Whole Cloth

March, 2018

Whole Cloth

Maker unknown

Made in Carmarthenshire County, Wales, United Kingdom
Circa 1900-1910

This piece appeared in “Quilts in Common: Around the Globe & Across the Centuries,” the inaugural exhibition when the International Quilt Museum opened its doors on March 30, 2008.

“The maker of this typical Welsh whole cloth quilt showcased her stitches and made them the central focus of the piece. Like an impressionist painter, she eschewed the idea of hiding her individual marks and instead relished the expressive nature of each quilting stitch.”

It features traditional motifs seen in Welsh quilts: spirals, leaves, trefoils and paisleys. The maker used symmetry in her placement and seems to have drawn the quilting lines freehand.

During the early 20th century, whole cloth quilts like this would have been made out of necessity in places like Wales. While embroidery and paper piecing mosaics was prevalent in wealthier parts of the UK, larger pieces of fabric were more affordable.

It appeared with two other pieces, an Indian Kantha and “Four Fields meet” by Canadian artist Dorothy Caldwell. This section took a close look at how makers past and present, near and far have used stitches to make their individual mark on work.

Read more about these and other quilts featured in the exhibition here.