For the last few weeks we’ve been planning a creative response to an exhibition by photographer Mark Neville which focuses on conflict-induced Post Traumatic Stress Disorder http://www.markneville.com/battle-against-stigma/
Researching PTSD, its impact and its historical context, we were fascinated to discover that 19th C soldiers recovering from injuries and conditions we may now recognise as PTSD sometimes stitched elaborate patchwork quilts. Some of these quilts still exist and have come to be known as ‘Crimea Quilts’ or ‘Convalescent Quilts’.
One collection of these extraordinary quilts is held at the V&A. Another held by Annette Gero was recently displayed at The American Folk Art Museum, New York:
War and Pieced is the first exhibition in the United States to showcase the spectacularly complex geometric quilts made exclusively by men using richly dyed wools derived from British military and dress uniforms. Once termed “soldiers’ quilts” or “convalescent quilts,” the pieced textiles are most closely associated with the Crimean War as well as conflicts in India, South Africa, and other troubled regions of the British Empire during the nineteenth century. The visual virtuosity of the quilts … assumes a deeper emotional resonance as we consider them within the matrix of war and its aftermath.
The exhibition will be on show at the International Quilt Study Center & Museum, University of Lincoln–Nebraska from May 25 to September 16 2018.