Collection focus: ‘Suffolk Marshes’ by Jo Budd


‘Suffolk Marshes’ is a recent acquisition to The Quilters’ Guild Museum Collection. This contemporary piece was made in 2006, and belongs to a series of work created by textile artist Jo Budd, in response to the landscape immediately surrounding her studio, and more specifically to the water meadow at the bottom of her garden, which regularly floods each year.


Water and its effects of ripple, reflection and transparency have been an abiding theme since the artist moved to her current location overlooking the Waveney Valley in north Suffolk, in 2001. Water first manifests as free flowing monoprinted marks, made using semi liquid dyes, and the watery patination of rust dyeing. It is subsequently present in the subject matter and in the 3D surface ‘flow’ of the fabric created by hand stitching.  


The rust dyed fabric in the top third of the piece is a single layer of cotton, stitched to the backing, the bottom two thirds are rust dyed and overlaid with mono-printed ‘glazes’ of Procion dyed silk chiffon. These soften the underlying rust textures – implying a watery transparency, and stitches then provide a surface ripple effect – emulating wind on water. This piece was first shown at The Festival of Quilts, NEC, Birmingham in 2007. 


This the second piece of Jo Budd’s work that we have in The Collection. The other is Pink Boat, made in 1988 and measuring a whopping 292cm by 189cm, which depicts a boat in dry dock awaiting painting. This piece was the first of a nautical structure series that marks a key step forward in the artist’s practice and demonstrates considerable complexity in both the image portrayed and the techniques and materials involved in achieving this abstract yet accessible design. Michele Walker has described Budd as having ‘the vision of a painter with the approach of a traditional quiltmaker’, and certainly the amalgamation of the two are very apparent in her work, which is now represented in many public and private collections. This piece was purchased in 2009 with assistance from the Art Fund and the V&A/MLA purchase grant. 

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