Get to know The Guild better by meeting our talented members! We have interesting and inspiring members all over the country doing amazing sewing and we want you to be able to share their work.
Meet Guild member Janice Gunner, a professional Textile Artist and past President of The Guild.
What are you working on now?
I am working on a MA Textiles degree course at University of the Creative Arts (UCA) at Farnham. At present I am sampling ideas for my exploratory practice, I am concentrating on indigo dyeing mostly but also stitch, quilting, Devore and print techniques. Not sure yet where it will take me but its an amazing place to be studying at. I am also preparing questions for the Theory & Analysis section due in after Easter 2019.
As far as quilting goes I have several projects on the go. Some modern miniature quilts based on the three pieces I exhibited in the New Horizons Textile Group Exhibition “Connections” at FOQ 2018 and some based on other ideas, a baby quilt based on the Irish Chain design for my next grandchild due in March 2019 and a few other pieces just because I like to experiment.
What is your favourite quilt that you’ve ever made?
My favourite quilt I have ever made changes depending on my mood! At the moment it is probably a quilt called Venice that I made in 2010 for no other reason than the fabrics spoke to me of the decaying paintwork. It includes hand dyed fabric using rust, African fabric and hand dyed fabric by Heidi Stoll- Weber (bought at a previous Festival of Quilts).
My Medal for Excellence in 2018 was awarded by City & Guilds for recognition of my work as a lecturer but I was also awarded a Medal for Excellence (First Prize) in 1993 for my Patchwork & Quilting Certificate (then called Part 1) work.
Who are your quilting heroes?
Oh boy, this might take some time, there are many! Rosemary Muntus who taught me how to do Sashiko in 1988, Dorothy Osler, her book on Machine Patchwork, one of the first books I bought on the subject (long after I had taught myself), Lynne Edwards MBE who taught me how to hand quilt at a London Quilters workshop years ago and who encouraged me to apply for The Jewel Pearce Patterson Scholarship for International Quilt Teachers which we have both been awarded. Pauline Burbidge, Dorothy Caldwell and Diana Harrison for their innovative quilt art and Magie Relph plus all of my past and current students, they are all quilting heroes and heroines in their own right for keeping the art and craft of Patchwork & Quilting alive and kicking! Andrew Salmon and Jan King who listened to June Barnes and I representing The Quilters’ Guild during the 1990’s when we suggested that as the Knitting & Stitching shows were so successful, but only showed a few quilts, that he considered a show just for quilts selling only quilt related goods. The Festival Of Quilts has now been running for many years at the NEC in Birmingham. It was a huge leap of faith running a quilt show in August at probably the biggest exhibition venue in the UK but Andrew, Jan and their small team of workers at the then Creative Exhibitions, in collaboration with members of The Quilters’ Guild, pulled it off and made it the success that it is today. The largest non-juried quilt show in Europe now draws visitors from all over the globe to share in their love of all things quilts. I am proud to say that I have been involved in the show in one way or another since its inception.
Can you recommend a good quilting read?
The last book I read was Pieces of my Life: A story of Fabrics and Passions by Shizuko Kuroha, the lovely Japanese lady whose quilts were exhibited at Festival of Quilts in 2018. I worked with Upper Street Events to bring her and her stunning work to the UK. It includes many of the pieces that were in the exhibition.
When did you join The Guild and why?
I joined around 1982/83 because I wanted to know more about Patchwork & Quilting and had no idea there were already so many other people who shared my interest. There were very few classes, books or equipment available then. I started teaching Patchwork & Quilting in 1988 and I’m still going despite a very critical illness in January this year. I had Bacterial Meningitis and Sepsis and was placed into a medically induced coma to help me get better, that probably saved my life! With the help of my family I came through it all, but I received many cards and messages from members of The Guild which all helped in my recovery too. Through joining The Guild I then joined London Quilters and have been a member there ever since. I was already member of Marsh Quilters who also celebrate 40 years as a group in 2019 too. It’s all about friendship and support!