News

Textile Artist and Patchworker - Jennifer Campbell Kirk- London Craft Week 2017- May 08, 2017 19:57

As part of London Craft Week, Jennifer opened the doors of her virtual London quilt studio to take you on a journey behind the scenes where she beautifully handcrafts fine patchwork quilts handmade to order.

Jennifer's craft is deeply rooted in history and narrative taking inspiration from historical quilts and patterns from 1750 to 1950, looking at the significance of the names behind these antique quilts.

Jennifer often likes to experiment with mark-making as inspiration for her handmade quilts. Here is a rare opportunity to see one of Jennifer's art work which she created using inks and wooden blocks for mark making. She originally trained as an Arts Therapist so no surprise here that she took inspiration from Hermann Rorschach's psychological inkblot tests. It is entitled 'The Grid'

Follow Jennifer's journal for more rare behind the scenes peek into her individual and passionate work of her gorgeous handmade quilts.


The Perfect Mother of the Bride Gift February 18, 2017 23:58

I was so moved last week when I met my client Mai at my Regent Street Office to hand over this lovely handmade patchwork quilt.

 

As the mother of the bride she wanted to commission a quilt that would be a very special wedding gift for her daughter.  Commissioning a wedding quilt is easier than you might think and begins with a conversation with us. You can call or email and we would be delighted to assist you.

 

(Bear Paw variation quilt)

Mai told me she wanted to show her daughter how much she loved her and she thought that a bespoke wedding quilt would be the perfect unique gift.

It can be difficult to know what to buy for your daughter as a wedding gift as the Mother of the Bride. You want something extra special that is sentimental and an heiroom. A handmade wedding Quilt is all that and more and because you choose exactely what you want it becomes so personal and is a gift no one else can give.

It took many hours to stitch this lovely Custom Wedding Quilt so I am delighted Mai loved it!

If you are thinking of commissioning a very special handmade Wedding Quilt and you think I am the right Wedding Quilt-Maker for you, then please contact me, it would be an honour to help.

 

Jennifer x


Our Keepsake Quilts have been endorsed by Whos The Mummy Top Blogger! November 03, 2016 01:24

We are so delighted Jennifer's Keepsake Memory Quilts from baby clothes received a raving review and was endorsed by Top Mummy Blogger in the UK Sally Whittle of Whose The Mummy.

 Read the review click here

Want one too? Click here

 

 


From bereavement to business: how London based quilt-maker coped with loss and started a quilt business along the way June 23, 2016 21:21

With the first anniversary of the death of my mother-in-law approaching, the timing of this interview with Regus magazine has become such a meaningful tribute.

After losing both parents in quick succession, it was my mother-in-law who taught me the art of patchwork and quilting to help me overcome my grief.

Quilts have a way of being so symbolic. Pieces of cloth are cut into pieces and stitched together again to create something whole, to create a new quilt. My life too felt like it was in pieces after losing both parents but making handmade quilts gave me a new lease of life and put me back together again.

I was drawn to patchwork quilts because of their symbolism and meaning. Quilts hold story and narrative about people and every handmade quilt I make, my story is connected to the stories of the past, stories of the present and future stories of my clients.

That's why my quilts are handmade to order, so I can hold each client in mind as I stitch each quilt

Making bespoke handmade quilts, particularly keepsake memory quilts and memorial quilts and wedding quilts to commemorate and celebrate life has been such an honour for me.

I am so grateful to my late mother-in-law for passing down to me the art of patchwork and quilting.

I am so lucky to have been able to create a handmade business from such adversity.

Read my interview with Regus magazine here

 


Throw Back..... British Entrepreneurship at Makegood June 04, 2016 20:31

This time in June a couple of years ago, I was in the middle of an exciting three day Festival for creative startups, Makegood, a celebration of culture, creativity and British entrepreneurship.

I had launched my handmade quilt business the previous year at the prestigious Somerset House, London and so this was an exciting opportunity to be featured among the best British start-up talent. 

The festival took place at the trendy Old Selfridges Hotel in London, the perfect location to celebrate British handmade luxury and creativity.

This was my cute stand.

Can you see the supersized retro hexagon quilt in the background? It is made from organic linen and super soft wool that was so tactile, everyone couldn't stop stroking it.

I made this hexagon quilt especially for my stand for a bold artistic statement. As a brand that strives to be ethical, I really dislike waste, so each vibrant quilt block was upcycled into a stunning cushion.

Also wool is biodegradable and is a natural insulator so helps prevent the loss of energy thus reducing carbon emissions. 

 20 luxurious cushions were made in total, each one filled with superior duck feather and is one of a kind. I couldn't believe how fast they sold at my pop-up events.

Special Offer

I've just got three of these exquisite cushions left so for a limited time you can grab yours here for half price! Offer ends 30 June or until stock lasts!

 Ladies Who Impress

Among the many interesting people I met at Makegood, I had the wonderful pleasure of meeting Jana Bakunina, the talented blogger at Ladies Who Impress who blogs about the 'inspiring stories of amazing women'.

