Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Online Article about the upcoming V&A Quilts 1700 - 1945 exhibition in Brisbane

The latest Cultural Concept Circle Muse News - Society and Culture Special contains a very interesting article written by Caroline McDowall and  titled 'Quilts - Counterpanes of Comfort and Cultural Significance'. It provides some background information to accompany the 'Quilts 1700 - 1945' exhibition, which will be held in Brisbane starting 15th June 2013 at QAGOMA.

To view this article, go to

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Report on Jennifer Palmer's talk to the QSG of NSW on 4 May 2013

In a most interesting and comprehensive talk on Saturday 4th May 2013, Jennifer Palmer spoke about how we can document our quilts and store them in the best condition. She began by explaining why we should all document our quilts, giving us examples of the theft of quilts here and overseas. Such documentation provides evidence for future owners of an item and its provenance, and also provides a snapshot of its condition.

She gave us each a Textile Documentation Worksheet, and using the example of a quilt in the National Trust collection, Jennifer worked through the different sections, explaining exactly what should be recorded and why. Apart from the obvious sections such as dimensions, image, complete physical description (so if lost or stolen, it could be verified), she told us how important it is to record the history of an item (including ownership, family stories and use information). As Dr Annette Gero showed us later with one of her quilts, research into the fabrics can prove or disprove oral history.

Full description of a quilt is needed (quilt label, pattern, shapes, colour, materials used, style, construction techniques and type of sewing), along with a unique identification number. We often forget to include and update exhibition history (prizes, publications, collaborators, time taken to make, unique fabrics used etc.). We all agreed that for our purchased quilts and quilt tops, the provenance and valuation data should always be captured. Jennifer also pointed out that when describing any research into an item, it is important to document all sources of information, especially online sources such as Trove, so they can revisited for updates.

Later discussions covered the always controversial area of quilt valuation (both initial and subsequent revaluations), along with the storage, care and conservation of our textiles. We picked up valuable tips from Jennifer in all these areas, thanks to her extensive experience with collections. We were also given a list of conservation products and suppliers, along with valuable information about the Australian environment and appropriate pest management techniques.

Sandra Lyons introduces Anne Seddon and her family's hexie quilt top

For show and tell, Sandra Lyons introduced us to Anne Seddon who showed us her wonderful family hexie quilt top (with intact papers), made in the late 1800s. Anne spoke about her family history and stories of the quilt.

Annette Gero also brought her example of a hexie quilt made about the same time by Mary Morehead. She spoke about how important it is to verify the family story of quilts by inspecting fabrics for clues, and by researching family history, such as birth/death/marriage data and newspapers online.

Karen Fail then showed us a more modern quilt made by her friend Larraine Scouler, which she purchased from the family after Larraine’s death. She spoke of the personal attachment she had to this quilt - it featured in her first book, “Quilting Back to Front” - and how this important detail could be lost if she had not documented it.

We finished the day by closely inspecting the quilt tops brought to the event. Here are 3 examples of hexie quilts, all made around the same date.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

QSG of NSW tours of the Caroline Simpson Library and Research Collection in June 2013

10.30am on Wednesday 5th June 2013 and Friday 21st June 2013 – Tour of the Caroline Simpson Library and Research Collection.
The Quilt Study Group of NSW has arranged for two tours of the Historic Houses Trust’s Caroline Simpson Library and Research Collection. It is located in the Mint Building on Macquarie Street and is open to the public from Tuesday to Friday. It contains many items of interest touching on the history of houses, garden design and interior furnishing in New South Wales. 
The librarian will show us paintings, prints, textiles, wallpapers and other large format collection items, and you can stay on to continue your research into your quilts by using their excellent specialist research facilities. See for further details.

Numbers for each tour are strictly limited to 15 people but there are currently some places left on both dates. Please contact the Quilters' Guild of NSW Office (ph: 9283 3737) to secure your place on either of the tours.

Dr Annette Gero talk at the V&A Quilt exhibition in Brisbane on the 20th July 2013.

In conjunction with the ‘Quilts 1700 – 1945’ exhibition of quilts from the Victoria and Albert Museum that will be on show at the Queensland Art Gallery in Brisbane from mid June to late September this year, there will be a series of free talks and workshops.

Dr Annette Gero, FRSA, will give one of the monthly illustrated talks on Saturday the 20th July 2013. In her talk, titled ‘200 Years of the History of Quilts in Australia’, she will examine the fascinating history of quilting in Australia, comparing the extraordinary British quilts brought to Australia during the colonial period with those featured in ‘Quilts 1700 – 1945’.