Another batch of Laura Ashley mini quilts

Laura Ashley mini quilts - group photo
Laura Ashley mini quilts - group photo

This project is coming to an end.  I made the last batch of ‘blanks’ for it on Saturday afternoon, and they took a surprising new direction which was good.  So there will be a few more like these and then two very different groups.  I am accompanying my husband to a conference this week and so there will be time to do some sewing while he is hobnobbing and I am in the hotel room, and these are very portable and easy to stitch.

This batch are in the ‘classic’ bracket.  If you have read my previous post on these quilts you will have seen my umming and ahhing about whether to do anything else with number 7, the plain red one.  Well, I cracked and did this with it:

Laura Ashley mini quilt 7
Laura Ashley mini quilt 7

I stitched a ‘collectible’ teaspoon onto it.  The spoon has ‘Mayflower’ on it, which must surely be a reference to the Pilgrim Fathers. I rather like this as a narrative element in the piece.  There has to be a story behind it.  I got the spoon from The Beetroot Tree in Derbyshire – already mentioned on this blog (www.thebeetroottree.com/), which is a treasure trove of things to put onto textiles.  I think it works really well and is in scale despite the fact that it is a very large element on a small quilt.  The miniature scales play off each other a bit.

This mini quilt is a direct reference back to the exhibition at the Foundling Museum which was the catalyst for the larger threads of identity pieces:

Laura Ashley mini quilt 8
Laura Ashley mini quilt 8

The Laura Ashley scrap here is a very precious piece of early green print given to me by my friend Becky.  It is down the right hand side.  The ribbon cockade is exactly like the sort found on the forms in the Foundling Museum archive (www.foundlingmuseum.org.uk/).  We went to the Threads of Feeling exhibition earlier in the year and saw the pages from the records of the babies admitted to the hospital in the eighteenth century.  The records sometimes have pieces of cloth attached to them in case the mothers were ever in a position to come and reclaim the babies.

Foundling Museum Record
Foundling Museum Record

Interestingly, the Museum does not make a big thing of this collection on its website.  The above is taken from the Independent website.  This is remarkable because the collection has clearly been so influential on lots of textile artists.  I went to Art in Action last week (with my indefatigable friend Mike) and one textile artist announced her inspiration with a banner as you entered the marquee.  It begins to look as if whereas in the past every self-respecting textile artist had to go through their Klimt phase, now we have to go through our Foundling Museum phase.  I wonder if the Museum has considered having an exhibition of art inspired by their collection.

Anyway, the cockade of ribbon was a feature on several of the pieces in the exhibition.  This one is made with wired ribbon by VV Rouleaux (www.vvrouleaux.com/).  The colours with the slight fade or ombre effect are just right, but the wiring made it quite fiddly to construct as the best effect seems to me to come from gathering ribbon for cockades and rosettes.  Note to self: take wire out next time.  The ribbon itself came from Liberty and was pretty expensive, but I used such a tiny amount to make the cockade that they work out quite cheaply ‘per unit’.

Laura Ashley mini quilt 9
Laura Ashley mini quilt 9

In this one I decided to do a bit more machine quilting and ended up with some angular shapes.  The Laura Ashley sample is at the bottom of the piece under some voile.  In the top right hand corner there is a tiny piece of linen upholstery fabric which has a chinoiserie pattern which always looks antique, although it is very contemporary.  I quite like the bleached out feel of this one.

Laura Ashley mini quilt 10
Laura Ashley mini quilt 10

I very much like this little quilt.  I did the stitching on it while watching the BBC Proms which was all very stirring and elemental – earnest young men on the cello and then Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring.  I used this scrap of silk with an abandoned test stamping with fabric paint which seemed to give an image which looked a bit like the moon.  Again, elemental.  I also liked the way that the edging lace worked out.  I was trying to incorporate it into the main piece but it looked a bit lost, but putting it on the edge really worked well and you can appreciate its delicacy which was lost against the main pieces of fabric which are quite pale.  I also used some beaded cretan stitch on this, which I used to use a lot but haven’t worked with recently, so this was like rediscovering an old friend.

My thinking about these pieces now is that I might mount them in fours in large frames rather than try to mount each one.  But I might still make an album and give them all a substantial amount of white space, which would echo the bound volumes in the Foundling Museum.

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