There were over a hundred creative business at the Festival so I was so delighted that Jana chose Vintage and Floral quilts in her top 5 creative British businesses to shout about.

I am really terrible about sharing the kind words people say about my handmade quilts, but better late than never. Read all about it here.

 

 Jennifer x

 

 


British Quilt-Maker of handmade quilts-London Craft Week May 07, 2016 21:53

To celebrate London Craft Week Jennifer's opening the virtual doors of her quilt studio for an exclusive look behind the scenes.
How do you start your design process?
Well, first I search through historical quilt records for inspiration which can take hours. I then choose quilts and patterns that resonate with me and then spend more time finding out the names and stories behind them. I studied Museums at University so I have always had a passion for history, people and narrative.
So what is the next stage?
My next stage is to begin sketching a few ideas. My main reason for doing this is to work
out the dimensions for the different quilt sizes.
Once finished I spend some time thinking about the purpose of the quilt, how it will be used and what  fabric to choose: cotton, linen, wool, silk or perhaps bamboo. I also spend time selecting the right shade of quilting thread.
What thread do you use?
I use Aurifil. I am really lucky that I am sponsored by them.  I actually approached Aurifil because I was so amazed by their quality, they are an Italian company based near Milano and specialise in producing cotton threads for quilters.  They really are the best. Aurifil threads are made from superior long staple Egyptian Mako Cotton, which is grown in a similar way to wine grapes and apparently it is the actual climate that creates the quality of the thread! Also their cotton is double mercerised, a process which makes the cotton stronger, smoother and shiner. I refuse to use anything else. I think it is great for a British brand to collaborate with a European partner.
What other quilting  tools and equipment do you use?
I am really fussy about the quilting tools I use. As a perfectionist, I spend a lot of time searching for quilting tools of a really high standard
I use a self-healing mat and rotary cutter to ensure accuracy and I always replace the blade and change the needle on my sewing machine when I start a new project. I find it puts me in a creative state of mind and I know the end result will be perfect.
Tells us about your process of actually making the quilt
Once I sketch my quilt design, I measure and cut all my fabric in one go and then piece them together. My handmade quilts are stitched by both machine and hand so can take many hours to complete. 
How do you feel about your quilts when they are finished, do you struggle to give them to your clients?
I invest so much of myself into my quilts. I give my time, love and creativity that I feel such a connection to my quilts during the making process. All my quilts are handmade to order as I like to hold each client in mind as I stitch each quilt. Quilts are so personal as they are beautiful objects that we usually place on a bed. The bedroom is an intimate space and so I see the art of quilt-making as being intimate. For me quilts hold their own stories; past, present and future.  It is an honour to be a part of this quilt story with my clients.

London Craft Week- meet the quilt-maker May 05, 2016 23:13

  In celebration of the 2nd year of London Craft Week, Jennifer will be opening the virtual doors of her quilt studio to give you a rare peek behind the scenes.

Discover the British Quilt-Maker's creative design process, her ingenuity and expert skill in making luxury quilts of the highest quality.

Jennifer will give you VIP access into the magic of handcrafting bespoke /custom quilts to commission and will share why commissioning British craft especially commissioning quilts is much easier than you might think.

Go on a hidden journey with Jennifer as she invites you into her intimate world of quilt making. She will share her passion on how she starts a quilt project drawing upon historical inspirations that go from sketch to handmade heirloom for sale here on her website.

Discover how her passion for handmade and bespoke quilts deeply rooted in histories and stories from 1750 to 1950 re-interprets antique quilts for contemporary design, sort after by private and commercial clients.

Meet Jennifer and step into her exquisite world of quilts.



Handmade Antique Quilts at the 35th Dallas Quilt Show April 16, 2016 21:51

 Recently I visited the 35th Anniversary of the Dallas Quilt Show which was such an inspiration. To mark the anniversary the well know American Quilt collector and historian Gerald E. Roy, exhibited 35 quilts for 35 years: A sampling of Quilts from the Pilgrim/Roy Collection- Quilts from 1830 to 1940.

 Gerald E. Roy with Moravian Baskets Quilt, Ephrata, Pennsylvania  c.1880

 

The 35 Quilts were divided into 7 traditional quilt patterns: Basket, Touching Stars, Log Cabin, Split Nine Patch, House, Double Wedding Ring and Ocean Wave with 5  quilts displayed of each pattern.

 Log Cabin Straight Furrow Quilt, Pennsylvania c.1860

 

I am not ashamed to tell you, that I spent three hours with these exquisite quilts and could have easily spent more. Gerald gave a knowledgeable talk about his collection including the stories behind the quilts and why he purchased and chose them for the exhibition. I think it is astonishing that Gerald was able to select 35 quilts out of a collection of 2,500!

 Double Wedding Ring Variation Quilt, Texas-1930

 

 

 African American Double Wedding Ring Variation Quilt, Georgia c.1920

 

The exhibition featured handmade antique quilts made by Amish, Mennonite, Morovian and African American communities and the unique artistic styles attributed to these groups. 

