Staff Favourites - A Selection from The Collection

Published: Wednesday, 20th May 2020 13:26 PM

Staff Favourites - A Selection from The Collection

As curator I’m fortunate to look after such a fantastic collection of textiles. There are so many beautiful pieces that I don’t think I could pick a favourite, but I have asked this impossible task of my colleagues here at The Quilters’ Guild! They were asked to pick a favourite piece and tell me why they liked it - so here is a selection of Staff and Volunteer Favourites from The Collection. Enjoy!

Michaelangelo, Master of Whirling Pizzas

We’re setting the bar high at the start of the week with this wonderful Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle quilt entitled Michaelangelo, Master of the Whirling Pizzas, made by Young Quilter Cherry Tanner in 1991. The Quilt was made for The Quilters’ Guild and Skopos Challenge when Cherry was 14. The fabric they were given reminded Cherry of pizzas, which led to her favourite turtle, Michaelangelo.

It was chosen by Chris, our Membership Officer, because it reminds him of a Christmas show he was a part of back in early 90s. He writes “I was part of the big Christmas show that switched on the Christmas lights in Wakefield. There were musicians, cast members from a well-known Yorkshire soap, musicians and a whole host of entertainment.

I was Donatello (the purple one). Me and Raphael (the red one) were part of the show. I remember the day well. I was told off by a news journalist for wandering off, I dropped through the stage floor - but hey, I made it look like it was all part of the show - and then I danced and switched on the lights with Michela (the one from the TV). And I know of at least one member of the Quilters’ Guild who was in the audience of thousands.


Who knew our Membership Officer was such a celebrity!

40 Layers of Quilting

This striking contemporary quilt was added to our Collection just last year. Made to celebrate our 40th anniversary and commissioned as part of the Forties Collection, 40 Layers of Quilting by Jo Avery is without a doubt a stunning quilt.

It was chosen by Alice, our administrator and the newest member of our team at Quilters’ Guild HQ. She writes: “I love the bright colours and busy design, and the forty layers showcasing different techniques. There is so much detail, it draws you in for a closer look to examine everything that’s going on. The button detail, joining the two sections, is a lovely touch. I find this quilt bright and uplifting”.

We have to agree with Alice, this is a quilt that can’t help but brighten your day!

Pawnbrokers Crazy Patchwork Coverlet

Next is the stunning Pawn Brokers Coverlet, an amazing crazy patchwork piece that demonstrates some very skilled embroidery skills by the maker (who is unfortunately unknown). It was bought from a pawnbrokers shop in the 1920s where it had been pawned by its original maker or owner and never reclaimed.

It has been chosen by Lindsey, our Business Team Support assistant, who writes: "I am drawn to crazy patchwork as a style because I do like the idea of giving scraps of material new life by creating a new object with them. I enjoy looking at all the different materials that have been used and trying to imagine what it might have been used for originally. I also love the amount of embellishment! Less is definitely not more for me. I love all the embroidery and the different types of stitching the maker used".

We have to agree with Lindsey - this is definitely a very impressive piece.

Averil Colby Fabric

This next choice is actually from our fabric collection. It's early 19th century fabric that was used by author, teacher and practitioner Averil Colby in her patchwork in the mid twentieth century. Averil was one of the first people to publish books about the historic of patchwork and quilting as a subject of study worthy of historical examination. Her own signature style was exquisitely fussy cut hexagons, which would be joined and combined to form new overall designs.

This fabric has been chosen by Collections volunteer Brigid Ockleton, who writes her favourite is "the old chintz fabric that belonged to Averil Colby with the fussy cut hexagon spaces. Her book was my first purchase, at the American Museum in Bath on a pre-baby holiday with my late husband so over forty years ago and still a pleasure to re-read. So seeing her actual used fabric is sentimental and strangely moving"

New Look Jacket

This one is a real visitor favourite - our New Look Jacket, made using crazy patchwork which has been elaborately embellished. It was made by Winifred Childs for her daughter, who wore it to a Tennis Club dinner dance in 1948. The design of the jacket follows the post-war 'New Look' style with a beautiful flared peplum to the rear of the jacket. But the pieces for the jacket were made during the Second World War, pieced together with whatever was to hand during times of wartime shortages.

It was chosen by Collections volunteer Pat Wills, who said she loved this piece because it was such amazing work! This one is usually a favourite in exhibitions and group visits too - and looks so fresh that it could easily be worn as a stylish jacket today.

Field Force by Michele Walker

This last piece is a large and striking contemporary quilt, chosen by Carol from our membership team. She writes: "I have chosen this piece from the Guild’s Contemporary Collection. I remember it from the Quilt Museum’s first exhibition in 2008 ‘Quilts through Time’. The Museum opened shortly after I started to work at the Guild. The exhibition featured the oldest dated piece held in the Guild’s collection alongside other historic pieces and pieces from more modern times. Michele’s piece is dated 1996.

It is made from recycled bin bags and is quilted in patterns to represent tyre tracks destroying the natural habitat of the South Downs. This resonated with me as I made a quilt for my son in the early 1990’s which featured fabric with motor vehicles on it and I hand quilted it in rugged tractor tyre shapes. (There was also a piece in the first exhibition which featured motorcycles, so a bit of a transport theme going on!) I like to work in the colours of nature in my own quilting, so the palette of this piece appealed to me too.

Obviously, Field Force is very well cared for as part of the Quilters’ Guild Collection, but it has made me think. It is not unheard of these days to have outdoor exhibitions of quilts, so it made me wonder, what would happen to a quilt made from plastic bags if it was left outside for a period of time? Unfortunately, we do see tattered examples of plastic bags dangling from trees when driving along the highways, which have been ravaged by the elements. Would this happen to Field Force in a similar situation or would the dense quilting help the piece to maintain its integrity. I guess whilst it is in the safe keeping of Heather our Curator, we will never find out!"

40 Layers of Quilting by Jo Avery40 Layers of Quilting by Jo Avery

Pawnbrokers Crazy CoverletPawnbrokers Crazy Coverlet

Averil Colby FabricAveril Colby Fabric

New Look JacketNew Look Jacket

Field Force by Michele WalkerField Force by Michele Walker