Jennie Fitzee blogs about life as an elementary school teacher – if you don’t yet know her. Recently she’s run a series of posts about the genesis of two delightful classroom quilts inspired by her children and created by a talented quilter, Milly. Start here and follow the story. You have to be moved, especially when the Governor of Massachusetts bows before her talent.
Anyway, I thought, inspired by reading these I should do my own post on the power and beauty in quilting. These are the epitome of craft skills yet the artistic element – given many quilts have both form and function – is sometimes lost.
I have to admit a bias. The Textiliste – the clue is in the title – is a quilter of skill, imagination and compassion.
Compassion? Yes, indeed. Like so many, like Milly their efforts are to benefit others beyond themselves. During lockdown the Textiliste and her quilt group have not only made quilt covers for prem baby incubators but knitted hot water bottle covers that are supplied to food banks to hand out and scrubs for our local hospital. They work on group pieces that are raffled for charity.
A while ago the Textiliste worked with a charity, Fine Cell that teaches quilting skills to vulnerable, predominantly male prisoners.
She curated a commission from the V&A museum to make a quilt designed and made by the prisoners at Wandsworth prison.
Recently we visited the Museum of The Home in Hoxton, East London. This lovely museum has been refurbished and shows how homes have changed across the centuries. While we were there we saw another commissioned Fine Cell pice, from the inmates at Bullingdon Prison in Oxford that is a life sized bird’s eye view of a standard two man cell. Whatever one thinks of prison the idea of being incarcerated in this small box with one other, regularly for 23 hours a day would do for me.
So I offer three cheers for quilters, and their efforts.
And here are a few of the Textiliste’s creations. My photography does their size scale and quality little justice but may give you a sense of what is involved.