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Quilts 1700-1945 @ Queensland Art Gallery

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Explore 200 years of British quiltmaking


I was a self-taught quilter who'd only ever done two tiny quilts consisting of square patches. One thing that frustrated me the most was that I couldn't get the quilt to stop puckering. It actually stopped me from making more quilts because I didn't really know how to be better at it. Then one day it hit me that perhaps I should take some lessons. It was one of those light bulb moments. So I learned the proper steps to making a quilt, quilting terms, how to cut fabric, and most importantly, how to quilt without puckering.

It was awesome to actually know what to do and this is how my love for quilting started. Now I love quilting because I love working with colours, textures and patterns. When finished, I love it how they give me warmth on a cold winter's morning or give character to the living room when hung. I love flipping through quilting magazines and books because seeing other people's creations excites me. Then one day when I heard about one of the upcoming exhibitions at the Queensland Art Gallery (QAG) - Quilts 1700-1945, I got really excited.

Quilts 1700-1945 will be showing at the QAG from from 15 June to 22 September 2013. It looks at the extremely decorative and homemade bed covers which tell the maker's multifaceted engagement with the wider world. It explores over 200 years of British quiltmaking with each quilt having their own history hidden within its layers. Works featured come from the prestigious Victoria and Albert Museum, London, and loans from various museums around the UK. In addition, one of Australia's most important textiles, The Rajah quilt 1841, from the National Gallery of Australia, will be on display. The story behind the Rajah quilt is one of hope and persistence, which is one of the many amazing stories you will come across at the exhibition.

the rajah quilt
The Rajah quilt, 1841


You will not only see 36 rare and outstanding quilts, but also 19 small and delicately made objects such as a seventeenth century embroidered casket and exquisitely decorated pin cushions. Normally looking at a quilt in a magazine excites me, but to look at a quilt made between 1700 - 1945 and learning about its historical references in addition to social and cultural significance really, really excites me. Who knows there was so much more to quilting than just quilting?

This is a ticketed exhibition and you can book your tickets here, which also includes a 30-40 minute guided tour. They take place at 11am, 11:15am, 1pm and 1:15pm daily and you'll explore the history as well as the cultural and social context behind the quilts on display. Additionally, other programs and events are available and a valid exhibition ticket is required to attend. Check the website for more details.

quilts 1700-1945 book


Unfortunately, photography is not allowed in this exhibition, but not to worry. A fully illustrated publication will be available for you to take home from the QAGOMA store or online.

So take the journey into the past and discover the personal and social histories associated with British quiltmaking. Whether you're a passionate quilter or a beginner, this exhibition is sure to fascinate you.
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Why? Learn about the history of British quiltmaking
When: 10.00am 5.00pm Monday to Friday 9.00am 5.00pm Saturday and Sunday 9.00am 5.00pm Public Holidays
Phone: 07 3840 7303
Where: Queensland Art Gallery, Stanley Place, South Bank, Queensland, Australia
Cost: From $9.50
Your Comment
Thanks so much for your article. We really enjoyed the exhibition and thoroughly recommend joining one of the guided tours. Our guide did a great job of bringing the exhibition to life, by sharing the stories behind the quilts.
by Susan Jackson (score: 2|750) 1854 days ago
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