Wednesday, 26 May 2010

PSS: Quilts at the V&A

(NB - I am blogging whilst I wait for various batches of cupcakes to bake/cool - I am so the 21st century baker.)

The collage-tastic Kate Slater willingly agreed to accompany me on another cultural enrichment session; last time it was CircusFest at the Roundhouse, this time Quilts 1700-2010 - a somewhat more 'gentle art-form' (the V&A's words, not mine.)

The exhibition is excellent, not surprising as it is proving to be one of the best-selling events at the V&A to date. The range of quilts on display is diverse, ranging from tapestry-like quilts, hundreds of years old, to politically motivated contemporary work by Tracey Emin and Grayson Perry. A particular highlight is a quilt constructed by a group of men from HMS Wandsworth, commissioned by the V&A for the exhibition in conjunction with an amazing organisation called Fine Cell Work. While the cross-section of people attending the exhibition appears to fulfil all the craft clichés (mainly women in their 60s with overly wooly cardigans...), this piece challenged the presumption that craft is a feminine, passive art form.

I found the range of quilts on display incredibly inspiring - while some were composed of abstract patterns and geometric shapes, many were huge mural-like illustrations in themselves. The exhibition notes also took care to elaborate on some of the stories and rumours associated with the quilts and their makers, including the woman who wove her own hair into the quilt as she cursed the lover who had left!

See the post above for more information on contemporary textile artists, or even better go and see the exhibition before it closes on 4 July 2010!

Quilts 1700-2010
V&A South Kensington
20 March - 4 July 2010
Curated by Sue Prichard

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