After a fun-filled week of Renegade absolutely spoiling me, it will take some time to tell the story of my 30th birthday....
I have always had a soft spot for quilts. I find them comforting and whimsical, after viewing the exhibit I now see the historical and political significance of this art form often taken on by women.
The exhibit itself features an impressive collection of antique quilts from the V&A archives, with a few contemporary takes on the age-old craft sprinkled in between. 'Quilts' features everything from the works of upper-class English ladies, circa 1690 to child prisoners of war. War and confinement are surprisingly common themes. Some of the most touching quilts are created by those serving time, such as the male inmates at the Wandsworth Prison in South London. These men are reaching for a different kind of needle while serving time, as part of the Fine Cell Work program, they are taught needlework and quilting skills. From the touching video installation profiling the innovative program, many of them through hand crafts are finding an escape and a way to stay out of trouble while behind bars. The work itself is so humbling and real.
Coming out of the show, I mostly felt thankful to have my freedom, as I reflected on all the women who only had their quilt-making as a form of expression. Many of them working to make ends meet during times of War or Depression or just to keep their families warm. For some, quilts were a way to discreetly confess their love, with hidden love letters sewn inside.
I'm also inspired.... and so this is the year that I make my very first quilt and not just because I have to or because it's the only way I can share what's in my heart, but because I really want to and for that I am blessed.