Quilts at the V&A

Despite living in London and being surrounded by posters advertising exhibitions and events that I want to attend, I’m very bad at actually getting around to going places. I did however manage to go and see Quilts: 1700 – 2010 at the V&A before it closed at the beginning of July.

As a beginner quilter with just a single patchwork block under my belt, I was inspired, over-awed and somewhat reassured by the exhibition. If it took 17 years for an eighteenth century master tailor to complete a quilt in just his evenings and weekends, there is hope for me yet. (We won’t talk about my reaction to the beautifully embroidered map of the English counties that had been completed by a nineteenth century 10 year old.)

I preferred the older quilts in the exhibition, those that were produced as quilts rather than as “Art”. I love modern art but apparently not when I go to see a textile exhibition. I think my favourite though was one of the modern ones, “Punctuation” by Sarah Impey. There’s a picture of it in this article or you can view more of Sarah’s work on Quilt Art. Given my blog name, it probably doesn’t come as a surprise that my favourite combined both words and stitches!

At the time of my visit, I resisted the urge to buy anything from the shop but, as you may have guessed from the pictures, that didn’t last. As a treat for myself for passing another actuarial exam (11 down, 4 to go!) I bought a pack of quilting fabric. The fabrics are limited edition prints created for the V&A by Liberty based on details taken from some of the exhibited quilts.

The pack I bought has 36 pieces in 18 patterns and while I have absolutely no idea what I’m going to do with them yet, they’re certainly brightening up my dining table!

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