After a few technical glitches, Kath let members into the meeting room and Kath (Chair) welcomed everyone, including several members of the Lytham Branch. Then Ann introduced our speaker Joanna O’Neill all the way (via Zoom) from Northumberland.
Joanna explained the term ‘Journal Quilts’ in case anyone had never heard of them. I certainly hadn’t so it was an interesting start. They are small quilts about A4 in size and were introduced in 1998 when a textile artist called Jan Williamson decided to ‘play’ and produce a small artwork each week. Several years later she is still doing this.
When Joanna joined a contemporary quilt group in 2007, a challenge of stitching a quilt a month was set and although voluntary many of the members took part. It has become a challenge ever since. Joanna said that stitching Journal Quilts had many advantages over making large quilts, including they are inexpensive in both time and materials as they are only small. They are portable, easy to store, easy to stitch by hand or machine. A series of the same theme are easy to compare and are brilliant teaching aids to share whether in schools or textile groups. Just one disadvantage you won’t have a large finished piece.
From 2009 to 2020 Joanna has developed lots of ideas for each series of twelve quilts from months of the year, folk art, sketch book pages, medieval tiles, disruptive patterns and colour schemes of red, yellow and blue to name just a few. The size can also alter from square to A4. She uses beautiful fabrics from the Heidi Stoll-Weber collections www.farbstoff.com. as well as felt and recycled fabrics.
As journal quilts are intended not to be washed Joanna also uses oil sticks, handmade paper, crayons and acrylic paint. She makes stencils from freezer paper and has tried using jelly plates. Some of the quilts have embellishments like buttons and shisha mirrors, some are hand stitched and others are machine stitched.
Her work was very inspiring and has given us lots of ideas for our own monthly challenge. After several questions Kath (Chair) thanked Joanna for a really interesting and inspiring talk and thanks also for giving permission for us to use these pictures of her Journal Quilts on our blog.
Once Joanna had left, we showed our piece from the January challenge (see the slide show below).
Here is what each member wrote about their work
My inspiration came from an email I received from Peter Kieser, the shoe company. They had a wreath around a shoe in red, white and blue. I thought about using the word January and thought it would work well inside the wreath. I have used stitches that I don’t normally use and several I learned on the Zara day Course… padded satin stitch, woven picots, lazy daisy and a variety of different beading. Mel C.
A winter scene
Unfortunately it looks better in the flesh as the background is sparkly with snow, made using water soluble fabric and crystal machine thread. The trees are made using cake wires. Sandie M.
The photo was taken by my late husband, Ian, on a trip to see the snow one January in the early 2000s. The embroidery is straight stitches in a slightly sparkly single Madeira machine thread and a double strand of stranded cotton. The fabric is in layers starting with a slightly patterned cotton, then a double layer of netting and then organza. Edwina W.
One day last week we were watching the snow coming down - which is unusual for Blackpool. My husband was sorting some old photographs and I was knitting as we are due to be great-grandparents at the end of February/early March. The house was warm and with the dull day and snow outside we were cosy and warm. The snowdrops are showing in the garden, which prompted my theme for January and the children's nursery rhyme for my poem this month. Margaret G.
I used a range of organza and free machined embroidered the pieces in place. I then machine embroidered skeleton trees and shrubs before hand stitching with line stitch, French knots and single chain stitches to represent the little flowers and blossoms you can see to brighten the dark days of January. Ann R.
I was inspired by a walk across the local nature reserve, it was so frosty. I knew the colours had to be very cool for this January, so the gold work seemed to fit the bill. Barbara S.
This one is machined sheers on a dyed background (white). The next one is machining on dissolvable fabric with dyed leaves on a dyed background (purple). I used dissolvable fabric and organza to create hellebores. Kath R.
Kath has also been busy on a couple of other projects; a purse and a needle woven picture of a parrot tulip. For the purse she made the background by snipping bits of fabric onto a dark background. Then she stitched through the fabric with metallic thread. She cut out a bag shape from the fabric, made a lining and attached the fabric to the clasp and embellished it with beads.
We then had a general chat about happenings in The Guild. Again the time had flown by and soon it was time to leave.
Thanks go to Kath. R for overcoming technical problems with her usual calm and efficiency.
Keep safe and keep stitching and we’ll see you next month.