I counted 22 people in one hour enjoying the opening of Chris Hammacott’s Solas Quilter in Residence Exhibition today and several more after the hour such as the Rev Ian Campbell and his wife, who dropped by afterwards to have a look at the beautiful and very personal quilted pieces at An Lanntair’s Mezzanine Gallery.
I was very moved by the fact that, in the end, every person decided to share their quilted piece with us all in the gallery. The pieces meant so much to people that it was a wrench to give them up for ten days.
Many of the visitors were relatives of the people involved, who heard about the project and wanted to come and see for themselves. Some people had seen their relative’s piece and been intrigued to see the others.
It was fantastic to see people sharing recognition of some of the people, sharing their own stories and inspecting the workmanship and intricacy involved. The backdrop of the Christmas lights was fantastic and the drink sand nibbles went down so well. Round two of everything left over went down really well in the staff room too!
Many thanks to everyone involved and to Life Changes Trust for funding this important work. Alzheimer Scotland Lewis & Harris Branch Manager Marion MacInnes is funding the work to continue through January and possibly beyond.
Some of the questions were:
‘How long did this one take?’ ‘About 12 hours’
‘Was this hand guided stitching?’ ‘Definitely, yes’
‘Are these vintage fabrics?’ ‘Some are, some are new and newly woven’
‘What about the colours?’ ‘These are favourite colours of the person’
‘How long are these up for?’ ‘Ten days, until 22nd’
Some comments were:
‘What incredible craftsmanship!’
‘I love the way Chris has interpreted the personal stories and come up with these!’
‘These are beautiful’
‘I can just imagine these pieces having a life’
‘These will be looked after with real care, not like something you buy and just chuck on the bed, these are real heirlooms’
‘What a talent!’
‘I love the cotton printing for the images’
‘I have a real sense of the people’s lives’
‘The day centre does some lovely work’
‘You can’t not touch them, they beg to be touched, so tactile’
‘I saw some of these waiting to go up in the An Lanntair office, I was touching them and wondering if that was okay, they are so tactile. And colourful.’