Writer’s Block

I’ve been a bit out of sorts recently – the Muse has packed her bags, tossed her head and matched out of the building without so much as a backward glance. I couldn’t think of anything to put on paper. I tentatively suggested that Claire might like to write a guest column, hovering around her desk in an encouraging manner but to no avail. To be fair she was in the middle of dealing with about 50 enquriies on the one hand and trying to write her paper for the conference on the other. Fearful she might emulate the Muse and make a hasty bid for freedom, I crept back into the office and stared mournfully at the screen. So in a rather pathetic effort to get back into Clare’s good books I thought I would try and answer some of the more general questions currently being forwarded to ‘Team Quilts’.

As much as we would love to extend Quilts 1700-2010 unfortunately our public programme is dependent on strict scheduling. The V&A mounts two major exhibitions a year – one in the Spring and one in the Autumn. Each exhibition is planned several years in advance, and each exhibition schedule has to include time for building the design, couriering, condition checking and installing each object. When the exhibition closes the reverse takes place. When Quilts 1700-2010 closes its doors for the last time on 4 July, we will be working to a tight schedule to ensure that the gallerys are ready to be handed over to the contractors working on ‘Diaghliev and the Golden Age of the Ballet Russe, 1909 – 1929 which opens on 25 September.

We have received lots of enquiries about Tracy Chevalier’s story about the maker of the George III coverlet which featured in the Spring 2010 edition of the V&A magazine. You can subscribe to the magazine on-line at http://www.cultureshockmedia.co.uk/shop/index.html and listen to an interview with Tracy on the V&A Channel http://www.vam.ac.uk/channel/people/personalities/tracy_chevalier_quilts/

For anyone who is interested in the history of needlemaking I thoroughly recommend the Forge Mill Needle Museum in Redditch. Claire and I visited the Museum on several occasions with a view to including some of the finest examples of exquisite needlecases in the exhibition. We liked the idea of playing with scale – the enormous quilts and patchwork coverlets which may have taken years to complete juxtaposed with the precious tools women kept and treasured in their workboxes. If you can make a trip before 4 July you will be able to see a solo exhibition by Janice Gunner ‘In Continuum’, see . See http://www.forgemill.org.uk/exhibits.htm. Redditch isn’t terribly far from Birmingham so you could combine a trip with a vist to the Festival of Quilts at the NEC which this year runs from 19-22 August and includes ‘A Slice of Quilt Art’ – see http://www.twistedthread.com/pages/exhibitions/viewExhibition.aspx?id=25…

If you are not completed ‘quilted out’ I suggest a visit to Bankfield Museum, Halifax where Quilt Art at 25 will run from 17 July – 29 August (http://www.quiltart.org.uk/quiltartvenues.html and http://www.calderdale.gov.uk/leisure/museums-galleries/museums/exhibitio…)

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