Here's the theme as expressed by Ruth Battersby-Tooke, the exhibit curator, on the exhibit blog: "...we have collected people's stories as well as the objects .... that had relevance to the idea of making textiles as a therapeutic art. Not only an occupational therapy, a meaningful and structured way of busying the hands to still the mind, but also a powerful way to communicate, a creative and expressive way to release an inner voice." (The photo above is from the exhibit blog.)
Since I'm not planning a trip to England any time soon, I've been enjoying the photos on the blog about the exhibit. Hint - different photos pop into the header bar each time I reload the page. Also, here is an in-depth article about a couple of pieces in the exhibition.
I find this topic so fascinating.
I am reminded of a couple of quilts at an early-on quilt exhibit I was lucky enough to see at the Oakland Museum in 1981. The exhibit was called "Hearts and Hands", and spawned a classic book and film. I remember a stunning cluster of quilts made with amazing and unusual deep, smoky blues and purples, glowing against a background of charcoal greys. Upon reading the accompanying labels, I learned that the quilts had been dipped in black dye by the maker. In fact, she went through a period of such deep depression that she dyed everything in the house black. To their credit, her heirs had kept these quilts as a tribute to her and her struggles. Most powerful.
I am also in mind of a wonderful book and film showing the appliqué and embroidery pictures made by Esther Krinitz, chronicling her childhood memories of her escape during the Holocaust. The Galleries tab will take you to a page with images of the embroideries.
Here's a quilt I made when my first child was a toddler. She was born shortly after both my mother and uncle died. I really did feel that I was standing at the revolving door between Life and Death. The quilt expresses transition between these two realms. It is called "Beginning." Making it was very healing for me. More of its story is on my website.
It has been one of my most notable and successful quilts, and I am sure it has to do with the depth of the feeling and the personal message that inspired it. In and of itself, it is mostly grey, which is not much of an attention-grabbing color after all.