Heart and Hand, Linda and Laura Kemshall at the Cynon Valley Museum


Although I don’t normally like to post personal stuff on this blog, I thought I would share with you how the long-suffering historian and I spent today, our 25th wedding anniversary.  Because he is long-suffering, he agreed to go with me in the driving rain to a gallery in Aberdare, which is right up in the Welsh Valleys, about as far as you can go before you hit the Brecon Beacon mountains.  I wanted to see a show at the Cynon Valley Museum, which apparently makes a point of showing quilts, and art quilts in particular.  So, this was a fantastic show by Linda and Laura Kemshall, who have long been two of my favourite quilters and very influential on me.

The show was on two floors and I think had their newer work on the ground floor.  I love the old work, but the new, which is in really fiery, earthy colours, is just stunning.  When I was there there were lots of people from the local community wandering in and having a good time, and it was good to see them having a look at the quilts while I was poring over them and making detailed sketches.

Heart and Hand, meet the artist
Heart and Hand, meet the artist


The photo here is from the Kemshalls’ website which shows how popular their meet the artist session must have been.  The reason that I knew about it and went is that I spoke to Linda Kemshall at the end of a very long day at the Festival of Quilts when she must have been exhausted and utterly fed up with being pleasant to people.  But she was charm itself and she gave me a very glossy catalogue for the show and we started talking a bit.  I am sure that she wouldn’t remember me, but I did a workshop with her ages ago and still use a lot of the ideas from that day like sewing on edging beads using blanket stitch – which gives a really neat and sparkly finish to a piece

Blanket stitch and bead edging on Body Shop Quilt
Blanket stitch and bead edging on Body Shop Quilt


quilting with seed stitch:



and stitching into the binding, painting over stitching, stitching into foiled fabric, and rubbing markal or shiva paintsticks over machine quilting.  Lots of really good ideas, and beautifully explained and photographed in their book, The Painted Quilt.

The other thing I am grateful to Linda Kemshall for is putting me onto a Vogue great dress pattern.  Here’s her version of a it for a wearable art show:



It’s the one on the right with the embroidered sleeves.  I haven’t made a dress for years, but liked the pattern so much that I had to make one, and I had spotted some fabulous 70s looking fabric at the Festival of Quilts on the dress fabric stand right at the back.  Here it is:



I think you have to be dead not to love this fabric: very fine cotton jersey with some spandex or lycra in it.  Swine to cut out because it kept moving, but with a walking foot and a ball-point needle it wasn’t too bad to sew.  I love the end result.  It’s Vogue V6859


The fabric was a bargain, but I have a good half metre leftover and no real idea what to do with it, but I do have a lovely frock, so am very satisfied.

The Kemshalls’ exhibition is on until 10 September and is well worth going to.  Their website is: www.lindakemshall.com.  I am fully intending to sign up for their on-line classes.

2 thoughts on “Heart and Hand, Linda and Laura Kemshall at the Cynon Valley Museum

  1. I don’t want to impinge on Ann’s fabulous blog, largely because I can talk to her face to face most days, but for the sake of historical accuracy I’m not long-suffering: it’s been 25 years of absolute delight (mostly)….

  2. and a more delightful pair you would be hard put to find…

    Congratulations, and here’s to your celebrating many more anniversaries at the back end of Welsh valleys

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