On Wednesday, May 30th, Simon and I drove to Lampeter in West Wales to visit Jen Jones and her Welsh Quilt Centre. On arrival at the old town hall, where Jen has her exhibition and shop, we met the lady herself who retains her american accent tinged with a bit of welsh. Unfortunately, she was expecting a bus load of japanese lady quilters/tourists, so she was not able to give me much time. However, after explaining about myself and the Quilters Guild of SA, she gave permission for me to show her DVD at guild and actually gave me the DVD as a gift. We were escorted around her current exhibition " A Quilted Bridge. The Amish-Welsh Connection" by a staff member, which looked at the close comparison between the welsh quilts and those of the Amish. The similarity was quite amazing but unfortunately we were not allowed to take photographs, a condition laid down by the american museum that had lent the Amish quilts.
I was really disappointed not to be able to share this wonderful exhibition but I did buy a catalogue and a recently published book on the same subject. Jen has a shop in a 17 Century cottage a few miles away in a little hamlet called Llanybydder, where she keeps hundreds, if not thousands of antique welsh quilts which she has found or been given and has lovingly cared for and sells to the likes of me. The cottage was wonderful and to imagine a large family living here along with their farm animals was fantastic. The cottage door opens on to two rooms, either side of the front door,which are lined from floor to ceiling with quilts - not all welsh but from around the world. I fell in love with the first I picked up but it was Canadian and I wanted a welsh quilt, obviously. The prices ranged from the very cheapest at around £60,which were quite worn and in poor condition, to absolute stunners which were way out of my price range. However, the choice came down to two - one a hand-pieced and quilted patchwork one and the one I bought which is a whole cloth with wool batting and in very good condition. It cost a little more than I had saved for but it was worth it. This was the highlight of my trip.