Talking Quilts Oral History Project

Volunteers with Project Manager Vicky Martin.

Conducted over a three year period, April 2014 to March 2017, Talking Quilts was an exciting three-year, community based oral history project with aims to document, preserve and share the UK’s rich and diverse quilting heritage.
Talking Quilts captured the stories of today’s quiltmakers in their own words through recorded and transcribed interviews, together with photographs of their quilt. The project provides an opportunity for the public to learn about our quilting heritage through the stories of the quilters themselves.

The project was supported by the Quilters’ Guild of the British Isles and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The free Talking Quilts digital archive of these stories is now housed on a dedicated website which is maintained and managed by The Quilters’ Guild of the British Isles. http://www.talkingquilts.org.uk/

We urge you to visit the site to listen to these wonderful, inspiring and often moving stories and to view the super quilts produced by those quilters who took part.

Inspiration

The project was inspired by the Quilters’ Save Our Stories (QSOS) project organised by Quilt Alliance in the USA, which, for 11 years has recorded more than 1,000 interviews across the country. Whilst there are excellent sources of published information about the textile history in the UK, we lack an archive that captures the memories and stories of everyday quilters. Talking Quilts builds on a successful pilot study carried out using adapted QSOS methods by Dr Pauline Macaulay with volunteers from London Quilters.

Heritage Lottery Fund Support

Dr Fiona Spiers, Head of HLF Yorkshire and the Humber, commented: “Quiltmaking has a strong traditional craft base and broad volunteer following. It is important that we recognise and celebrate the commitment and passion of quiltmakers and their contribution to the UK’s heritage. The Talking Quilts project will preserve this unique heritage by bringing its stories to life, letting everyone get involved and share their past.”

Our grateful thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund for enabling this project to take place.