14 November 2016

As Good as it Gets - the RIB Quilts of Wales

Our 2017 exhibition, As Good as it Gets

opens on the 10th of March 2017 in the main gallery. This exhibition will looking at the very fine quilts produced in Wales during this exceptional period.

Work for Quilters’ – The Rural Industries Bureau in Wales

In the early 1900’s, influenced by the Arts and Crafts movement, the Welsh Rural Industries attempted to promote cottage-based industries such as hand-quilting in West Wales, but without much success. Then in 1921 the Rural Industries Bureau was set up as part of a wider post-war government reconstruction scheme intended to encourage a range of rural-based crafts. The intention was to keep traditional skills alive and provide employment in socially and economically depressed areas.

In 1928 the Bureau appointed Mavis FitzRandolph as Craft Adviser. She toured South Wales looking for professional village quilters and their work, mainly by word of mouth, but also by hard evidence in the form of quilts on washing lines!

A highly successful exhibition of the quilts she found, at the Little Gallery in Sloane St., London, produced so many orders that the established quilters were unable to fulfil the demand. So in 1929 the RIB decided to set up classes in areas of extreme hardship in the South Wales coalfield to train young women to make quilts for sale in the luxury markets of London, Cardiff and other large cities. A much better price could be obtained for high quality work in these markets than locally - and desperately needed income could be earned. The areas chosen in South Wales were Aberdare, Abertridwr, Merthyr Tydful, Porth in the Rhondda, Splott in Cardiff and Blaena, Gwent.

Claire Claridge - author of Making Welsh Quilts

In Gallery 2, we are delighted to showcase Winning quilts from the Jen Jones Challenge between March and November 2017

Visitors Choice – At the end of the Year there will be a small prize for the quilt voted Visitors Choice by visitors throughout the season

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