Deb McGuire is a quilt maker, columnist and quilt historian, studying for a Masters postgraduate degree in the School of History, Philosophy and Culture at Oxford Brookes University, supervised by Prof. Joanne Begiato and Dr. Sally Holloway.
Deb’s research work explores the emotional history of stitched domestic textiles asking how embroiderers and quilt makers of the past used their making to create and preserve their personal and family memories, but also to establish their legacy for future audiences. Exploring the stitched phrase ‘Remember Me’ which occurs on quilts, stitched samplers and other domestic textiles, Deb asks, who wanted to be remembered? What did they want future audiences to know of them, and what can we learn about makers lives and their own agency when they worked? This research study includes examination of textiles in relation to emotions such as grief, homesickness, societal dislocation as well as love, care and memory. This study spans the human lifecycle, mapping the role of domestic making from the cradle to the grave. Deb’s work is situated in the fields of emotions history, material history and domestic and family history; exploring the central role of domestic stitched textiles in families, and for individuals as a tool to express a sense of personal identity and family history between 1790-1890.
A paper from this wider research ‘Remember Me – Love, Loss and Legacy. British Memorial Quilts’, will be published in the academic journal Quilt Studies in 2022 and presented at the BQSG Conference in Oct 2021.
Deb is a member of the British Quilt Study Group and the American Quilt Study Group and sits as an advisor on the Collections Committee of the Quilters’ Guild of the British Isles Museum Collection. Deb writes a regular column ‘Notes on Quilting’ for The Quilter Magazine that reflects on contemporary trends in quiltmaking and relates them to the history of the practice. Deb contributed to the BBC Radio 4 program Moving Pictures episode exploring the Ann West Coverlet from the V&A. Deb is a traditional hand quilter, making modern versions of historical vernacular British quilts for her family to enjoy today, and maybe, one day, to remember her by.