Exhibition of quilted works by Arrange Whatever Pieces Come Your Way opens at Mount Stuart
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Exhibition of quilted works by Arrange Whatever Pieces Come Your Way opens at Mount Stuart
Gather and Arrange by Arrange Whatever Pieces Come Your Way. Photo by Lynette Garland.

ISLE OF BUTE.- Mount Stuart Trust is presenting Gather And Arrange, a new collaboration with artists Arrange Whatever Pieces Come Your Way. This includes an exhibition of quilted works by the artists presented across the historic house, and a project working with island communities on Bute to weave their own stories into newly created quilted pieces, also to be displayed in the house. A third element of the project will see the artists making and constructing a large scale tablecloth to cover the dining room table in the Dining Room at Mount Stuart.

A partnership between Sheelagh Boyce and Annabelle Harty, Arrange Whatever Pieces Come Your Way focuses on a shared interest in architecture, art, food and fashion through the creation of handsewn, architectural quilts and reconstructed fabric works. These are put together from personal loved collections of clothing from friends and family, each provenance significant through the threads of history and emotional attachment. While taking inspiration from traditional American and Japanese quilt making techniques, the pair are not bound to these disciplines and delight in going against the grain.

For the exhibition, a series of Arrange Whatever Pieces Come Your Way quilts have been positioned throughout Mount Stuart, shown over selected pieces of furniture, and placed in the window alcoves along the sea-facing façade of the house where they can be caught by the pools of natural light. The architectural, often modernist roots of the quilts can be read in conjunction and in conversation with the Victorian and Arts and Crafts interiors of Mount Stuart. A triptych portrait of Annabelle’s brother, Fergus Henderson, chef, and founder of the seminal St John restaurant has been hung in the dining room amongst the collection of Bute family portraits. A further textile work - a tablecloth - has been created by the artists for display, made entirely from waiters’ jackets and aprons from St John Restaurant and Rochelle Canteen.

The project will also involve communities and individuals across Bute who will be invited to make their own quilts from their own old and cherished garments. Participating makers will gather used clothes, made special by the person that wore them, the occasion for which they were worn or the patina of wear. Boyce and Harty envisage the history and nature of quilt making as core to the sense of community-led work – the passing on of stories and ideas, both concealed and revealed, through quilts that, as crafted objects, transcend the boundaries of age and stereotype - and will share their skills with community members. Elements of memories, people, places and experiences will be encouraged into the quilts. Each new quilt will be worked on, in workshop format, across the winter months, in Mount Stuart’s conservatory, an area filled with light and originally conceived to look at the stars. Makers will be encouraged to choose, as a starting point, a place, a landscape, a building – it could be the corner shop, an architectural detail, the telephone cables sitting within the landscape. These quilts will then be exhibited in 2022 at Mount Stuart.

“Taking hundreds of hours to produce, each quilt is a unique object that tells its own layered story. It is the intimacy and connection of working closely and by hand with each quilt that forms the bond between the fragments of clothing, their memories, and their histories. A shirt worn and loved for different reasons, whether for celebration or utility, is taken apart. These pieces are then reconstructed by us to form a new story. These stories are brought to life by the movement of the hand stitching across the quilt – its repetition, its skill, its forgivingness, its fallibility.” said Sheelagh Boyce and Annabelle Harty

Sheelagh Boyce was born in Glasgow in 1969. She studied education and taught in Primary Schools in Glasgow for 20 years. Sheelagh lived in Berlin with her partner, Martin Boyce and two sons from 2005 – 2007. She studied quilting under the master sewer, Patricia McIndoe in Glasgow from 2013 – 2016, before establishing Arrange Whatever Pieces Come Your Way with Annabelle Harty. She has travelled extensively and has a strong interest in architecture, art and design. Through the combination of teaching and nurturing her interest in the arts she has developed a strong understanding of the importance of design and communication.

Annabelle Harty was born in London in 1965. Having worked at the Royal College of Art and lived in Havana, Cuba she studied Architecture at the Mackintosh School of Architecture in Glasgow. In her year out Annabelle worked for Martorell, Bohigas and Mackay in Barcelona on the Olympic Village, before returning to complete her Diploma in Florence and Glasgow. After graduating, she worked for Benson + Forsyth for five years on the Museum of Scotland project in Edinburgh. She is a model maker and skilled crafts person and in 2002 formed Henderson Press, a publishing business, through which she handmade artist’s books. She established Harty and Harty Architects in 1997 with her partner, Stephen Harty, where she still practices.

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