Did you know that the American Museum in Bath has visiting quilting groups to take part in quilting bees in the quilt exhibition room throughout March to October, once a week on a Tuesday?
Tuesday August 21st I travelled to Bath with 3 other members, Julia, Lin and Karen from the Puriton Quilters group to take part in a quilting bee. The group has been doing this once a year for many years, this was my first time as work or some other event has gotten in the way of me joining in.
I visited the American Museum many years ago when at school, I can’t remember what age I was but it must have been at junior school as the sewing bug had not yet got me, that came when I started secondary school, so I imagine I was 10 or 11 when I went. It was going to be interesting in what, if anything I could remember about the place at a young age.
On arrival nothing came to memory of my previous visit, although the house did look familiar but was that through seeing photographs of it over the years? We booked in, we were issued badges and entered the hallway, climbed the elegant staircase into the quilt room. Oh my, I just knew I had been in this room before, it was exactly as it had been all those years ago, the quilts didn’t jog any memory, but the room, and the wall displays and the hanging display cupboards all looked familiar. Recalling these memories, quilts I think, must have entered my blood stream then and there.
We had a little bay window area in which to sit and stitch and are only able take along something small due to the limited room. I took along my hexagons that will eventually become a table cloth. Between us we were doing embroidery, applique and a little quilting, due to light exposure damage to the fabrics the window shutters are semi closed to protect the displayed quilts, therefore sitting close to the windows was a must! Although that was no hardship as the view to the outside was stunning, so whichever way we looked we had great views, quilted fabric or quilted nature that made up the outside scenery.
Whilst sitting stitching you get to see the majority of the visitors to the room and to meet various characters, groups and fellow quilters. We had a coach tour of wine tasters come through who chatted with us about their group and us to them about ours. It was surprising how many of the visitors were motor-home users and were either on route to their holiday destination or on their way home. We were shown various photos from others of work that they had done or had found and rescued and all were very interested in what we were working on.
During your time taking part in the quilting bee and as long as a couple are still on ‘duty’ you are able to take yourself off and explore the delights of the whole place and use all the facilities available with the added bonus of 10% discount from the canteen. Walk the gardens, although at the time of our visit the garden was limited due to extensive overhaul of the grounds.
On stepping into the Indian exhibition again I had an alarming recollection of seeing all this before and all so very familiar. The memories of a childhood trip came flooding back again. Listening and watching a group of four Americans discuss what they were seeing added to the small amount of time I was able to spend in there.
A further visit, will, I hope not be long in coming, where I can just spend as long as I want at each and every little piece of the place that catches my eye, attention and imagination. And learning that the quilts change every year, I think this needs to be an annual visit!
If this is something you would be interested in doing then you need to contact Abigail Godfrey via email
List of other contacts here including: Marketing, Catering, Gardening & Volunteering
This is an interesting link to a blog on the photographing the quilts during the winter months.
The quilts are changed once every year and here is the link on quilt storage.
Please excuse the quality of the photographs following as most of them are behind glass and you are not allowed to use your flash light, I have done the best under the conditions set. Here is a link that will take you to the quilt and textiles page where you can find out more information to many of these.
If you get the opportunity to visit then please do, whether as part of a sewing bee or just visiting the area, you will not be disappointed.
Date for your diaries:
March to October 2019 they have an all new
Kaffe Fassett exhibition