Through Our Hands, an online platform for contemporary quilts, art and craft, has just published the second issue of their magazine with beautiful illustrations of artists’ work. The editorial team includes Annabel Rainbow, Laura Kemshall and Linda Kemshall.
My blog post about the arrival of their first magazine back in May will tell you more about the project’s background and contains a link to the first issue.
I have been invited to contribute a regular column and my latest article is about quilts in Tate Britain’s Folk Art exhibition on pages 51-56.
Through Our Hands is an online platform developed by Annabel Rainbow and Laura Kemshall promoting contemporary artists and makers, specialising in quilts. One of their aims is to help quilting gain a wider and refreshed recognition in the wider world. The project’s beginnings coincided with an exhibition on quilts, featuring Annabel’s work, at Leamington Spa Museum and Art Gallery in 2012, which I reviewed for The University of Warwick Student newspaper.
They have just launched their new, online quarterly magazine featuring artists’ work, interviews with makers, tips on quilting techniques and exhibition features. I was very pleased that Annabel asked me to contribute to the magazine with a piece on the Matisse exhibition in London.
Published in The University of Warwick student newspaper, The Boar, in November 2012
The relationship between art and crafts is constantly debated and revised within the creative world. Leamington’s latest art exhibition at the Pump Rooms engages with this by presenting a great variety of quilts in terms of shape, size, subject matter, medium and stitching techniques in order to focus on the aesthetic, but also the political, nature of quilting and craftsmanship. This directs the viewer to approach the quilts as pieces of art, rather than functional items coming from an archaic crafting history. However, the craftsmanship and obvious crafting skill that goes into making one of these beautiful quilts is not ignored, as the exhibition includes a film on how quilts and patchwork pieces are made alongside displays of quilting fabric samples that visitors are encouraged to touch.
This exhibition, entitled Through Our Hands, includes work from ten top international quilt artists and teachers, which makes for a vibrant collection of techniques and modern subjects, and undermines traditional prejudices about quilting being a fussy, old fashioned, and predominantly functional craft. Though I feel they still play around with the ‘woman question’ attached to the creation and use of crafts – for a start, all the artists are female, and their work depicts mostly domestic or ‘familiar’ scenes. This however is not a criticism, because although the exhibition can be seen to (re)define quilting as a form of female expression, this focus on the domestic and the feminine ultimately serves to present everyday details as beautiful, something poets and artists alike have been doing for centuries. In addition, these familiar scenes are often pushed into an almost supernatural sphere, and ‘unpicked’ so as to focus on the potential of quilting for conveying, and experimenting with, shape, colour, form and feeling. Through Our Hands is definitely a successful stand for modernising quilting as an artistic form and process. Continue reading →