Cover stories: quilts inspired by architecture and design on show at Glasgow’s Modern Institute
Arrange Whatever Pieces Come Your Way creates unique, handmade covers inspired by art, architecture and apparel – now on view at The Modern Institute, Glasgow, until September 2022
Friends for more than three decades, Annabelle Harty and Sheelagh Boyce joined forces on a creative project inspired by their mutual love for art and architecture. In 2018, the pair launched Arrange Whatever Pieces Come Your Way, a growing collection of handcrafted quilts inspired by architecture and landscape, reproducing images from their personal collections, travel memories and ideas.
Referencing works by iconic architects and forgotten buildings, scenic vistas mixed with more conceptual images, the pair use materials from garments they gather from family and friends, imbuing each piece they create with a deeper, personal meaning. Four of their quilts are now on view at The Modern Institute, Glasgow (until September 2022), showing their diverse approaches to the medium and their inspirations.
For Quilts 37 and 38, Boyce and Harty used an Issey Miyake plantation dress, the garment’s pattern subtly reflected in the quilts’ shapes.
True to form, each quilt is defined by architectural and historical references: the designs feature a nod to the neolithic standing stones of Avebury, whose shape is traced on blue fabric. On the back, Quilt 37 is defined by the silhouette of the Inverkip power station, a 1970s building that was decommissioned shortly after completion due to the 1973 oil crisis and never operated as intended.
The duo’s interest for demolished or never realised structures is reflected on the back of Quilt 38, characterised by a rendering of the imposing Pinkston cooling tower, a 1950s building originally conceived to generate electricity for Glasgow’s tramway and subway system.
Infusing the collection with colour, Quilt 39 features a yellow and blue cotton textile from a Nathalie du Pasquier shirt, while the more subtle reverse features three pairs of gym shorts.
‘This is the first time Arrange Whatever Pieces Come Your Way has incorporated a patterned fabric, focusing on the quality and consistency of the print in contrast to the pink backing, tonally displaying the wear and use of the material,’ reads a note accompanying the exhibition. ‘The geometry of the dissected shorts on the reverse focuses on the space around the squares and the central line that connects the three garments.’
For Quilt 40, Boyce and Harty chose to focus on negative space (something they experimented with in previous quilts). For this piece, they used workers’ jackets, whose pockets and functional details are still visible on the surface, in brown, green and orange, counterbalanced with white to enhance the negative space concept. This piece is exemplary of the duo’s work, merging personal connections, fashion and architecture: the white back, they explain, is constructed from the nightshirts of Harty’s father, architect Brian Henderson, which are ‘intricately pieced together, with a black dome at the bottom, an homage to the power station, Sizewell B, which Henderson designed’. §