Pauline Burbidge. Quiltscapes & Quiltline

28 Nov 2015 — 10 Apr 2016 at The Bowes Museum in Barnard Castle, United Kingdom

26 OCTOBER 2015
Detail of Honesty Skyline by Pauline Burbidge. Photo PB
Detail of Honesty Skyline by Pauline Burbidge. Photo PB

An exhibition of dramatic quilts by Pauline Burbidge opens at The Bowes Museum in November 2015.

Quiltscapes & Quiltline features a collection of new work by this acclaimed textile artist, inspired by the beauty of the rural landscape around her home in the Scottish Borders, where she lives and works.

Burbidge, who has been making quilts professionally for 40 years after studying fashion and textiles at St Martins Art College in London, has divided the work for this latest show, a selling exhibition, into two types: stunning textile landscapes, showing wall quilts (Quiltscapes) alongside original, functional and usable quilts (Quiltline).

“Quiltscapes are like my paintings or collages, made exclusively as wall hangings, whereas the works I call Quiltline are functional, practical, and able to go in the washing machine!” she explained.

She has made seven new quilts especially for the show – creating textile landscapes motivated by rows of plants growing, the land-form, the infinity of the sky above her and the detail of the grass beneath her feet. “I love the changing growth in the changing seasons,” she added.

In creating these new pieces, Burbidge has chosen to explore several techniques new to her, such as *Cyanotype printing, Mono printing, making rubbings on cloth and drawing with crayon and stitch.

“The Cyanotype process uses the sun’s rays to expose light to the fabric, and in doing so creates a wonderful blue colour print,” she explained. “I’ve deliberately put these prints towards the top of my landscapes, as they remind me of blue sky.”

Mono printing is another process that Burbidge has used on recent work, as it is very instant, lending itself wonderfully to fabric collage. She quite often Mono prints smaller areas of cloth then collages them together to create the whole image.

“For this process I use a piece of glass or thick plastic, cover the surface with fabric paint & textile medium, then draw into the surface by scraping the paint away before taking a print of the drawing,” she added. “It’s a one-off image, and I have to work rapidly, before the paint dries. I like this!”

Making rubbings of plant forms and drawing directly onto fabric have also been two processes she has recently explored in her new work, which means selecting the appropriate fabric for the job. Keen to use natural fibres, she often chooses fine cottons or silks.

In the new Quiltline pieces – practical and functional quilts – Burbidge has explored drawing with large fabric crayons, directly onto the fabric. She also draws with her machine stitching line, using what she describes as a ‘very sophisticated large quilting machine’, choosing to draw free-hand with it rather than feed in a repeated pattern. “It stitches free-form wonderfully,” she enthused.

“The world we all live in is so busy and demanding sometimes; it is so great to stop, look, absorb and celebrate the wonderful natural world around us. I try to do this in my work,” she ended.

Quiltscapes & Quiltline by Pauline Burbidge runs from 28 November 2015 until 10 April 2016 before transferring to The Ruthin Craft Centre in North Wales, where it runs from 23 April until 12 July 2016. After this, she is having a one-person exhibition in the USA, at the renowned International Quilt Study Centre Museum (IQSCM), in Nebraska, from 14 October 2016 until 25 March 2017; www.quiltstudy.org

To complement the exhibition, Burbidge is running a three-day non-residential workshop from 3-5 March 2016, exploring a selection of design and printing techniques, including mono and cyanotype printing, and drawing with resistant fluid. Further details are available by calling 01833 690606 or visiting www.thebowesmuseum.org.uk. The workshop is suitable for all abilities.

Burbidge will also give an illustrated talk on 6 March 2016, revealing the creative processes behind the exhibition. Booking is required on 01833 690606.

A series of gallery talks begins on 3 December 2015, continuing 7 January, 4 February, 3 March and 7 April 2016. They commence at 2.15pm and are included in the cost of admission to the Museum.

For further information about Pauline Burbidge see www.paulineburbidge-quilts.com.