Thursday, 27 July 2017

My life with the Quilters Guild 1


The summer edition of The Quilter has several articles in it which chime with my experience of the Guild. (QGBI)  As my quilting days draw to an end because of increasing age and my disabilities, I have decided it is time I wrote something about my involvement with the Guild and with The Festival of Quilts.

The magazine has an article about the future of the AGM and Conference in which one reason for changing the format is given as the increasing age of volunteers.  Apparently it is now about seventy, having originally been nearer forty.   This does not surprise me as I have always been the median age i.e. the one with the most members, ever since I joined in 1989.  We were living in a village near Wallingford in Oxfordshire.  Wallingford had a very good patchwork shop, Village Fabrics, and I used to go there on Saturday afternoons to look at fabrics and books.   I never belonged to a quilting group when I lived there as I was working in adult education and worked a huge number of evenings.  However, I do remember that before we moved away one of the local adult education organisers said he would start something up.  I did not stay around long enough to find out what happened.

When I joined the Guild, I did not really know how it functioned.  I certainly never attended any meetings but I always remember that the first thing I went to was the quilt show at Ascot where I volunteered to help out on the Guild stand.  Although I can remember the drive there and standing at the stand, I honestly cannot remember anything else about the day!  I think most of my contact was through reading ‘The Quilter’.   At one point I joined the Oxford branch of the Embroiderers' Guild but soon after that we left the area.

What I do remember about quilting when I lived in Oxfordshire is that one year there was an excellent exhibition in Oxford Town Hall.  I think it may have been by the Quilt Art group.  I certainly remember there was a quilt by Susan Denton and I know I stuck my head above the parapet and told one of the other visitors off for touching the quilts!  I can also remember dragging my husband all the way to Bath to a Guild exhibition in which all the quilts had to incorporate a particular range of fabric.  I now know this was the Skopos Challenge and that the fabric was furniture fabric with a nasty smell.  The day we drove all the way to Bath was extremely wet and I think this was the first and last time my husband ever willingly attended a quilt exhibition although I do remember him coming to one or two other events in later years. Fortunately I was used to driving quite long distances so I could do all these things on my own.  

I am afraid I have no illustrations for this post.  The main reason for this is that in 1999 we had a very serious house fire in which I lost all my quilting materials, most of the things I had made and most of my photographs although I do have box of photos some of which seem to be very old. I have just looked through it but none of them are relevant to this topic.  They have given me an idea for another post, though,

I plan to write separately about the Festival of Quilts but first there are probably two more posts about my involvement with the Guild more generally.