Stories from Quilt of Stories, first performed at Story Fridays, 13th March 2015, Burdall’s Yard, Bath
In 2012, my beloved mother, Su Elliott, died aged 82. When my sister and I were clearing out my parents’ house we found a suitcase. In it was my mother’s patchwork quilt. I remember her making this quilt for the whole of my life. It was made out of dresses from the 1950s, curtains from the 1960s, blouses and skirts from the 1970s and 1980s – clothes that my mother sewed in the days when everyone made their own clothes, clothes that I remember her wearing. And indeed, that I wore: there are hexagons of my pyjamas when I was four, the first sundress I made as a teenager, the dress I wore to my brother’s speech day when I was seven. My mother never finished the quilt, but the suitcase was full of carefully cut out blocks, ready and waiting to be sewn.
I am not a seamstress, and left to me the quilt would still be in the suitcase. However, this seemed a shame, so I got in touch with Emily Langdon (those of you who know Story Fridays will recognise the name – Emily is Olly Langdon of Kilter Theatre’s sister). Emily is a stunningly talented crafter-maker. She took my mother’s quilt and she finished it, creating a glorious object that is beautiful to behold. (You can see more of Emily’s work here.)
We all looked at the quilt, and wondered if there was a way to celebrate it. And then we thought – we could make it into a Story Friday. We had stories from Elaine Miles, Julie Green, Christine Roberts, Adrian Paul, Julie Hayman, Martin Phillips and Clare Reddaway. You can listen the stories the quilt inspired below.
Here are some fab tweets from our audience at Quilt:
‘Really really lovely evening of storytelling at Burdall’s Yard. Will be back!’
‘Great performances and skilful writing. Bravo! Inspiring’
‘Fantastic, earthy, funny, moving stories’
My Mother’s Quilt, written and read by Clare Reddaway. A piece about the quilt that inspired the evening, and the memories it evokes.
Evelyn In The Afternoon, written and read by Adrian Paul. Listen to Adrian tell the story of an old lady’s sampler.
Elaine’s charming and poignant story, One of the Family, is read (due to Elaine’s illness) by Clare Reddaway.
We are transported to Maryland and the American Civil war in Martin Philips’ story Antietam Shroud, read by Caroline Garland.
Julie Hayman’s poignant story Little Birds introduces us to an old lady and her beloved quilt. It is read by Oliver Langdon:
Christine Roberts takes us to Chile and remembers Pinochet’s regime in her punchy story Pinochet’s Patchwork:
Finally, the audience cackled with laughter at Julie Green’s Crafty Foxy Ladies in What Goes Up:
We’d like to thank John Breese and Charlotte Carrivick for their playing at our event, and to Burdall’s Yard, as ever.
We were again very proud to team up with Bath Libraries for this event. The quilt was displayed at the Library in February and March – see pictures below. Emily, who finished the quilt, is running a parallel project called Quilt of Memories through her company WeFabricate. She is looking for memories to make a paper quilt. For more information click here.
For those of you who know about these things, I believe the quilt pattern to be ‘Grandmother’s Flower Garden’. Here are some pictures: