Monday, 12 September 2011

Holmwood House

On Saturday, after the boys and I had been to art class (the kids made shelters out of cardboard for the clay models they had made the previous week and I spent much of my time being Dr. Gillian carrying out emergency surgery and glueing the models back together!), we went to visit Holmwood House in the southside of Glasgow. R's brother and sister-in-law were here for the weekend and as none of us had been there before it seemed like a nice trip out. I also had an ulterior motive as our Big Draw event this year has a Greek Thomson theme and Holmwood is one of the few Greek Thomson designed buildings you can visit. It was an interesting journey as the sign posting was almost none existent, however it was worth the effort.

Holmwood was built as a home for a paper manufacturer and it was a nice size for a house: not so big as to be unimaginable to live in it, but still lots bigger than homes today. The National Trust for Scotland is carrying out extensive research and conservation on the interior and you could see glimpses of the original decoration and patterning, all designed by Greek Thomson as well as the actual building. Unfortunately, you couldn't take photos of the interior, but these are some shots of the exterior.

The interior decoration featured lots of Greek style motifs and I'm sure we will be able to come up with some interesting ideas for the Big Draw. Personally, I found it all really inspiring and want to think about some of his designs for my own work, when I have time...!

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Cupar Quilters

I had a really pleasant evening out at Cupar Quilters on Wednesday evening.  I was there to talk about my quilting and art career and they were a lovely group.  Even though it was a warm room, I didn't see anyone falling asleep - quite a feat as I know my eyes have a nasty habit of closing during talks, even when I am enjoying them and struggling hard to stay awake!  They were hugely appreciative of my quilts and the little stories that accompany them.  I was hugely appreciative of the group and they seem to be very active, with their exhibition coming up on 19 November and also a series of rainbow quilts which are going to be displayed at next year's Loch Lomond Quilt Show.  I hope the exhibition goes well and I will be looking out for the quilts at Loch Lomond next year.
I love meeting quilt groups and I always come away energised afterwards and intending to try harder to attend a group myself.  Life generally intervenes, along with the lack of baby-sitters, but who knows this time. 

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Quilts Around the World

When I was researching the Irish Chain quilt pattern for an article for Popular Patchwork, I came across this book on google book search.  It was so enticing that I had to buy it.

Quilts Around the World by Spike Gillespie truly covers the world.  It has a long chapter on the States, various European countries, Asia and Africa.  It tells of quilting history of each country and sometimes touches on current practice.  It also has beautiful, enticing photographs and you can see the time that has been spent to create a lovely layout.

Each chapter or section is relatively short - bite-sized chunks of information.  Obviously in a book that touches on so many cultures, you are not going to get huge amounts of detail.  However, this makes it great for dipping into and it has filled in gaps in my knowledge of quilting in other countries. 

Spike has written much of the book herself, but has also used experts from certain countries to complement her own work.  For instance, Roselind Shaw has written a fascinating history of quilting in Northern Ireland. 

Frustratingly, the images do not always match the text.  They are gorgeous, but I would have liked to have seen more of the quilts mentioned in the text.  However, I understand that sometimes she may not have been able to get permission to use certain images.  And being parochial, it would have been good to have a paragraph on quilting in Scotland today, rather than just saying there isn't much quilt history here.  I think even if quilting is not in our blood, there is a very active and exciting quilt scene in Scotland now, with quilters such as Frieda Oxenham and Pat Archibald and grass roots shows springing up like the Loch Lomond one.

Overall , I'm really enjoying reading this book and I'm sure I will be flicking through it for many years to come.  I'd definitely recommend getting hold of a copy if you are interested in quilt history or quilts from other parts of the globe.

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