Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Quilts Help to Fill in the Patchwork of Our History

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Quilts Help to Fill in the Patchwork of Our History

Article excerpt

Byline: TONY HENDERSON Reporter tony.henderson@ncjmedia.com @Hendrover

THE tragic story of Joe the Quilter has taken a happier turn almost 200 years after his death.

Joe the Quilter - elderly widower Joseph Hedley - was killed in his cottage on the outskirts of Warden, near Hexham in Northumberland, in January 1826. The murder of Joe, known for the quilts he crafted in his cottage, was never solved.

But now a replica of one of his quilts has gone on show at English Heritage's Belsay Hall in Northumberland - a transition from humble cottage to stately home that Joe could never have envisaged.

It is among more than 100 quilts on display until Sunday at the hall.

The handmade quilts are made by groups from Northumberland, Tyne and Wear and Durham and in addition there are cushions, pictures and wall hangings.

Quilt-making thrived in the North East in the 19th Century, and the regional branch of the Quilters Guild now has 280 members.

Regional co-ordinator and Belsay exhibition organiser Helen Pringle, who lives in Cramlington, said: "Quilt-making is now very popular. It is creative and people can make up their own designs, either traditional or modern.

"One of the joys of Belsay Hall is that it's a blank canvas. The hall comes alive with the collection of beautiful quilts. We hope that visitors will see these works of art on display and be inspired to take up this wonderful hobby themselves."

A junior section of quilt-makers meets monthly at Beamish Museum in County Durham.

Also on show are quilts made by the regional members as part of the Linus project UK - named after the Peanuts cartoon character Linus, who always carries a comfort blanket.

The project provides quilts for children in hospices, hospitals, premature baby units and women's refuges. …

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