Amy Emms: North Country Quilter

  • Amy Emms

Amy Emms played a key role in our quilting history by keeping the quilting traditions of the north East of England alive. She practised and taught Durham, or North Country, quilting, the techniques of which had been handed down through generations of female relatives.

She was taught to sew and quilt by her mother, who made quilts to sell to supplement the family’s income; by the age of seven she threaded the needles for her mother and at 14 was adding her stitches to the quilts. During World War II she aided in the country’s efforts by leading fundraisers and community activities. This work led naturally to forming quilting groups and to teaching her art form. In 1984, Amy Emms was awarded an M.B.E. for her outstanding contribution to the craft of quilting.

Her legendary status and reputation led to many commissions, and her love of quilting and teaching spread the once dying craft to a wide and appreciative audience, keeping it alive for future generations to practice and enjoy.

“We are thrilled to be showing the work of two such diverse talents in our quilting history. Visitors to the Museum will be able to see samples of Amy Emms’ exquisite hand quilting juxtaposed with Pauline’s evocative landscapes. It really is a wonderful opportunity to see such fine examples of traditional and contemporary quiltmaking under one roof”, said Fiona Diaper, Museum Director.