A Closer Look,finished in 2019, seems timely in a year when the first picture of a black hole has just been published and satellites photograph the Earth’s surface in revelatory detail. This theme promised work at least as colourful, varied and quirky as its predecessors. Life would be bland without ‘a closer look’ – at the natural world, at small things writ large, at places familiar and faraway, at geometric shapes in space, even at the very techniques of making marks of cloth. Some artists have been able to steer the group piece close to their original intentions; for others this has proved impossible and the finished quilts have only the starting fabric in common.
Themes for the exhibitions have always evolved from a brainstorming session – sometimes more than one. Thus emerged the idea of Just One Day. 25th June 2015 was selected as the ‘day of inspiration’. And what an eclectic, colourful collection has emerged! Where there was a specific geographic location, the pairs of quilts have strong resonance, as can be seen in those set in America or that based on Lavenham.
A Closer Look at the West Country Quilt and Textile Show with Mary Hewson's own and group quilts
Christine Restall's pages from the A Closer Look catalogue
Grace Meijer's pages from the Just One Day catalogue
Just One Day at Quiltfest February 2019 and Lyn Seaman's own and group quilt
This exhibition, shown in 2016, has proved an exciting challenge, with many different facets of the ‘smoke and mirrors’ theme being explored: from truth, lies and obfuscation in politics or financial affairs, to camouflage in insect life or magic effects in nature, to hidden disease and the horrors of war, to optical illusion or impossible patterns, to masked identities, and even the words ‘smoke and mirrors’ themselves.
Smoke & Mirrors showing at Fashion and Embroidery, at the NEC Birmingham
Penny Bicknell's pages from the Smoke & Mirrors catalogue