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quickly see how emotive the handmade quilt can be. The Quilt of Quilts project is an online space for crafters to share their quilt, tell its story and what it means to the crafter.


Similarly indicative is the


Quilters Guild project; ‘Unfolding the Quilt’, nominated for Best Heritage Project as part of the National Lottery Awards. Based at the Quilt Museum and Gallery in York, this lottery funded scheme has given over 7000 adults and children the chance to develop practical sewing skills, as well as learn about the history of patchwork and quilting.


19 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2011


Of course, a craft so entwined in the intimate and personal approach of its makers is unlikely to survive unless it evolves and here again, quilting excels. “Because this craft is so huge and there are so many ways to do the same thing, everyone can find a technique or method that suits them,” comments Heather. “The traditional tend to use the historical aspect to learn from while the contemporary have the greatest of fun breaking rules and seeing what happens when experimenting. This craft really needs both.”


A tutor for eighteen years, Heather is committed to keeping the craft alive and helping younger generations learn the techniques. Asked what she loves most, the relationship between the craft and the people that produce it is evident once more: “Seeing folks who have been told they are “useless” at school smiling and feeling good about themselves, proudly showing what they have made.........


that is just priceless and very, very special. Seeing folks sit


down, sew, chat and gradually relax as they learn and achieve together.... just wonderful. The thrill of “rescuing“ a sadly lost vintage quilt and gently, respectfully, lovingly restoring it... that’s special too.”


For me, this is what heritage craft is about: at the risk of getting all, Winona Ryder circa 1995 ‘How to Make an American Quilt’ about it, we are creating bridges between the past and future. We are all heritage.


Heather Bennett teaches craft workshops at Darn it & Stitch, Oxford. For more information visit: www.darnitandstitch.com www.vam.ac.uk/content/journals/ research-jour nal/issue -01/ keepsakes-of-identity-michele- walker-memoriam www.vam.ac.uk/microsites/quilts www.quiltmuseum.org.uk


Images courtesy of Verity Warne of Madebyloulabelle and Heather Bennett


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