North Country Quilts at The Bowes Museum


The Bowes Museum in Barnard Castle is holding North Country Quilts: In Celebration of New Acquisitions until 9 January 2022.

This fabulous exhibition features 26 quilts that are the finest examples of the art of North Country Quilting acquired by the Museum in the last 20 years, following the hugely successful North Country Quilts: Legend and Living Tradition exhibition in 2000.  Due to social distancing measures, entry to the exhibition is by a separate timed gallery admission ticket that needs to be booked, at no extra cost, when booking your Museum entry ticket.  You can see the conservation work that went on behind the scenes getting the quilts ready for display in a series of vlogs on the Museum’s YouTube page.

Strippy quilt made by Elizabeth Bayles Hauxwell of Hunderthwaite, Upper Teesdale. The Bowes Museum Collection.

The exhibition is accompanied by an exciting and varied events programme, including; weekly quilting demonstrations in the Fashion and Textile gallery every Sunday from 10.30 until 3.30 led by Aidan Nichol, who’ll sometimes be joined by his wife and fellow quilter Margaret.  Aidan has done extensive work replicating a historic quilt at Beamish Museum and is happy to answer any questions you might have.  He’ll give you an insight into how he creates his beautiful wholecloth quilts and his wife will show you different patchwork techniques. Free with entry to the Museum. 

Make a quilt star with the mixed media artist Alice Redfearn in this Pay What You Decide Zoom workshop on Thursday 10 June from 6.00 – 7.00pm.  Be inspired by the North Country Quilts exhibition and celebrate the Museum’s birthday in this online session.  Book your place in advance to receive your textile pack, which will contain everything you need to take part, in the post. 

Take part in a Hand-stitched Patchwork Workshop on Friday 25th June from 10.30 until 1.00pm. Discover how to make your very own hand-stitched patchwork quilt based on one in the North Country Quilts exhibition in this small group session led by the textile artist Amanda Jane Ogden.  This is a great way to recycle used pieces of left over new or recycled fabric.  Amanda will give you lots of tips, advice and ideas on what you could do with the finished piece.  All materials will be provided for you.  Tickets are £35.00 or £65.00 to include the afternoon session too.

If you’ve ever wanted to have a go at making crazy patchwork then this is the session for you.  On Friday 25th June from 2.00 – 4.30, join the textile artist Amanda Jane Ogden in a small group workshop, where she’ll show you an adaptation of the traditional ‘crazy’ technique, in which small pieces of fabric are pieced onto a background like crazy paving before the seams and pieces are embellished with embroidery,  You will construct the piece in strips, to complement the strippy quilts in the exhibition, with suitable embroidery stitching to cover the seams  All materials will be provided for you.  Tickets are £35.00 or £65.00 to include the morning session as well.

Re-told Stories: Pitt Rivers Legacy, Pauline Burbidge.

Find out what inspired the internationally renowned quilt maker and Quilters’ Guild member, Pauline Burbidge, to make the quilt she has on show in the exhibition during An Illustrated talk by Pauline Burbidge on Saturday 26th June from 2.30 until 3.30pm.  She will give a presentation that will include tracking the inspiration, making and completion of two of her most recent quilts, Plantforms, which can be seen in the exhibition and a recent Quiltscape called Re-told Stories: Pitt Rivers Legacy.   The talk will end with a short film and there will be the opportunity to ask questions.  Tickets can be purchased from the Museum website.

On Sunday 27th June there’s a Family Quilting Workshop led by the textile artist Alice Redfearn.  Families will be able to choose from a vibrant and colourful selection of materials to complete a quilting project together.  Children will be encouraged to be decision makers in designing the patch and adults will be shown some simple hand sewing and quilting techniques to bring the patches to life.  The session will sun from 10.30 until 12.30 and costs £20 per family.  All materials will be provided for you.

You can learn the skills to create your very own quilted cushion cover in a small Beginners Hand Quilting Workshop with the textile artist Alice Redfearn on Sunday 27 June from 2.00 – 4.00pm.  Alice will teach you some simple and effective hand sewing and quilting techniques in this session, where all materials will be provided and you will have a beautiful and unique cover to take home.  There will be plenty of opportunities for Alice to answer any questions you might have during this relaxed session.  Tickets are £25.00 per person.

Beginners workshop with Alice Redfearn.

Join the artist Betty Brown for a day of Playing with Patchwork Patterns on Wednesday 30th June from 10.00 until 4.30pm.  During this session you’ll get to enjoy all the fun of patchwork without any of the sewing!  Using the current exhibition as inspiration, we’ll explore patterns together and create new designs using recycled coloured papers.  Through a series of exercises, Betty will show you the secrets of many traditional patchwork patterns which can be put together very easily.  This workshop costs £60 and includes all materials, refreshments, lunch and admission to the North Country Quilts exhibition for £60.00 per person.

Betty Brown Workshop

All the workshops can be booked through The Bowes Museum’s website.

(Header image: Sanderson Star design, provenance and maker unknown. The Bowes Museum Collection)

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