WHQ Wednesday March 13 2014

Thanks to Juliet Griffin for this post.

Thirty members of the Welsh Heritage Quilters crammed around the tables at the Minerva Arts Centre this Wednesday afternoon to hear a talk by one of the group’s members, Judith Barker.

WHQ members gathered to hear a talk by Judith Barker

Judith spoke about the concepts and ideas which have inspired her work over the years.  Her talk was amply illustrated by a large number of beautiful examples of her work, many award-winning; some bed quilts, and some pieced, but mainly wall hangings skilfully worked in various types of appliqué.  The oldest piece shown was a charming classic crazy quilt made from scraps by her grandmother as a coverlet for the dolls’ cradle made for Judith by her grandfather.

The cheery vigour of folk art is a frequent inspiration

Her influences range from folk art through cathedral interiors to archaeology and landscape.  Like many highly creative people she keeps a notebook to jot down any and every idea, and she participates fully with the groups she belongs to, joining in with “challenges” and contributing to exhibitions and charity sales.  She is also a qualified quilt show judge.

A recent work consists of a set of four hangings exploring the way that ancient civilisations have left their mark on the landscape. While Judith was developing the concept, a visit to the National Museum in Cardiff was a key “lightbulb moment” giving the inspiration for the colours of the pieces; a museum label described how in the bronze age people made important items out of bone, amber or jet. To complete the set of four colours, Judith added clay. This is “Barrow Landscape – Clay”. Judith’s exhibits in the forthcoming WHQ exhibition at the Minerva Arts Centre will further explore this theme.

After the talk, everyone descended on the pile of quilts for forensic examination and heated discussion, keen to learn as much as possible about Judith’s techniques

One of the groups Judith belongs to held an exhibition in Brecon Cathedral and challenged its member to create work inspired by the Cathedral itself.  Judith’s piece was a reflection on the tombstones embedded in the paved floor of the cathedral, many of which give the names of women along with their roles: “wife”, “mother”, “daughter”, and in one case, “widdw”.

The session was for me an eye-opening reminder of the depth of the talent and experience lurking untrumpeted behind the affable, cheery fun of the WHQ meetings.

Learn more about Judith’s work at www.judithbarkerquiltart.co.uk.

PS  There’s a custom in the group that if you have a birthday or a special celebration you bring a cake or some delicious biscuits to share round at teatime.  This week there were three – we were rolling in scrumptious biscuits!

Are you focused on the biscuits or the beautiful quilt?


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