I love to browse the magazine shelves in the supermarket and there is no shortage of craft-based ones on display. The range of patchwork and quilting titles reflects the growing number of devotees over the past few years and also the appeal of ‘modern’ quilting design.
Today’s Quilter was new to me and I indulged myself with Issue No 1 to be enjoyed with a cup of tea when I got home. I was initially attracted by the absence on the cover of the common lexicon of ‘quick and easy, speedy’ etc and the presence of names of well-established experts and practicioners such as Lynne Edwards, Susan Briscoe, Linda Clements and the Lintotts. It presents itself as being “the first magazine to take a completely fresh look at the world of traditional quilting”and the approach is bright and contemporary but firmly based on traditional skills.
I thoroughly enjoyed the mix of articles and projects, some that would definitely extend my skills. There were excellent illustrated instructions for tackling a set-in seam and a couple of tempting projects that used it. The eye-candy factor wasn’t missing either!
The magazine also offered what seemed to be a clear and comprehensive calendar of shows and events and useful reviews of products and fabrics.
As an additional treat there was a separate magazine celebrating Kaffe Fassett’s fifty years in textiles; a stunning colour-burst of his creativity which tempted me to consider using some of his exuberant fabrics – not usually my style but they are so full of life.
And then, on the last page, an article on the maker of the ‘Best in Show’ quilt at this year’s Festival of Quilts – and she is local to me, based near Colchester. Congratulations, Janette Chilver, the quilt is stunning.
Altogether a satisfying read with plenty to come back to again and again. I will be looking out for Issue No 2.
Over the past couple of months I have had days on end when rest was needed. I decided to occupy myself gently by delving into my set of the Embroiderers’ Guild magazines.
This has been a rare treat as I moved backwards through articles by and about embroiderers still inspiring me; debates on the the letters pages on still-hot topics – what constitutes embroidery? art or craft? traditional hand stitching versus machine? How can we preserve the skill base?
I had forgotten how fascinating and helpful are the first-person accounts of work being inspired and developed through to resolved pieces. Many of the makers write so thoughtfully about their whole creative process and I often find this more valuable than critiques by others of exhibited work, as the authentic voice comes through.
The cavalcade of pieces reveals the gradually changing work of long-established artists – Jan Maries, Jan Beaney, Audrey Walker, Paddy Killer, Kate Wells, Eirian Short; any inclusive list would be too long! It is proving a real exploration of where I started, what led me onwards, why I love embroidery so much. I come across those I was students with and marvel at their later work; a telling personal account by a friend of teaching C&G design in adult education sparked memories of my own time as a student and teacher of C&G.
I don’t want to infringe any copyright so I haven’t included any pictures of articles – but if you want a visual treat, read through your own or try and get hold of some past issues. And what do you think of the content of the recent issues?
Personal profiles are fascinating. When Anthea Godfrey became Chair of the Guild in 1990 Constance Howard let us know that at one time she was the Director of a dance company that became Hot Gossip. Who knew?
What next after City & Guilds? A question I have spent some time pondering over recent weeks – with no definitive answer yet!
Book by Linda Seward
I have been immersing myself in the quiet occupation of reading around textile arts, books, blogs, websites. I sit at my desk and with just a few clicks my local library retrieves books for me from all over the county (and beyond). Linda Seward’s Ultimate Guide to Art Quilting was one such and I was so impressed I now have my own copy to dip into.
There is just so much information on techniques for construction and surface decoration, interspersed with pictures of stunning quilts from well over a hundred artists. Her explanations are clear, simple and step-by-step with excellent line drawings by Thomas Messenger – there is even a spread of exercises for quilt makers.
Certainly one answer to ‘What’s next?’ could be to work my way through the hundreds of pages and tempting techniques. That could keep me occupied for years. Or I could delve into the very useful listing of all the quilt artists, which includes their email and website address, and spend the wet autumn days browsing the web…..