Thursday, 1 April 2010

Quilts & Textiles

For all you make do and menders, crafters and textile enthusiasts, have you heard about an exciting exhibition that is on at the V&A at the moment? Quilts: 1700 - 2010 is the V&A's first ever exhibition of British made quilts!

Rajah Quilt, Made by convicts on board HMS Rajah, 1841, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra

With an innovative approach to the display there will be 65 quilts on show from the V&A's extensive collection as well as special loans from around the country and abroad.

Right to Life, by Grayson Perry, 1998.

Coverlet (detail), Ann West, U.K. 1820.

Modern quilts from Grayson Perry and Tracy Emin as well as specially commissioned pieces from Sue Stockwell and Caren Garfen will remind us how relevant quilts and craft in general is today.

It looks to be a very beautiful and informative exhibition that will give you some great inspiration for your own projects as well as being a lovely way to spend the Easter weekend! The exhibition runs until the 4th July 2010.

For even more inspiration after your visit to the V&A, head to Duncan Clarke of Adire African Textiles at Alfies. Duncan sources exceptional museum quality pieces that map the vintage textile traditions of sub-Saharan Africa.

Asafo Flag from Adire African Textiles

Two items that always catch my eye from Adire African Textiles are the Asafo flags and the Ewe Cloths.

Asfato flags, also known as 'frankaa' are made and used by the Fante people of coastal Ghana. The men's 'military' companies parade these flags on festive occasions and the imagery used on these colourful flags represents the wealth and power of the company as well as challenging their rivals, usually through traditional proverbs. Older flags can be identified by their 'battle scars' from the length of time hung outside in all weathers and parades. Flags with no marks or damage are quite often copies made for tourists!

Asafo Flag from Adire African Textiles

Ewe Kente cloths are absolutely stunning with each cloth showing exceptional skill of both craftmanship from the Ewe weavers of Ghana and in the extensive range of the styles created. No wonder they are the most highly prized pieces of African textiles by collectors worldwide! The colours and patterns are simply incredible! These were traditionally commissioned by a man or woman as cloth to wear but now could be treasured as a wall hanging, bedspread, or simply just brought out now and again to admire!

Examples of Ewe Cloths (above and below)

Adire African Textiles have a great website and blog where you can learn in depth about these fantastic and historical pieces and traditions.

All photos from the
Quilts: 1700 - 2010 exhibition were taken from the V&A Website.

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