Have you ever admired a quilter so much when you see his/her name on an exhibitors list you go out of your way to see the work on display? Ethelda Ellis is a quilter, doctor and teacher based in the midlands in Ireland. I’ve never met her but I am a big fan!
I’m normally drawn to modern graphic quilts but every once in a while a quilt artist will make me stop in my tracks and I have to examine every last detail. Ethelda’s work hits that “look closer” button for me!
I first came across her work through an Irish Patchwork Society exhibition called Explorations. She made this beautiful quilt showing the solar system and the Hubble Space Telescope with some lovely details and embellishments and beautiful quilting. This quilt stuck in my head as I’ve always loved anything space related – I wrote to NASA when I was 7 and got a letter back!
Then I saw her story telling piece in a Hands Across the Border (IPS & Northern Ireland Guild) themed Reflections which I think was voted viewers choice in Dublin. It was the thread detail in the hands that totally grabbed me!
When it was announced at one of our branch meetings that Ethelda was having an exhibition, in the library in Mountmellick, near Portlaoise , I knew I’d have to find the time to go visit. And it did not disappoint. From Irish Scenes to South Africa, Confetti quilts to thread painting, this was a visual treat!
And even this month, I got an opportunity to see one more piece! Paula Rafferty curated an invitational exhibit for National Quilting week this year, themed Freedom. It originally exhibited on Spike Island, a decommissioned prison, but Paula brought it to the Hunt Museum in Limerick where it's on show until September. It’s free entry to the museum on Sundays so the Sunday before last, I dragged mum to visit the museum, as Ethelda had a piece in it that I wanted to see. I think this might just be my favourite of hers so far. Forgive the angle, the quilts are hung in the red stairwell and I'm only 5ft trying to shoot over peoples heads! This one is called Playtime.
What about you – any quilty hero’s you just can’t pass by?