Monday, September 27, 2010

the Story behind the quilt

There’s a little town on the Yorkshire coast I’ve always loved.  It’s Whitby…Captain Cook sailed from there to discover various islands (some quite large!) in the South pacific, also bestowing upon some of the inhabitants various “gifts” including STDs……And of course Dracula sailed to Whitby (albeit in a coffin at the time) bringing myth and legend!  Now they even have a Dracula festival!  But the Whitby I knew had nothing to do with any particular characters, real or imagined.  Instead it is the place itself that always charmed me.  The nooks and crannies, the long stone steps worn with age up and down the cliffs, the old buildings, the best crab sandwiches ever, the abbey, and the youth hostel where we stayed, the cliffs full of fossils, the bustle of boats in the harbour, the really neat knitting shop!
  Whitby is located on the estuary of the River Esk and is built on the steep sides of the valley.  To get there you drive across the North York Moors which are magical in themselves, especially when the heather’s in bloom.  


I love making quilts about places – people say “oh you’re the one that  makes cityscapes” – but I see my quilts much more as ‘placescapes’.  I try to get something of what I feel about a particular place into the quilt..whether the place  is a real city like York  ,





or an imagined underwater “drowned city”                                                                                                   




seen across the Mersey…







or water under cliffs

cement works 300


or a local factory:






My memories of Whitby were about the sights, the 383214-R1-E016sounds, the smells and the kinaesthetic movement – the climbing and climbing of all the steps!  So I had to do a quilt about the steps – this was one of my many photographs of the old alleys…which are mainly steps!I loved the way the steps are worn, the old stone houses and the feel of the stone, the sense of going up and up, the contrast of the old fisherman’s houses with the Victorian one at the top.


I made the first quilt…and liked the idea so much, I made another one working from the same image:



Both quilts are happy in new homes now – one on the West Coast and one on the East Coast of the US…but I have all the memories!



If you have been, thanks for reading!!  Elizabeth

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