Get to know The Guild better by meeting our talented members. Every year we are so proud to have so many Guild members who are winners at Festival of Quilts. We have reached out to our talented member winners and asked them to share with us their quilting life, why they entered the competition, what their winning quilt means to them and where they get their inspiration. Read on and be inspired. Are you entering a quilt this year?
Meet Guild member Lesley Brankin, who was a winner in the Art Quilt Category at Festival of Quilts in 2017.
What are you working on now?
Following an inspirational drawing course given by textile artist Matthew Harris I nominated 2018 as a year to explore the concept of mark making. With no preconceived ideas or specific targets in mind I am finding it very liberating to simply ‘allow’ things to happen, to permit oneself to ask ‘what if’ and not worry whether something is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. I have deliberately limited my choice of materials to a small selection of paints (acrylic inks and paints in a limited palette of colours), fabrics (calico, muslin and felt), simple mark making tools (old store cards being my current favourite) and of course threads (no limit on these!).
Hereford Cathedral recently hosted the travelling Weeping Window installation, a subset of the original Tower of London Poppies, created to commemorate the Centenary of the First World War. A collaborative piece by artist Paul Cummins and designer Tom Piper, this work captured my imagination – ‘Weeping Window’, an A4 sized sample piece, is my response.
At the moment I am finishing off a quilt that I have entered into the Art Quilt category at Festival of Quilts and am also delighted to say that ‘Eclectica’, one of my experimental mark making pieces, has been shortlisted for Fine Art Quilt Masters 2018.
If interested, you can follow my mark making journey at www.lesleybrankin.com
What does your winning quilt mean to you?
My Big Brother quilt divides opinion – some admire it, others find its imagery and/or message somewhat troubling!
I did not sent out to make a statement piece or even a quilt, but simply a small piece of work based on a group collage activity. Having collectively created a collage using magazine snippets each member took a section to work from.
With no initial ideas forthcoming I experimented with various iPad imaging packages, combining pictures and trying out a range of different image effects. A composite image of the eye, the snooker ball sitting on what looks like a butterfly wing and a geometric grid design particularly grabbed my attention – no dark hidden meaning lurks anywhere!
Using this resultant image as the design for its cover I created a fan style book to showcase the results of my experimenting. Reflecting later on the cover design the concept of the ‘powers that be keeping an eye on our every move’ struck me and ‘Big Brother’ came into being.
Who are your quilting heroes?
Sometimes there is a notable occasion in one’s life when something strikes a real chord. Danish Quilter Charlotte Yde’s fabulous 2005 exhibition at Festival of Quilts was probably the starting point for my art quilting journey. So bowled over was I by the work that I re-visited her exhibition every day of the show, that coupled with the opportunity to chat in person provided me with the encouragement to ‘have a go’.
Can you recommend a good quilting read?
Presently residing on my desk are three well-thumbed titles – ‘Drawn to Stitch’ by Gwen Headley, ‘Mark Making in Textile Art’ by Helen Parrott and ‘Slow Stitch’ by Claire Wellersley Smith. The generosity of the respective authors in sharing their expertise and ideas is most definitely feeding into my current work.
What do you love about The Quilters Guild and the Festival of Quilts?
Being a member of the Quilters Guild provides me with a sense of belonging to a community. Quilters being such warm, welcoming and generous people you know that, even if walking into a room of strangers, it wont be long before you strike up a conversation and are included fully in whatever activity, discussion etc. is taking place. It doesn’t matter what your specific interests are, be it contemporary or traditional, bed quilts or miniatures etc. we all share a very special bond.
We are asking Members to tell us a bit about their sewing life using five simple questions. At the end of the interview each member suggests another to interview. This way we hope to bring you a wide range of makers from all corners of The Guild over the next weeks and months. If you know an inspiring quilter who we should feature, get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll send out a copy of our questionnaire.