At the end of September the Western Branch exhibition opened in a new venue, the ground floor of the Geata na Cathrach building near the Radisson Hotel in Galway. It was a great empty space that had already been used for exhibitions and our thanks to John Hughes and Sarah Healy who made it available to us. The quilting elves moved in on Wednesday,Thursday and Friday to give it a final clean and to hang our lovely quilts.With a fair bit of passing trade going to the Tax Office and the Radisson, we hung 5 of our Cú na Mara panels in the entrance hall to attract attention. They really looked spectacular and drew a lot of interest from those attending the Tattoo Convention in the hotel over the weekend. Expect to see a Cú na Mara tattoo on an upper-arm near you some time soon!
The official opening of the exhibition took place on Culture Night and was performed by the Mayor of Galway City, Padraic Conneely. City Arts Officer, James Harrold who had given us great publicity in culture night brochures, also spoke, drawing attention to the beauty and variety of the quilts. Altogether there were 40 pieces on display and this doesn't include the A3 alphabet quilts which were made as an exhibition challenge and will be donated to COPE Galway for their playroom.There were some traditional quilts such as Agnes Feeney's Double Irish Chain, beautifully hand-quilted; Mari Moran's 'My Country Quilt' also hand-quilted. Sally Marrable made a LUDO quilt which was very playful and sat very nicely beside Isabelle Foyle's 'Tessellations' in zingy colours. Christine Widmer, Veronica Coyne, Mary Madden and Madeleine Jordan showed VERY big bedquilts. Madeleine also had some smaller art-quilts one of them based on zendoodles (don't ask: google it)and new'ish' member Shanna Corrigan showed a whole cloth, sun-dyed piece which she had randomly machine quilted according to where the colours were. Agnes Warren showed a small, foundation pieced Mariner's Compass: 'Lead Me Home' with a lovely Flying Geese border.
Of the Viewers Choices, the out and out winner was Joan Colleran's Sunbonnet Sue piece: 'A Girl for all Seasons. This quilt was in the post to America the morning after the quilts came down so that the doting grandmother could present it to her grand-daughter in person. Other viewer's favourites included Agnes Feeney's Irish Chain; Margaret Cunnane's indigo sampler: 'Sea Fever'; Bernie Falvey's 'Hearts' and Jackie O'Toole's 'Trip Around the World'. The Alphabet quilts proved a great hit and were quite a spectacle when hung altogether. Ciara Tierney of COPE was pleased to accept them at our October meeting. It's great to have the incentive to finish quilts for such an exhibition. If you can draw visitors in, it is one of the best ways to introduce people to patchwork and quilting because they not only see the variety of quilts but also get a chance to talk to the people who have made them. We welcomed several new members to our September meeting who had been at the exhibition. Time now to put the thinking cap on for a quilt for the National Exhibition in July 2104!!!! It never ends, does it?