This month’s speaker at Bristol Quilters was Katharine Guerrier, who is a really well-known British quilter who has been extraordinarily influential on many quilters through her books and workshops. Her website is http://www.katharineguerrier.com/. She came and gave us her talk on small, medium and large quilts and brought a great number of pieces with her. I love the fact that she works almost exclusively with patterned fabric, and, when asked if she ever used hand-dyed cloth said that she would rather spend the time sewing rather than dyeing. I know how she feels. I am happy to pay other people to dye fabric rather than do it myself. I don’t want the mess and the faff, although I really love the effect. It is also great to see someone who clearly delights in pattern and piles it into her quilts.
She is also the doyenne of the scrap quilt, which is another form dear to the hearts of people who love fabric. I loved her little quilts which she calls pinboard quilts. These are made so that people can pin them up to admire lovely fabric on their pinboards, and also so that quilters can try out ideas. The little quilts are quick to make so trying something out isn’t a great investment either in time or money.
I was also struck by the back of her quilts which often contain leftover blocks from other projects stitched with large blocks of fabric. She said that she thought the backs were sometimes really successful as quilts because she was thinking less about them and so they were freer and more spontaneous. They did look a bit like the celebrated Gee’s Bend quilts and had a real liveliness
Katharine Guerrier is clearly a well-loved figure in quilting in the UK. There was a stifled cheer when she got up to speak and a stampede to have a closer look at her work. I really like contemporary work and art quilts, but it was a delight to spend an evening with Katharine Guerrier and her wonderful jewel-coloured, saturated palette and her beautifully made work.