Welsh quilts are an important and distinctive part of our textile heritage. Any study of Welsh quilting and its signature wholecloth designs quickly reveals that it was very much a cottage industry, carried out mainly by women who were professional quilters. It’s a fascinating slice of history, with close ties to the Amish style of quilting with its bold patchwork.
The influence of these styles still stands today, with a large number of highly-regarded contemporary quilters hailing from Wales, and others taking inspiration from historic Welsh quilts when creating their designs. Here’s our pick of contemporary Welsh and Welsh-inspired quilters.
(Clockwise from top left image)
- You may have spotted this design by Susan Briscoe in our first issue. Susan has been interested in traditional British quilts for many years, and this particular project was inspired Edwardian Welsh scrap coverlet.
- Dorothy Russell is a quilt artist and teacher living in Anglesey, North Wales, renowned for both her wholecloth quilts and fabulously-coloured art quilts. Her courses and workshops, hosted in her gorgeous holiday cottage, are highly recommended for anyone seeking a creative getaway or re-fresh.
- Cardiff-based Bethan Ash started her career as a fashion designer, but moved into quilting after giving birth to her son. She’s renowned for her bold use of colour and geometric shapes, and has also worked on interactive quilt projects with local communities.
- Sandie Lush, while not being from Wales herself, has drawn extensively from traditional Welsh quilts when creating her wholecloth designs. You can give one her designs a go yourself by purchasing them from her online shop.
If you’d like to learn more about the history and techniques present in Welsh quilts, you can’t go wrong with a trip to The Welsh Quilt Centre in Lampeter, founded by collector Jen Jones. As well as browsing the collections, you can take part in workshops and purchase beautiful textiles from the on-site shop.
And don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled for Issue 2 of Today’s Quilter – it comes with a FREE 44-page Welsh Quilting supplement.