maandag 6 maart 2017

New Quilting

In December last year I received the following invitation:

"New Quilting – a gallery exhibition of Quilting today
3 March – 23 April 2017 at the Rheged Centre, Penrith.
Invitation to Exhibit
Dear Marijke Van Welzen,
New Quilting is an exciting upcoming exhibition that aims to capture the current world of quilting. I am writing to you now to invite you to submit some of your quilts to this exhibition. Set within a stunning contemporary gallery space with state of the art lighting and excellent presentation, the exhibition will run over 7 weeks and aims to attract an audience of over 10,000 visitors.The exhibition will be based in the Gallery at the Rheged Centre, Penrith. Rheged is an arts centre and tourism hub in the Northern Lake District in Cumbria. Each year Rheged has over 450,000 visitors, and the Gallery has over 80,000. The Gallery shows five exhibitions per year, including the Cumbrian Artist of the Year exhibition, The Great Print Exhibition, a major family summer exhibition and two other of art and craft shows.New Quilting aims to challenge public perceptions of quilting revealing a strong and vibrant contemporary craft form that is just as likely to be found hanging on a gallery wall or urban loft apartment as it is in a rural farmhouse. It aims to attract a broad audience, encompassing quilting enthusiasts as well as those unfamiliar with this art form. We want to champion excellence in design and technique, as well as originality and creativity within the art form. We are calling the exhibition New Quilting because we want to show a capsule of what is being made today by quilters, and also because we want everyone who comes to the exhibition to see something new that they may not have seen before. There will be 30 to 40 large scale quilts on display on the gallery walls.At the heart of the exhibition lies the idea of storytelling, and how all quilts tell a story. This may be told directly through pictorial elements of the quilt, through the fabrics used to make the quilt, or more broadly as a representation of the achievements and accomplishments of the quilter who has made it – their story as a quilter. "

Rheged Centre, PenrithCumbria, UK
At first I Thought this was not for real ! Did they actually mean me?
But yes it turned out to be a genuine invitation ! I was asked to send three of my coats for this exhibition.

The complete list of artists includes: Abigail Booth, Alicia Merrett, Eileen Blood, Elfriede Grooten, Elizabeth Brimelow, Eszter Bornemisza, Greta Fitchett, Helen Howes, Janet Twinn, Jen Kelson, Joy Salvage, Judith Wilson, Kate Crossley, Kate Dowty, Marijke van Welzen, Marita Lappalainen, Michael Fitchett, Monika Steiner, Ramona Conconi, Sandie Lush, Sandy Chandler, Sara Impey, Susan Briscoe, Trudi Wood, Vera and Ctibor Skoček , Janice Gunner, John Winn, Sheena Norquay, Margery Milnes, Cas Holmes, and Christine Chester.

I must say I'm really chuffed to be in such good company.

So Thursday March 2 was the opening night with a Private View for invited guests.

The entrance of the gallery

The opening night was definitely bustling.
There were several speeches. The exhibition was officially opened by Margie Jenkins, president of the British Quilters' Guild.
A few of the artists were there as well.
I talked to many people and received a lot of compliments for my work.

Kate Crossley, Book at bedtime
I was even interviewed by a lady of BBC Radio Cumbria.

On Friday afternoon I went back to the gallery to take a good look myself.

In the centre of the gallery, in a small exhibition space, there is a special exhibit of four quilts from the Hellbeck Collection, kindly loaned by the Blackett-Ord Family. These quilts were originally collected by Rosemary Blackett-Ord from 1950 onward, and the quilts themselves date from as far back as the 18th Century. In a time when quilting had fallen out of fashion, she found a deep fascination in historical quilts from Cumbria and beyond, and the stories that they told. As quilts once again found popular favour, this collection of quilts became more well known and exhibited numerous times. Several of the quilts are now in the collection of the Bowes Museum.

quilts from the Hellbeck Collection

quilt from the Hellbeck Collection

In a new commission, artist Maddi Nicholson has used quilting as a way of researching and recognising the traditional country sport of Cumberland and Westmorland Wrestling. She has worked with members of the Levens Quilters Guild to create new artworks for the exhibition. Last year, the first ever women’s world championship for Cumberland and Westmorland wrestling was held at Ambleside Sports. In response to this, and to her own childhood memories of attending matches at county fairs, Maddi has produced richly decorative wresting costumes, similar to those traditionally worn by wrestlers for important matches.

work by Maddi Nicholson

work by John Winn

The Gallery has a lovely Gallery shop with small works of all the artists for sale.

More information: