Hello again everyone,
This week has not been the best. I’ve had a lot of deadlines, it’s pouring with rain so I haven’t been outside in days and I’ve been feeling a little bit sorry for myself. But a little ray of sunshine dropped through the door this afternoon in the form of the Quilt Guild Regional Newsletter, Cobwebs. Not only was it welcome because I like to read about the exploits of other quilters in our region but I was also delighted to discover that it contained an article by yours truly about the exhibition that we held in February. I truly do love to write and perhaps in another life might have considered it as a career so it really was lovely to see my article, accompanied by all the lovely photos of quilts, in print!
Some of my friends aren’t members of the Quilt Guild so I thought that I would also include the article in tonight’s blog post. Happy reading!
It started with a hexagon….
There is something particularly soothing about English paper-piecing. You don’t need much, just a little bit of fabric, some paper, scissors, thread and a needle. Perhaps that’s why, in these stressful times, more and more of us are drawn to it.
For Christine Anderson, who set up the Patchwork group at the Canalside Heritage Centre in Beeston, it is a bit of a passion. And it is a passion that she has shared with a small number of enthusiastic crafters every Monday morning since March 2019. The fact that the group has been held at a centre with a particularly good café famous for its homemade cake is really just a bonus.
So, one Monday morning in Autumn last year we were enjoying our cake and discussing group projects – of which there have been several, including making two sets of cushions for the café and a children’s playmat – and someone (we’re not actually certain who now but we have our suspicions) suggested that it might be a nice idea to celebrate our first year as a patchwork group by holding an exhibition. We may have been hyped up on sugar but we all seemed to think that it was a marvellous idea. “Right”, said Christine, “leave it with me and I’ll investigate the options”.
The exhibition dates were set for early February in 2020, a time when we thought that the Heritage Centre would be quiet and would therefore benefit from the extra custom. As none of us had ever put on any sort of exhibition before I think that it’s fair to say that we weren’t really sure where to start. “Don’t worry” cried April (one of the group’s members) with ill-disguised glee, “I’ll write a list”. Which she dutifully did that same morning before sending it across to Christine and the other members of the group for discussion. (I do love a good list!!!!)
It turns out that there is a fair amount of work involved in setting up a patchwork exhibition, even a small one, and we developed a new-found respect for organisers of shows such as the Festival of Quilts! Once you’ve set the date you then need to think about marketing materials, advertising on various social-media channels, the logistics of displaying the various items and what equipment you might need, rotas for staffing the exhibition and of course you need to think about what you would like to display! February seemed so far away when we were having our initial discussions but, of course, the time passed far quicker than we thought and the last few weeks and days were spent frantically sewing, quilting and dealing with last-minute logistics. We even had our own bespoke quilt-frame, made by the long-suffering husband of super-quilter Gill!
Despite our worries it all came together beautifully, as we hope that you can see from the photos. We had over 350 visitors who left us some absolutely lovely comments in the guest book:
‘A wonderful exhibition, testament to the talent in your group. Love the information attached to them – helps understanding the pattern and its history. Well done!’
‘Wonderful, inspirational – going home to dig out some fabric!’
‘Thanks for the sense of calm.’
Those of us who staffed the exhibition spent the days chatting with quilters and non-quilters alike (as well as drinking tea and eating more delicious cake) and we even managed a little bit of sewing! It was so lovely to have the opportunity to share our knowledge of our craft and I think that we may have even inspired some to try EPP!
So, would we do it again? Well, we have agreed that it might be a bit too much to put together another exhibition next year but that we will consider it the following year. Watch this space!!
Bye for now 🙂