” that are in the Quilters Guild collection.
Liz Whitehouse, who works for the Guild and the museum told me that frequently people come and say, „Oh, but this is so small!“ Honestly, I don’t understand why they would say that. The premises are wonderful with their high ceiling, documentation is extensive and shows the careful research that has gone into them, and when you sit down and count the number of pieces on display you’ll see that they are not so few as the first look into the hall might suggest. Of course, if you come with the expectation that you are coming to a little Festival of Quilts with several hundred quilts, that must leave you disappointed. But of course that is not what this museum is for.
During the AGM in Nottingham the reports on the museum had been serious. Due to the recession visitor numbers last year were fewer than needed for the upkeep of the museum, and the board has decided to start a benefactor program specifically for the museum. Information on that can be found here. Perhaps there are enough people out there who will join together?
Another way of helping the museum is to become a friend or a full member of the Quilters’ Guild of the British Isles as membership fees are one of the fundamentals for this charity organization to continue with the work they are doinng, including the museum. With the membership you receive the quarterly newsletter “The Quilter”, that keeps you informed about ongoings of the Guild. You also get a reduced entry fee to the museum, and a 10% discount in the museum shop, and that includes online shopping.
And every small donation is welcome as well. I donated part of my earning from teaching for the Guild at the AGM, because I do hope that the museum will be kept open for a long time to come!

No comments:

Post a Comment