New Pauline Burbidge Acquisition for The Quilters' Guild Collection

Published: Thursday, 19th September 2019 16:38 PM

New Pauline Burbidge Acquisition for The Quilters' Guild Collection

The Quilters' Guild are thrilled to have been donated a large Pauline Burbidge piece, entitled Fish Out to Water, (1991) - donated by the artist herself in honour of The Quilters' Guild's 40th Anniversary this year. Pauline’s career as a quilter has also spanned the last four decades, and as an artist making a living from her work it’s important that her pieces are purchased by museums, galleries and private collectors to support that work. However, Pauline has chosen to make one, very special exception, and has donated this piece to us to celebrate our 40th year! This piece joins another key work of hers in our Collection, Honesty Skyline, which was made in 2015, and provides our collection with a large piece of her work representing her style and practice in the 1990s. As a founder member of The Quilters’ Guild, she has been with us from the start, and we are so thrilled to have this piece and hugely appreciate the significance of her donation.

Fish Out of Water (226cm x 195cm) was made in 1991, when the artist was working on free-form shapes in contrast to hard-edge geometric forms. Inspired by the boldness of Matisse’s paper cut-outs, the artist made paper collages which then translated into fabric collages, using fabric glue to paste down shapes before stitching. The images for the piece came from a still life study of striped fabric, a coffee jug and a fish shaped pencil box. The artist made many studies of the same image, which made a type of repeat pattern, but each block is an individual study. The work was quilted on an industrial quilting machine owned by a Nottingham company called Harveys, which was hired in their quiet period of production. Several quilt tops were prepared and stitched together in one length, and fed into the quilting machine treating them as one long length of cloth.

Pauline explained the reason for her donation, by saying "In recent years I have been impressed with the small curated exhibitions organised by the Quilters’ Guild, and like to see these shows on display in first grade Museums and Galleries (something I have always strived for, throughout my own career). The more that textiles and quilts (old and new) are shown in first rate exhibition spaces, the better it is to raise awareness and profile of contemporary makers. I would very much like to encourage this to happen more.

Many Museums in the UK and USA have purchased my work. I have never given or donated a major work to a museum collection before, and am not wishing to set a precedent. I aim to make my living from this profession and to support my colleagues who are trying to do the same. But today I am making an exception and would like to donate this quilt ‘Fish out of Water’ to the Quilters’ Guild of the British Isles, for their collection, to help celebrate their 40th year!"

Honesty Skyline by Pauline BurbidgeHonesty Skyline by Pauline Burbidge