Following the enthusiastic media reports on last year’s exhibition of Kaffe Fassett’s quilts, this year sees a quite different display at the Welsh Quilt Centre in Lampeter. Its 2014 exhibition - “Early to Bed” celebrates Folk Art and “Make-do and Mend” in the work of the rural quilters of 19th century Wales. Those Welsh quilters still have the power to inspire textile artists in our own day. This exhibition brings the connection up to date by juxtaposing these early Welsh quilts with the work of textile artist Janet Bolton. It is designed by Gwenllian Ashley and opens at the Welsh Quilt Centre, Lampeter, West Wales, on Friday March 7th through Saturday November 1st.
The exhibition at the Welsh Quilt Centre
Starting with a thrifty culture of “mend and make-do”, the quilters of rural Wales unselfconsciously produced brilliant pieces of Folk Art. Using their innate and untrained artistry they would assemble pieces of fabric, often recycled, into lively compositions that could be balanced or quirky, classical or primitive. They might incorporate ancient symbols and images, or everyday items from their lives, chapel, house, animals or people they knew and over all this they quilted ancient patterns; echos from much earlier cultures.
As an art form, Folk Art has long been highly prized overseas especially in the United States while here, in the UK, it was long regarded as ephemeral decoration and only recently achieving some recognition as art. In common with many other forms of Folk Art, early Welsh quilt-making has that unselfconscious blend of utility and creativity that has the ability to touch the modern soul in a very direct way, most obviously manifested in the work of many contemporary artists. The popular textile artist, Janet Bolton, is foremost among these; her work full of unexpected synergy that includes images simply drawn with a delightful charm and innocence.
As a thought-provoking counterpoint to the main exhibition, the influential contemporary quilter, teacher and author, Sandie Lush, will be exhibiting her superb, precise, intricate and humorous, “Sweater Quilts” in the Welsh Quilt Centre’s No 2 Gallery.
This year, the Welsh Quilt Centre is offering a complete, lively and thought-provoking package of exhibits drawn from the best of Welsh traditional quilters and the most talented of modern textile artists. The coming season at the Welsh Quilt Centre promises to surpass last year’s delights.