Yesterday my friend Ann and I decided to have a girl's day out and took a trip to York to visit the Quilt Museum. I have heard some criticisms here and there of the Quilt Museum but Ann and I really enjoyed it. The Museum is housed in the 14th century mediaeval Guildhall which had also seen service as a school in its history.
This plaque which sits in the wall by the entrance to the Quilt Museum commemorates the Blue and Grey Coat School that was once housed in St Anthony's Guildhall.
The main exhibition hall is a very impressive room being upstairs in the building and having beautiful exposed wood beams and rafters on display together with carved bosses. I'm sure I could smell the soot from age-old fires still lingering in the rafters. The Turkey Red exhibition was interesting and a lot of the quilts were antique. I haven't really seen a lot of traditional quilts up close (ther than at Quilt Shows where you can't always stand for very long) so it was fascinating to see all the work that had gone into them. Some of the red fabric had been discharge dyed with very intricate patterns and many of the quilts had been hand sewn. It was interesting too to see the areas of wear on the quilts and wonder at the lives they had led. Maybe the most fascinating were theitems of clothing made from Turkey Red fabric, including a quilted skirt which must have been rather bulky but pleasingly cosy in the days before central heating. There was even talk of quilted knickers! Makes a change from the 'longjohns' that were all the rage when I was at school! (Mid thigh length draws with lacy trim, sorry I can't find an image anywhere).
There is a separate exhibition by The Edge Textile Artists from Scotland and that was a great contrast to the Turkey Red exhibit. The Edge display was in a side gallery that had once been the school dining hall. There was a wide variety of work on display, some of it sparking off ideas for both of us. It was a lovely surprise to see a piece of work by Frances Caple whose blog I have followed for some time. "Allium" is a large quilt with about 30 images of an alium and jug, each one subtly different in colour from its neighbour and embellished with beautiful beads.
Coming out of the exhibition, after a good look round the Museum shop and a little shopping (I was delighted to see a copy of the third issue of Thr3fold by Linda and Laura Kemshall which is out of print so I snapped it up together with some thread) I had time to take a snap of the pleasant looking gardens which must be a lovely place to relax with a cuppa in warmer weather.
We had a nice mooch around a few shops after lunch and then went to York Art Gallery to see the Sashiko exhibition that is on there. That was stunning! There was a mixture of antique pieces and modern interpretations and the original garments had so much life and history in them. Many of them are badly worn through but the resulting textures are exciting. I'm really pleased we went to see the exhibition. You can get an idea if you click here. It would have been even better to have seen all round some of the garments, especially a beautiful modern coat with mixed fibres stitched onto the surface. If you go to the official Sashiko website you can see some images of the exhibits and see where the exhibition will be going next.
The Quilt Museum has regularly changing exhibitions as well as workshops and events and in my opinion is well worth a visit. The staff and volunteer stewards are very friendly and informative and the exhibition space is amazing in itself.