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Colourful creations by Pontypridd-based ‘art-quilt maker’ Anne Smith go on display at the Level One Gallery at Rhondda Heritage Park from 14th January. Why not pop along for a great family day out.

Anne Smith was the first British artist to win the prestigious biennial Quilt National competition in the USA. Her quilt, Calon Lan, inspired by the old Welsh hymn was judged Best of Show in 2009 out of almost 1,000 entries from all over America and 13 other countries. The quilt has toured the USA for two years and has just arrived back from Ohio and will be included in the art & craft exhibition.

Anne’s interest in textiles started at school, where she was the only student to study embroidery. She recalls how: “A nun, Sister Bernadette, came in every week to teach me stitches and techniques. I learned the traditional methods of stitch, for example I made a priest’s vestment using ‘counted thread’ work and Hardanger embroidery”

Her interest has, over time, become a personal project called ‘The Painterly Quilt’, which involves a Fine Art approach to Craft. Her work is part planned, part improvised, attempting to combine the vitality and movement of abstract painting with the slow pace and craftsmanship of quilt making. She enjoys working in an abstract way because it suits her intuitive approach. A visit to see her work sounds like the perfect recipe for a great family day out during the winter months.

“I love to search the charity shops for kids' clothes with bright colours and patterns. Some of the garments are so beautiful that I hate to cut them up, but maintaining a collection of useful bits is a vital part of the process. If I was painting I could mix exact colours. Instead I dip into my great collection of recycled coloured and patterned fabrics”.

She has a great respect for the traditions and the craftsmanship of quilt making and at the same time admires the innovative directions that contemporary American art-quilt makers are moving in.

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