Thursday, September 9, 2010

Creative Constellation in Cork

My satellite navigator is a true testament to the continuing improvement of Irish roads. My journey began after 10am and according to the GPS, I would be at the Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) viewing the Irish Patchwork Society (IPS) National Exhibition’s Q for Quilts in time for the lunchtime tea.

With future issues’ content weighing on me and endless accounting numbers to be crunched, I stole out of the office like a kid mitching school. I began another adventure greeted with sunny skies and the usual threat of precipitation. But on this day, I found the rain playing a friendly game of pee-a-boo along the southbound lane of the M8.

There are many things to like about County Cork, the least of which is the fantastic accent. Its stereotypical “singsong” dialect goes hand in hand with the gregarious and friendly personality of Corkoians. Bigger still is the unassuming metropolitan zeal of Cork City. Surrounded by Irish countryside, urban Cork is a full bloom of its own sitting among the many flowers of in Ireland. Cork City has liveliness like no other Irish city. Its collective talent and enthusiasm creates the renowned cultural Cork. So it was a real treat to learn that the Cork branch of the IPS was hosting this year’s National Exhibition.

In a sprawling estate, the CIT, comprising state-of-the-art buildings, is a spectacular venue for showing quilts. The buildings’ angles and arches are an inspiring heyday for quilters. Well lit and airy, the atmosphere served quilts of varied size and shape better than any exhibition I have attended.

I kindly borrowed and give full credit for this above photo to Peter Cook. As for some quilt photos from these shows, don't miss them in our next October issue of Irish Quilting.

The Q for Quilts theme, interpreted by some but nonrestrictive for all, was cleverly present in some quilts. Northern Ireland quilter Irene MacWilliam, who expertly pushes the construction and meaning of quilts, tailored her black and white series for this theme. Visually and otherwise, her Q Play did not disappoint. Linda McCulkin of County Galway gave us Flying in the Queue, whimsical quilts in queue awaiting completion. Cannot every quilter relate?

Other quilts needed no theme for existence and were equally welcomed among the hangings. It didn’t take an expert eye to know that quilters of all levels were showing and yet, their presentation harmoniously appeared as one family: cousins in different sizes, types, levels and methods. I was very impressed with the organizers’ work.
At the exhibit, I was greeted by, double the talent, Kitty Whelan and Ursula Dale seen above.
Inside Scoop: Ursula's Ballyhooly Quilt appears in our next issue. See it in October!

Individual triumphant was clear with many of the quilts. One could see a sentimental purpose and/or need for creation as defined by each quilter. My favourites varied and, honestly, are hard to explain except to say they captured my eye and my interest.

Particularly of note would be Paula O’Rafferty’s submissions from the Limerick Prison, both appliqué wonders: a quilt from a male prisoner and one from a women’s group. The pieces were spectacular and intrinsically Irish. As an editor, these quilts beckon my attention and beg me to beg for more. I look forward to learning more and sharing this “quilt success within the walls” with Irish Quilting readers.

In true Cork fashion, there was more. Perfectly timed in sync, the Four Winds Textile Groups were exhibiting at the neighboring Bishopstown Library. The small, but impressive, collection displayed in the second floor of the library. For a literary junkie like myself, there is nothing better than wading through shelvings of knowledge and pleasure which ultimately leads to a room laden with textile showings!

Displayed beautifully, respectfully presented and identified, these patchwork exhibitions are inspiring to all.

Today, I am proud to be a quilter.


Deborah said...

Hi Sherry I received the Irish Quilting magazine today and I just love it! I love looking at the pictures of your country and I can't wait to make one of the quilts. Thank you so much!.

Butterfly said...

Love how you described Cork, it makes me homesick! Must plan a trip home soon and so excited to hear all about the quilting in Ireland.