The weekend before Quilts UK, we went to Hartlepool Art Gallery to see a selection of quilts from the Quilt Museum, which are on show there until 9th June. From the Quilt Museum's website, it looked like one of my favourite 'quilts', the Hearts and Crosses coverlet, would be included and I wasn't disappointed. This is the quilt that inspired my Super Strips workshop design and it is only the third time I've had a chance to see it in real life. This time I was allowed to take some photos too, so it was great to be able to capture some close up images on the macro setting, such as the detail of the applique above. The symmetry of the strips in the corners of the second set of stripped triangles was more apparent this time too - I made a note of that blue and white polka dot strip in the centre of each corner triangle. A more accurate reinterpretation of this coverlet, with a central appliqued section rather than the square-in-a-square effect of Super Strips, is on my wishlist.
Click each quilt detail in the following photos to link to the Quilt Museum's website and read about the that quilt, with the chance to see the quilt in more detail, starting with the Hearts and Crosses - these are just a few of the quilts that are on display and there are many more -
The art gallery at Hartlepool is in the old church at the centre of Church Square, opposite the art college where I did my Foundation course in 1993-94. At that time, it was disused and derelict. It was great to be able to see inside it for the first time and see it put to such good use. The timber vaulted ceiling is reiminiscent of the main exhibition space at the Quilt Museum in York, in the medieval St Anthony's Guildhall, which was a nice touch.
There were some details in the building which could make interesting quilting or patchwork motifs, like this floor grille.
As well as the antique quilts from the Quilt Museum, there were several contemporary pieces including Elizabeth Brimelow's 'Up the Stairs' and a small exhibition of quilts from the Foggy Furze Quilters, who will be having their exhibition at the Marine Hotel next weekend - click here and here for more details. A selection of paintings from Hartlepool's collection is also on display.
The exhibitions at Hartlepool Art Gallery are free but for just £1 you can climb the belltower for a stunning view of the town - and a good look at the bell mechanism on the way up (climbing the bell tower made me think of fellow quilter Pippa Moss, who is also a bellringer!)
The stained glass windows in the belltower also suggested a quilt block inspiration -
The view from the top shows just how much Hartlepool has changed in the last thirty years. When I was there as a day student, the area around the art college was very run down, with a lot of derelict sites which have been redeveloped. The sunny weather helped too - my student memories of Hartlepool are mainly of how cold it used to feel in the winter! This panorama shows the art college (you can see the vertical studio windows clearly), which now has a porch where there used to be open space at the front. I'm fairly sure there's an extension within one of the inner courtyards too. The art gallery is only a short distance from the Historic Quay, where we spent the rest of the day exploring the various exhibitions (including the main Hartlepool Museum and the HMS Trincomalee).