30 April 2010

Quilts at the V&A London

Visiting the Quilt’s exhibition at the V&A was a visual treat, a journey through three centuries of quilting demonstrating its relevance to daily life within each era. While there are many aspects of the exhibition that could be commented upon, for me, the two aspects standing out were ‘detail’ and ‘restoration’ of the relation between body, mind and soul.

The works collectively brought home a real need to pause and pay attention to detail. The volume of detail in each quilt demonstrated fabulous feats of craftsmanship. At times, the collective voice of this detail is overwhelming, but in the main, it acts as a reminder of the age-old approaches to creating pattern and textiles where ‘slow’, ‘intimacy’ and ‘narrative’ were greatly valued.

The exhibition also highlighted the importance of quilting to restoring meaning and purpose within communities and individuals. The work of Wandsworth Prison UK stands out in this instance, where quilting is incorporated into prisoner’s rehabilitation. The human value it has was clearly demonstrated. Here the meditative state that the making process nurtures and the introduction to one’s inherent (and sometimes dormant) creativity were key to rehabilitation. Powerful stuff.

This exhibition offered the focus for April’s Friday Night Late event, ‘Stitched Up’, which is my next stop.

However, before closing on the Quilts exhibition, my last word has to go to Natasha Kerr for her work, personally, was the most inspirational in terms of concept and aesthetic sensitivity. The image featured in this blog entry is ‘At the End of the Day’, hanging, Natasha Kerr, 2007. Museum no. T.43-2008.

If you haven’t yet seen Quilts, it’s on until 4th July, 2010.
Curated by Sue Prichard.

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