In 2007, a group of ladies in Leominster decorated the streets of their hometown with a brilliant display of quilted banners. Wendy Rulton tells us all about this fantastic achievement.
I met Wendy at Festival of Quilts this summer, where she told me about her involvement in "Leominster in Bloom", a project where banners were made and hung in the streets to represent local shops, businesses and organisations. At the time, I thought the idea of hanging quilted banners through the streets was wonderful, and asked Wendy if she could send me a couple of photos from the event, as it sounded so interesting. Imagine my delight, when I received hundreds of photographs of beautifully made quilts, and realised the scale of this amazing project. The ladies of Leominster should be applauded for this great body of work, I think this is probably one of the most impressive uses of quilts in the wider community. I'd love to see the quilts in-situ in the future.
Wendy says, "The topic for "Leominster in Bloom 2007" was "Know your Roots". As we are a town with strong medieval history, banners using old guild emblems seemed appropriate. I had taught needlework classes in Leominster for many years and many of the ladies joined in, including some members of Leominster Quilt Group. We started in October 2006, hoping to get 40 shops to sponsor us. The main technique was machine applique, using a lot of Bondaweb to make life easier for all sewers. We eventually finished up with 150 banners sponsored by shops and organisations."
The banners are all double sided, with one side illustrated with pictures and text appropriate to the sponsor, and the reverse decorated with heraldic motifs, such as lions, cattle and stylised floral decorations. The smaller pennants were hung across the streets and the larger rectangular banners were hung from existing street furniture.
Wendy praised the people of Leominster for the level of support for the project from local people in the town. "We are a small town and the support we had from local residents was incredible. Much of this was due to the skill of the ladies and the professional look of the banners."
As you can see from the photographs, the banners are extremely professional, and are finished beautifully. Leominster should be very proud to have such a wonderful collection of work. This year the town won a Gold award in Midlands Small Towns in Bloom, and I'm sure that the banners must have impressed the judges hugely. Congratulations to all those involved in this fantastic scheme. The makers of the banners included Jennie Bartlett, Inez Webb, Kaye Fletcher, Jean Granger, Jan Foyle, Christine Loran. Dorothy Hawkins, Brenda Cooper, Wendy Rulton, Leominster Quilters and Almley Craft Group. All the photography and negotiations with council and planning departments was by Fay Butler. Well done ladies, and thank you so much for sharing your work with us!