Tuesday, 27 February 2007

my great-grandmother, Sarah Thomas

This is a tinted photograph of Sarah Thomas, taken around the time of her wedding, in 1899.

She lived all her life in Maesteg, a mining village in South Wales. She was a gifted needlewoman, who, like a number of other women in Maesteg at the time, made quilts for sale. At the time of her death, in 1919 at the age of 43 (she succumbed to lung disease as a result of breathing in coal-dust all her life) the deeds of the house were found in a box under the bed: she had saved the money from her earnings from quilting and what she had saved from the housekeeping money.

My grandmother, Gwyneth Thomas, was apprenticed as a tailoress and milliner. She refused to learn to quilt because she did not want to be exploited.

Monday, 26 February 2007

what now?

OK so I've set up a blog - what comes next?

A bit of an introduction I suppose. First the quilts. I've been quilting for about sixteen years - we don't grow up with it in this country, though my great grandmother (of whom more later) was a quilter, producing hand-quilted items for the London market. Quilts I've produced in the past have been my own twist on traditional techniques, using my own hand-dyed fabrics for the most part. I began to learn to design my own via a City and Guilds course. After a break from quilting (all sorts of disasters including my husband's sudden death in 2000 and my own illness two years later (I am a cancer survivor) I am now up and running again, exploring new techniques. Whilst I still enjoy making traditional quilts I am becoming more involved in making art quilts, after taking Myrna Giesbrecht's Self Expressions course at Quilt University, a course which has changed my life in a number of ways.
Though I do have some good friends, who I see regularly, I can be a bit of a hermit a lot of the time, though I have very good neighbours, and four cats who when not making unreasonable demands give support and encouragement especially when I've fed them tuna.