Zwischen Warft und Valley, Between Hill and Valley

A Twinning Partnership combined quilt exhibition in Husum between Forest Quilters of Kidderminster and Storm Quilters of Husum

Kidderminster is twinned with Husum in Nord Friesland in Northern Germany and so Forest Quilters is twinned with Storm Quilters in Husum. In September 2019 Storm Quilters and Forest Quilters exhibited quilts in the Rathaus, the Council House, in Husum. The exhibition was more than 18 months in the making. Storm Quilters is a small group of 13 members yet they produced 50 quilts. Forest Quilters sent 30 quilts and so there was an outstanding exhibition of 80 quilts.

The Rathaus is an amazing construction of steel and glass, built to resemble a ship. The far end is glass and looks out onto the harbour. Husum is at the coast below Denmark. The quilts looked stunning in this beautiful exhibition space.

Storm Quilters and Forest Quilters have a good relationship with many friendships built over several years of meeting together.

Our 30 quilts were driven to Husum from Kidderminster by my husband and myself. Some 2000 miles round trip through France, the Netherlands, Belgium and into Germany. We had an overnight stop in Osnabruck on the way and fortunately had secure parking so that we did not have to unpack the quilts. The quilts had to be in Husum by the beginning of September. 8 more quilters from Forest Quilters travelled by taxi and plane via Manchester & Hamburg to Husum and of course by return too. We were all there for the official opening of the exhibition on Saturday September 7th.

By the time everyone arrived from Kidderminster on the Wednesday, all the quilts had been hung in the Rathaus. They were stunning. I had taken Forest Quilters quilts to the Rathaus on Monday September 2nd and unpacked them. Flat wooden battens had metal eyes screwed into each end then the wooden battens were threaded into the hanging sleeves of the quilts. A different system from the way we hang quilts. This is because the Husum Art Society controls how art work is displayed on the walls and there is a magnificent hanging system similar to that in an art gallery.

Before we went to Husum, a data base was made of all the quilts showing a photograph and the measurements of each quilt. This was emailed to my opposite number, Karin, in Husum. The exhibition team of Storm Quilters led by Frauke, was then able to decide how the quilts would be exhibited together before they got into the Council House.

On that Monday we had copies of this data to enable the quilts to be hung fairly quickly but it still took 4 hours. The next day Storm Quilters and I were back in the Rathaus to label the quilts with the maker’s name and title of the quilt. All this before the Forest Quilters arrived on the Wednesday. Storm quilters worked so hard. They had made a lovely raffle quilt to raise money for the Twinning Partnership in Husum for their work with Husum young people. We discovered that no sleeve had been put on this quilt so that night I sewed a sleeve onto it. I had taken my sewing kit and with Karin supplying fabric and cutting it to length, it was done in no time. Helped along with some excellent German Sekt!

Once the rest of Forest Quilters arrived, the party started. I had the idea of a badge for everyone and Judith Hill of Forest Quilters made the most beautiful design incorporating trees for us and sea for Storm Quilters. Using Judith’s design, we made name badges for everyone and wore these throughout our visit. Not only did Judith design the badge, she also made a larger version which hung at the exhibition and hung on the front of the lectern at the official opening. This will now be the hanging that the two quilt groups will exhibit at  exhibitions.

We enjoyed an excellent programme of visits to the local market, where we were selling the raffle tickets for the quilt, visits to potteries, to a Hallig called Nordstrandischmoor and to the beach. We experienced the whole gamut of Husum weather from horizontal wind and rain to hot sunshine at the beach. And of course, superb food, coffee and cake.

The official opening was attended by the Burgervorstehr, similar to the Mayor but not the Mayor and our Twinning Chairman. They gave very complimentary addresses in both German and English about the importance of Art in the quilts around us. The quilts shone and then everyone had time to go and explore the quilts in their magnificent settings. Later our Husum Twinning Chairman picked out the ticket that would win the quilt. It was a lady who lived in the next village to Husum. The quilt raised a much needed 700 Euros for the Partnership work with young people.

Many friendships were rekindled, memories revisited, lots of fun and laughter, not least due to a viewing of the DVD of the very first visit to Storm Quilters & Husum in 2009. Did they recognise themselves?

We all left with new memories and friendships and Whats App. The quilts were on exhibit for 2 weeks. Eventually ours came home with the kind help of a Husum haulage company that comes regularly to Kidderminster.

 

Pennie Baird-Parker

Forest Quilters