Friday, September 12, 2014

Quilting in Scotland

Have you ever been to Scotland?  It is truly a glorious country. This year, Quilt Inspiration (Marina, along with her stepmother) had a chance to visit Scotland, home of our ancestors.  In Edinburgh, as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, we enjoyed the annual quilt exhibit by students of Pat Archibald. Then, while in the outer Hebrides, we saw wonderful landscape quilts by Effie Galletly - and enjoyed a cup of coffee - at Morven Gallery.  Here are some photos we thought you might enjoy.

Edinburgh, Scotland

Pat Archibald is renowned in the UK, Europe and US for her innovative and artistic quilts (for examples, see her online galleries.) At the beginning of 2013, a group of students at Pat Archibald's studio in Edinburgh embarked on a Creative Journey Course.  The topic for the year was 'Freedom', one word that has many layers of meaning.  Here are some of the finished works, which show how each person interpreted the theme in her own unique and personal way.

 Sheer Pleasure by Carol Douglas

Carol Douglas constructed this exquisite quilt from sheers in order to capture the lightness and airiness of the outdoors.  You may be able to see the shadows of the colored shapes reflected on the wall behind the translucent quilt.  She says, "Freedom for me has always been about being in the outdoors.  Sailing on the West coast [of Scotland], hillwalking and more recently cycling in France are all passions of mine.  We have a seaside home in Edinburgh where the brightly coloured sails of the dinghies racing have always been admired."

Out of My Hands - Forever in My Heart by Marion Rodgers

We loved the curved flying geese in this quilt.  Marion Rodgers says,  "A skein of geese flying across an island landscape made me reflect on the physical freedom I enjoyed growing up on a farm in Shetland.  For my own children growing up in the city, their freedom was different - more choice and opportunity to find their own direction... and fly.  The colours of the flying geese and the quilting on the hand-painted background pay tribute to their individuality.  The geese fly on together, encouraging and supporting each other throughout the journey."

Kaleidoscope to Freedom by Tricia Laurie

Kaleidoscope to Freedom was filled with multicolored butterflies breaking free.  Tricia Laurie says, "Butterflies... appear to be totally free in their flight, but they are tightly bound in their chrysalis before they can experience freedom.  I have tried to show this in the fluttering of the butterflies above the rigid pathways we follow in everyday life." A broken chain is shown in the lower right corner of the quilt. "To truly experience freedom, I believe we have to appreciate the shackles which have been broken, be they physical mental, emotional or imaginary, to give us that freedom." 

Knowledge is Freedom by Beverley Cline

The title of this quilt comes from a quote by Miles Davis:  "Knowledge is freedom and ignorance is slavery." Beverley Cline says, "The story of the Underground Railroad quilt has always fascinated me.  During the American Civil War the centre block of a log cabin was coloured black (normally red) and hung on a line as a signal to runaway slaves that it was a safe house.  The slaves were guided by conductors like Harriet Tubman who freed a thousand slaves."

Icarus by Christine Covell

We are intrigued by the imagery of the sole figure diving from atop a tall tower.  Christine Covell explains, "Freedom can be a lonely place.  Icarus stands at the terrifying moment of decision - dare he risk all for the unknown?  His choice alone.  He jumps - and for all too brief a time, he flies, glorious and free.  And then... is freedom always fleeting?  Are we brave enough to seize our chance when it comes?  What will we regret if we don't?"

Isle of Lewis, Outer Hebrides, Scotland

Effie Galletly grew up in the west of Scotland.  A quilter for almost 20 years, Effie has focused her work of the past decade on interpreting Hebridean landscapes, which she finds fascinating and exhilarating. Her work was featured in the recent (August/September 2014) edition of Quilters Newsletter.   We viewed some of her recent pieces at the beautiful Morven Gallery in Barvas, Isle of Lewis, Outer Hebrides.

Shieling on the Moor 2 by Effie Galletly as seen at Morven Gallery

Effie Galletly's machine-pieced and hand-quilted landscapes use strips of fabric in lieu of paint to represent the hills, valleys, moors and sky of the Hebrides.  A tiny hut or "shieling" can be seen in the distance in this quilt. Usually made of stone, these isolated structures can be seen all around the Western Isles of Scotland, where stones are plentiful.

North Lewis Skyline by Effie Galletly as seen at Morven Gallery

Effie Galletly says, "I am a quiltmaker in the practical sense, but I think more like a painter." The gray-and-brown tones of a rock wall that bisects the landscape can be seen in this piece, along with the soft greens and browns of the moors.

Bothy with Turquoise Roof by Effie Galletly as seen at Morven Gallery

The russets of autumn contrast with the turquoise blue roof of the structure.  In the sky you can see the way in which Effie used big-stitch quilting to represent the swirling wind and clouds of the pale blue sky.  Details can be seen in the close-up photo below.

close up, Bothy with Turquoise Roof by Effie Galletly as seen at Morven Gallery

For more inspiration see the galleries at Effie Galletly's website.  If you do have a chance to visit the Outer Hebrides, be sure to stop in and see all of the contemporary art works at Morven Gallery while enjoying a fine pastry and a cappuccino - delightfully decorated with a thistle, which is Scotland's national symbol.

 Image credits: Photos were taken by Quilt Inspiration.

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