Rows of little near identical houses strike chords of dread in our modern materialistic souls, yet place a string of the same, fabric on fabric, and suddenly the image summons up feelings of cosiness and security. Context is everything and symbols have a condensed meaning which is sometimes difficult to see in the complexity of the real thing. I had relatives who lived in a coal mining village in the Rhondda in South Wales. I only ever visited them twice. The first time I was very small. The village itself had no visible identity apart from the mine paraphernalia – wooden towers topped with ever turning wheels operated the lifting equipment, while on the flat rails etched the ground for the trucks to carry coal and spoil away. I next visited some 20 years later and all industry had been cleared away completely. The valley bottom was returned to green – indeed you could see you were in a valley which you wouldn’t have guessed before. But the strangest thing was the little rows of terraced houses strung along both sides of the valley, half way up, as if sitting ready for some great and long drawn out contest about to take place on the lush green pitch below. Beauty has returned to the valleys of South Wales, but beauty at a price for now there are no jobs. No miner ever wanted their own sons to follow them down the mines. Today many wish they even had that choice.
This quilt belongs to daughter Number 2 who had it on the wall over her bed. From the above photo you can see not all whites are white as I used whatever could be found. I remember fighting with myself over this as a large part of me found the slightly different whites too imperfect. But I made myself do it and then realised that slight variations broke up the quilt in an interesting way The ragged pink stripe fabric was one of those fabrics we loved and I jealously guarded pieces of it until the last few bits went into hexagons for a quilt I made into a curtain. The green was Designers Guild (‘peaweed’, I think) which was useful for being as near to plain as a pattern could be.
The whole quilt was hand pieced over papers and then hand quilted as you see above. All fabrics were medium weight cottons, except for the Designers Guild fabric you can just see above which was almost too thick for the needle to get through because of the way it was printed. As it was always going to be hung on the wall, I used plain white sheeting for the reverse.