It seems like my quilting life has been dominated by one thing only for the last few months......exhibitions.
For the past 6 months or so I have been very occupied with planning and preparing for exhibitions of one kind or another. I think most of all I love making quilts, but I also need a purpose for the quilts I make. I don't actually hang many (if any) of my own quilts at home, so having them hang in various exhibitions means they at least have an audience.
Today and tomorrow I have a quilt from my 'Stitched Alchemy' series named 'Dragon's Blood' on display at la Biennale Internationale D'Art Textile (aka Beaujolais) . It is based on the metal we know as 'mercury' and is a very vivid red quilt. It is part of the SAQA Europe and ME exhibition 'Made in Europe'. This exhibition has been touring for the past year and will be returned to me very soon. I look forward to seeing it again.
Next week I will have 2 of my quilts hanging at the Chicago International Quilt Festival (April 12th to 14th). The first celebrates the great achievement made by a woman named Kate Sheppard will be hanging in the 'HERstory' gallery. It is a particularly special quilt for me as it is the last quilt I made whilst living in New Zealand, and Kate Shepard was the leader of the Women's Suffrage group who, back in 1893, were the first in the world to win the vote for women. It was a remarkable achievement.
The quilt also features in a beautiful book, named 'HERstory Quilts, A celebration of Strong Women' which was created by Susanne Miller Jones. Susanne had curated an amazing collection of art quilts by makers all over the world.
I am also thrilled that this exhibition will be travelling to New Zealand and hope my sister will be able to go and visit the exhibition on my behalf.
I really enjoyed making this quilt as it had special meaning to me on lots of levels. It has a fascinating historical story to tell,as well as being of the 'place' I was at the time. I used lots of special fabrics from my collection and many of my favourite techniques: fabric dyeing, trapunto, free motion writing, applique and portraiture.
To find out more about the remarkable achievement of Kate Sheppard and her fellow suffragists, follow this link: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kate_Sheppard
Susanne Miller Jones, the curator of this exhibition has also produced a fabulous book, entitled 'HERstory Quilts, a History of Strong Women' which contains all of the other amazing quilts from this collection and is available from Amazon by clicking here.
The second quilt which will hang in Chicago is the quilt I made for the SAQA 'Textile Posters' exhibition. This exhibition premiered in Huston last year, but is now on tour.
For my poster I decided to create a piece which concerns something about which I (and many others) feel strongly - plastic bottles. I hope the poster speaks for itself.
A week later I have another quilt which is making its debut at a very interesting and probably highly controversial exhibition at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles in San Jose, California. I have some lovely friends who live not too far away, so I hope they might get to the exhibiton on my behalf. It runs from April 22nd to July 15th and is another SAQA exhibition entitled 'Guns: Loaded Conversations'. I have seen a preview of all the work which will be hanging in this exhibition and it is exceptional. It is both highly thought provoking and disturbing, especially given the ongoing problems of gun crime, both in the USA and seemingly a growing issue here in the UK.
I am sure some will think the quilt I made for this exhibition pushes the limits of what is acceptable, but it was important for me to show the horror and reality of what happens when children find and use guns.
Which brings me to two further exhibitions which I am involved in and are thankfully much closer to home.
The first is at Harbour House, The Promenade, Kingsbridge, TQ7 1JD, Devon - April 27th - May 3rd
and the second at the Bristol Guild Gallery, 68 Park Street Bristol BS1 5JY - April 28th - 19th May
Harbour House Centre for Arts and Yoga is a beautiful gallery situated in the quiet yet beautiful coastal market town of Kingsbridge, Devon. If you are in the area or are looking for a very enjoyable day trip or long weekend I can highly recommend it as a destination. There is lots to see and do.
My work will hang as part of an exhibition named 'Unfolding Stories 3', with the group 'Contemporary Quilters West' (CQ West for short). It is a fabulous group and the collection of work which is currently sitting in my lounge (waiting to be hung!) is superb. If you are interested in what is currently going on in the world of contemporary art quilting in the UK this is a good exhibition to visit.
I have chosen the following 3 quilts from my from my 'Stitched Alchemy' series to hang here, all based on the metal we know as 'copper'. I intend to be at the gallery every day and warmly invite you to visit if you can.
'Copper Venus' Quilts by Claire Passmore ©2018
Bristol Guild Gallery
At the same time (like busses, they never come alone!) I will also be participating in an exhibition with the group 'XIII makers' at theBristol Guild Gallery, 68 Park Street Bristol BS1 5JY. I find it a fascinating and beautiful venue. This exhibition opens on 28th April and runs through to 19th May (closed on May Day, 7th May).
More work from my 'Stitched Alchemy' series will be hanging there, this time based on the metal we know as 'iron'. The quilts tell the story of the 3 sister ships built for luxury travel, but which ended up having very different lives. The quilts are collectively called '3 Sisters' but individually are called 'Olympic' , 'Titanic' and 'Britannic'. I have had a lot of fun making some special items to go alongside the quilts hanging in this exhibition which will all be on display and for sale.
A triptych named '3 Sisters', based on the 3 sister ships, Olympic, Titanic and Britannic'
Claire Passmore ©2017
As you can see, I have an eclectic collection of work in these various exhibitions, but each has an important message or a story to tell. Looking back over the past year I often feel I haven't created much, but now I see it all together I can see where my time has been spent.
If you are able to visit any of these exhibitions I would love to hear what you think of them. Unfortunately I wont be able to attend many in person, but I am looking forward to meeting as many people as possible in Kingsbridge and Bristol. Unfolding Stories 3 will also be at Festival of Quilts this year (Gallery TG1) and at the West of England Quilt and Textile Show - so there are lots of chances to see the work hanging there too.
Thanks for reading.