Monday 3 December 2012

Through our hands


Through Our Hands, at Leamington Spa Art Gallery and Museum.

The intention of this exhibition is to move beyond utility and practicality and to champion the modern, artistic side of quilt making; to show what a thriving, if little known, art form it is and to increase the awareness of art quilts and their concerns.

The definition of art quilts and the relationship between art and craft is controversial and has often been the subject of lively debate.

Laura Kemshall, Bird in the Hand  (UK)

By using digital collage and digital print Kemshall was able to work on fabric in much the same way as on paper, combining photographs with graphite drawings. These are printed onto cotton fabrics and machine quilted.

Linda Kemshall, Imagining (UK)

This was digitally printed using drawings from Kemshall's sketchbooks in combination with photographs which she took of her moth collection. The machine quilting is free motion.

Sandra Meech, Silent Voice II (UK)

This is part of a series of works based on endangered woodlands. Meech has used ghostly images with minimal colour to illustrate this, with the red/rust representing dying forests in western Canada affected by the pine beetle - a result of warm winters. Photo imagery, paintings and writings are transferred onto cloth which is pieced and machine quilted.

Dijanne Cevaal, Traveller's Blanket with Circles, (Australia)

Annabel Rainbow, Life 2, Be the Change you Want,  (UK)

'I find people endlessly interesting, and I've chosen to explore this interest through a series of quilts called Life Stories'.

Annabel Rainbow, Life 3 Switching off 

'Our clothes give the world one image of what we are like, by stripping them away, I hope to portray who we really are.'

Annabel Rainbow, Life 4, Hello Dear, What did you do Today?  (UK)

'In this quilt I'm trying to capture what it is to be a woman today; how we balance our expectations that others have for us: motherhood, caring for our families, domesticity, as well as a career and academic success.

Even though the image on the quilt is designed to stand alone, painting and fabric can only go so far. By stitching text onto the body, I add another layer of meaning, developing an intellectual response to enhance the visual emotional one and fulfilling the technical need to stitch the three layers of the quilt together. The words on this quilt are a blistering response to its title.'

Eszter Bornemisza, City in the Aire  (Hungary)

'In my practice I try to work the unique characteristics of textile while striving to find ways to make my own statements. My starting points are ideas that reflect our relationships with traces and settlements of past cultures: the layers of existence. In recent years my interest turned towards large scale transparent textiles while keeping my sources of inspiration in patterns of urban living. Lately I have tried to expand the multi-layered networks of the cities into the form of three dimensional objects and installations'.


  1. Annabel Rainbow's work is astonishing. The details of the text machined onto the detail shot is just remarkable. My sewing machine never performed like that!

    1. Isn't it just!

      The books on the shelves in 'hello dear...' are also very interesting: reading the titles on the spines of the books gives one an idea of her reading tastes and I must say, they are very similar to mine.

    2. Thank you for your lovely review :)

      The books were also designed to amuse. For example, you have Dantes Inferno next to Electrical DIY for women, Breast Feeding manuals next to the Store Cupboard Cookbook, Much ado about nothing, is next to two books which only have parts of the titles visible...No...and, Sex. It goes on!!

      I have a basic level machine - nothing more! The throat is a little small it's true, but I have patience. All the best, Annabel

    3. Thank you for your comment Annabel and I am pleased that you like the post. I loved your work: not just the technical expertise but also the subject matter and the wit. I would like to see more of it so please do let me know when you are exhibiting next.

    4. Thank you Eirene, I'd be delighted to let you know. Through Our Hands is in the process of becoming a yearly or two yearly exhibition, which will have new work by different artists each time, and hopefully will tour the UK. More details soon.

    5. That sounds like a very good development. I look forward to hearing from you.