In the Quilters’ Guild Collection there is a fascinating quilt called The Ladies Work Society Coverlet. This quilt was shown at the QGBI Conference in 2016 and its striking layout and unusual applique shapes stood out to me. I read about its background – a quilt made in the early Edwardian period by a group of women who had formed a society to offer ‘respectable’ employment to ladies of ‘quality’ who had fallen on hard times. Many of these women had links to the Arts & Crafts movement of the late Victorian and early Edwardian period and its support of the handmade, the crafted and practical art with its roots in the British creative past.
I started to wonder if there were other quilts made in the Arts & Crafts period? I couldn’t find any, but learnt a lot about May Morris and her embroidery. How had these Arts and Crafts ideals reached into embroidery so inspirationaly but not into quilting? I decided to make my own version of the Ladies Work Society Coverlet but with a more overt Arts and Crafts angle.
To do this I decided to use Liberty prints ( one of the most famous purveyors of Arts and Crafts style fabrics) and to base my quilt design in the same shapes and colour palette as the original, but with more overt Arts and Crafts motives taken from the work of William Morris.