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Quilts Galore at the Manx Museum 26 November 2007

1968 dressing gown by Mrs Margaret CraineWinter is now rapidly drawing in and with it, Manx National Heritage’s winter exhibition ‘Manx Quilts and Patchwork: Stitching Through the Years’ is nearing its opening date – Saturday 8th December.

The exhibition contains a wide variety of quilts, ranging from a selection of traditional 19th and early 20th century patchwork quilts from the collections of Manx National Heritage through to modern examples produced on the Isle of Man. The contemporary pieces are entries made by local patchworkers and quilters for the Patchwork and Quilting Competition, held in conjunction with the exhibition, with the theme of Stitching Through the Years (The Heritage and Art of Mann).

Yvonne Cresswell, Curator of Social History for Manx National Heritage, said:

The exhibition illustrates the range of different types and styles of quilts that have been produced on the Island in the past and that continue to be made today. It also highlights the variety of reasons that people have had for making patchwork quilts in the past. These might vary from the purely practical, such as how to make a warm cosy bed cover from scraps of fabric left over from dressmaking or a way to recycle old clothes. Patchwork also provided a colourful and decorative object that could brighten up any bedroom and home, whether it was made from the cheapest printed cottons or most expensive dress and furnishing fabrics such as silk and chintz.
An important element of patchwork and quilting that is as significant now as it was in the past, is the opportunity it provides for so many people to be creative and to make something beautiful and unique with little more than a few pieces of fabric and a needle and thread.

The forthcoming exhibition also has an international perspective with work by the South African quilter, Helen Granville, for whom quilting began as a hobby more than 20 years ago, but has now become a full-time passion with her quilts exhibited around the world. Helen Granville’s work is strongly influenced by the fabrics, colours and landscapes of Africa. This is an inspiration that can be seen throughout her work ranging from the most abstract pieces to the more pictorial and political quilts.

African Earth Mother by Helen GranvilleAs part of a programme of events to accompany the exhibition, there will an illustrated public lecture by Helen Granville, at 7.30pm on Wednesday 12th December at the Manx Museum. The talk ‘Pursuing the Passion of Patchwork in Africa’ will be a personal account of how she found quilting (or rather how it found her), the fascinating people she has met through teaching in Zimbabwe, Kenya and South Africa and the stories behind the beautiful quilts that she makes, some of which will be displayed in the exhibition.

In addition, there will also be a patchwork design workshop by Helen Granville entitled ‘How to Design a Patchwork Quilt (and not be frightened by colours)’ held at the Manx Museum on Saturday 8th December from 2pm to 4.30pm. This is one of a programme of workshops and lectures to be held in conjunction with the exhibition and further details and bookings can be made at the Manx Museum.

The exhibition ‘Manx Quilts and Patchwork: Stitching Through the Years’ opens on Saturday 8th December at the Manx Museum and continues to Saturday 29th March 2008. The public lecture, ‘Pursuing the Passion of Patchwork in Africa’, commences at 7.30pm on 12th December in the Manx Museum’s lecture theatre, with a Special Christmas shopping event being held on the same evening in the Manx Museum’s Heritage Shop from 5.30pm to 7.30pm.

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