Dulwich Quilters by Ann Rutherford
This November it will be time for Dulwich Quilters biennial exhibition. The group has been active for nearly a quarter of a century and goes from strength to strength. We currently have 25 members which is the maximum we can manage as our twice monthly meetings are held in peoples’ homes. As well as sharing ideas amongst ourselves we have workshops with visiting tutors and interesting speakers to stimulate creativity. Our members not only exhibit locally but in national and international shows and competitions.
In the recent past we have made quilts for children in hospital and babies born in prison. These babies are allowed to stay with their mothers from 9 to 18 months, after which they must leave even if the mother remains in prison so it is nice for them to have a familiar cuddly quilt to take away with them. An article in the Independent 2008 stated that the number of women in prison had doubled in the past decade and babies born there was up to four a week!
A further prison connection is through Fine Cell Work, a charity which teaches needlework of various kinds to inmates in different prisons. In our case, several of our members have been teaching patchwork and quilting to men at Wandsworth. The skill level reached by these inmates is remarkable. At our show you can see a very beautiful king-size quilt, commissioned by one of us and based on a 1920s design known as Millie's quilt, incorporating appliqué and embroidery as well as piecing and quilting. It is truly amazing that this king-size quilt could have been made so immaculately in the confines of the cells. I couldn’t do it as well myself! If, by any chance, you go to the fantastic quilt show at the V&A, you will see another very interesting piece commissioned for this event, designed and made by the Wandsworth prisoners under the guidance of one or two of our members.
We shall, as usual, be showing all new work of our own including pieces which are in response to a challenge - ‘to illustrate a well-known phrase or saying’. Other work stems from workshops we have enjoyed with visiting tutors, from large bold items to fabric postcards. We have a group quilt in which members have each decorated a hat shape according to their fancy. And of course there will be the usual wide range of individual work.
Our raffle prize this year is a brightly coloured embroidered hanging, made by members of Dulwich Quilters, with exotic animals, fish and birds. This is a real tour de force! The proceeds will all go to St. Christopher’s Hospice. People are already asking for tickets and they haven’t been printed yet! They will be available on the two days of the exhibition or before then from Ann Rutherford - 020 8693 3740
Dulwich Quilters Exhibition The Old Library, Dulwich College, November 6th and 7th, 10 am - 5. 00pm