Friday, April 30, 2010

Quilts 1700 - 2010

Quilts 1700 - 2010, at the V&A explores over 300 years of British quilting. A stunning array of both traditional and contemporary quilts has been sympathetically displayed to showcase not only the exquisite workmanship involved but also the, often political, messages engendered within the work. For me the highlight was Diana Harrison's Box quilts (see next posting)
Winter/Male (detail, left) and Summer/Female by Jo Budd are a response to the changing seasons in the Suffolk water meadows and surrounding landscape. The tall vertical forms of Winter/Male echo the more solid, blocky, elements of the landscape; trees, farmhouses and field boundaries. The darker, more earthy colours of this piece also speak of man's connection to the soil. By contrast Summer/Female is altogether softer in appearance, with curved forms and paler colours alluding to the gentler climate of summer days and rounded form of the female body. I may be a little cynical here but I am somehow not surprised that it is the Male version that has been purchased by the V&A.
I was disappointed by the size of the screen on which Nicola Nasmith's Between Counting was displayed. Having seen, and heard, this on a much larger screen I felt that this exceptional piece was rather lost in a corner. The work centers on her exploration of the connection between the industrial and the hand made - it is the industrially made needle that enables the highly skilled hand piecing and quilting to be carried out.

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