British Patchwork & Quilting reviews Unconventional & Unexpected alongside Losing the Compass

I am thrilled that Deborah Nash of British Patchwork & Quilting writes about my publication, Unconventional & Unexpected, alongside the exhibition Losing the Compass.

Ms. Nash picks up on many of the beautiful motifs I love about both quilts and the pieces in the exhibition at White Cube, noticing the relationships between accident and chaos with structure. She sees the distortions in the Boetti embroidered pieces amidst the stringent grid; she sees the "wobble" of the quilts' edges in Unconventional & Unexpected. Here are artists and quiltmakers willing to see what happens when you venture outside the grid. Personality happens. All the while Ms. Nash recognizes the need for context and conversations around all of these pieces and how publications and exhibitions can act as a bridge between the fine art and the textile/craft communities. She speaks about the artworks and the quilts in the same language.

Featured are images from the exhibition, as well as quilts from my collection. I am pleased that she chose to feature the brilliantly orange Nine Patch, Virgie Walton's StripesOriginal Design of work clothes, 8 which is included above, and a Log Cabin, variation.

A huge thank you to Ms. Nash and everyone across the pond at British Patchwork & Quilting!

Read "Losing the Compass: Unconventional and Unexpected" in the March 2016 issue of British Patchwork & Quilting.

What I like is its mystery. The square and oblong patches vary in size and number, though not so much that the surface becomes a chaotic jumble. It has an order, but the order changes; sometimes there are six patches in a row, sometimes seven. It ought not to work, but it does. The squares of primary yellow, blue, pale pinks and off-whites are gridded by machine; on top are smaller patterned or coloured squares and then in most, but not all, there’s a wiry motif of a figure eight stitched in dark cotton thread, sometimes looking like a wisp of hair. What does this motif mean? Is it an infinity symbol and not a figure eight at all? There’s a talismanic quality to this quilt that makes me wonder what it would be like to sleep beneath it, what dreams I might have.
— Deborah Nash writing about the "8" quilt attributed to Regina Jarvis

Losing the Compass | Quilts at White Cube, London

I am pleased to share that two of my quilts are part of the exhibition, Losing the Compass, at White Cube's Mason's Yard space. The exhibition was curated by Cameron Weaver and Mathieu Paris, and includes an exceptional group of work.

Losing the Compass

8 October 2015 - 9 January 2016

White Cube, Mason's Yard
25-26 Masons Yard
London SW1Y 6BU
United Kingdom



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Janneken Smucker weighs in

I had the pleasure of interviewing Roderick for my research for Amish Quilts: Crafting an American Icon about his role as a quilt dealer in the 1980s. Although Kiracofe and Kile did not specialize in Amish quilts, they bought and sold many of them, and convinced corporate buyers of their significance. In fact, the first substantial article I read about the Esprit Amish quilt collection was by Michael Kile, published in the 1983 Quilt Digest. The accompanying images of Esprit’s corporate headquarters filled with Amish quilts helped me build my argument about Esprit’s vital role in the promotion of quilts as art objects.
— Janneken Smucker
Janneken and I at AQSG Seminar 2014, Milwaukee. Image courtesy of

Janneken and I at AQSG Seminar 2014, Milwaukee. Image courtesy of

I was so pleased when my friend and colleague Janneken Smucker agreed to write the "quilt history" essay for the book. She is doing an amazing job as part of the next generation of quilt historians. I have always enjoyed following her writing and projects. Be sure to include her newest book, Amish Quilts: Crafting an American Icon, in your quilt library.

Her blog post about Unconventional & Unexpected really captures what I hope people take away from U&U as she concludes: "I hope you join me in looking, reading, and thinking, and then behold these quilts as completely unexpected, yet just what you’ve been looking for."

Read her blog post here.