Quilts and their stories revealed in ‘Things we do in Bed’ Exhibition at Danson House, Bexleyheath

There are just a few days left to see ‘Things we do in Bed’ an exhibition of quilts at Danson House in Bexleyheath. It’s actually far more exciting than it sounds and don’t worry there are no human re-enactments to worry about. Curated by historical novelist Tracy Chevalier, these quilts, and their accompanying texts, reveal the hopes, dreams, thoughts and inner turmoil of the people who have made them, in both modern and bygone times, and it makes you think about textiles in a whole new way.

It’s an exhibition I’ve wanted to see for ages, so I was absolutely delighted to discover this coverage of it on the fantastic ‘Art-e-facts’ blog written by Katherine Alston. Katherine shares my love of object related stories and I’m extremely grateful to her for allowing me to share her visit to the exhibition with you…..

not my words but the title of a quilt exhibition in Danson House, Bexleyheath.
Wait! before you stop reading because needlework isn’t your thing…
…I give you stories of Birth, Sleep, Sex, Illness and Death
The quilts are made by many different people:
The anonymous to mark a birth, the carers of the dying, the sufferer of depression, the widow, the wife, the daughter, the grieving, artists, prisoners, men, women, makers from the 18th, 19th, 20th and 21st centuries.
Looking at this list, there are some pretty significant events in people’s lives that have been marked by the making of a quilt.
Birth
Quilts can provoke debate. Here Grayson Perry responds to the abortion debate, and perhaps the messiness of giving birth. Mind you this quilt is incredibly ordered, rhythmical and symetrical.
No mess, no disorder.
This quilt was made for a baby in the 18th century.
This photo only begins to show how incredibly fine and delicate the stitching is.
This quilt was made later in the 19th century, again for a cot.
Each piece of fabric probably has its own story to tell.
And you can find them by reading the rest of Katherine’s post here.

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Rachael Hale (Homes and History Magpie)

Freelance home interiors and Kent history writer. Frequently found in dusty old buildings and 'Kent Life' magazine. Find me via Twitter - @rachaelhale1 Read my home interiors and history blog - www.historymagpie.com

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