 Touching Stars Quilt, Pennsylvania-1880

 

Gerald's talk highlighted the non traditional use of colour in these beautiful antique quilts (he used to be an Art teacher) and how these creative and innovative women were experimental in using medium dark and dark colours together instead of juxtaposing dark tones against a white/light background, common among quilters of their day.

Ohio Amish Ocean Waves Variation Quilt  c.1920

 

I am always struck by how modern and timeless some of these antique quilts look and the limited tools women had available to handcraft such beautiful works of art. To me antique quilts are textile documents that reveal and conceal the lives of their makers. Women would spends hours even years making quilts and would stitch themselves into each quilt, giving their time, sweat, blood and sometimes tears.

I spend hours researching historical records for traditional patterns and quilts to inspire my work and have a deep respect for makers who have gone before me. Making handmade quilts deeply routed in history connects me to the past and allows me to weave my clients stories into my quilts for generations to enjoy for many years to come.

  Houses on the Hill, New England c.1940

 

Jennifer is a modern traditional patchwork quilt-maker taught by her late Texan mother-in-law when she was 81 years old; the traditional way  he art of quilt making was passed down from one woman to another. Jennifer's practice is inspired by quilts dated from 1750-1950. She also works to commission using a client's own special cloth.

 

To commission a bespoke handmade quilt is easier than you might think. Contact Jennifer on 0207 6663347 or email hello@vintageandfloral.com


Wedding Guest Signature Quilt - A Beautiful Poem Written by- Janet Hindley January 03, 2016 17:24

Happy New Year 2016! - Bepoke Wedding Quilt Commission

Wow! what a way to start the year! It is not very often that I find myself lost for words but this poem by one of my lovely clients, who was the mother of the groom, Janet Hindley has done just that!

Janet, commissioned me to make her son and daughter-in-law-to be a beautiful handmade wedding guest signature quilt to capture the memories and well wishes of friends and family in such a personal and sentimental way. It can be difficult as mother of the groom or as mother of the bride to find the perfect wedding gift. A bespoke wedding guest quilt is a perfect wedding gift as it captures very special memories of the day and will be a family heirloom. 

I spent 18 months working with Janet, her lovely daughter in-law and her son to handcraft this wonderful bespoke quilt in their Wimbledon wedding colours.

Janet's squares were decorated in beautiful embroidery to represent her late mother so that she too was included in the wedding quilt. This is one of the most wonderful things I love about quilts. They connect people across time and tell their own stories.

You might want to get the kleeneze ready, I know I certainly did....
Here's is Janet's poem of how much making this exquisite bespoke handmade Wedding guest quilt for her and her family meant to her:

The Quilter

(Inspired by and dedicated to Jennifer Campbell Kirk for the quilt made to celebrate the wedding on 23rd August 2015 of Julian Hindley and Michelle McNamara)

Stories stitched with every thread.
Heirlooms created in silk and cotton
of memories, events and words unsaid

Events now tangible, n’ere forgotten.
Love made eternal by her skill
as the quilter weaves her magic spell;
Cutting, stitching to fulfil
celebrations, that only time will tell

Their stories, of ordinary folk
with every cut and every stitch.
But by her skills this quilt, bespoke,
their stories forever will bewitch.

Oh, Quilter! Do you really realise
the magic weaved twixt your fingers and eyes?

by Janet Hindley


I feel so honoured to have had the privilege to handcraft such a wonderful wedding gift to to a lovely family. 

Jennifer x

 

If you would like to commission Jennifer to handcraft a bespoke handmade Wedding Signature Quilt especially for you or a loved one. Please contact us on 0207 6663347 to discuss your requirements.


Amish Centre Diamond Square Quilt September 01, 2015 05:16

I am so delighted, that I was recently commissioned to make a handmade quilt for Love Patchwork and Quilting magazine.

I  was asked to design and handcraft this exquisite Centre Diamond quilt which is inspired by my latest collection of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania Amish style quilts.

I wanted to create a contemporary interpretation for a quilt deeply rooted in history and narrative. The colours are warm with light and darker shades of coral, retro mustard, vintage yellow with plenty of white for a modern twist.

l

Amish quilts from the mid C19th century were much simpler in design than their later work. The Centre Diamond square pattern was specific to the Amish community in Lancaster County who developed their own unique style.

The warm vibrant colours add a contemporary twist to the usual dark jewel like muted tones one sees in Amish quilts. In my design I also gave a nod to the Welsh by designing chunky inner borders that are a distinct quality found in early Welsh medallion quilts.

Would you like to learn how to make this quilt?

Find Jennifer's full step by step illustrated instructions in Love Patchwork and Quilting magazine, issue 24 Pages 63-67.

 

Very special thanks to sponsors: Lady Sew and Sew, Aurifil Thread and The Village Haberdashery.


A life Well Lived August 06, 2015 23:41

Today my mother-in-law Phoebe would have been 85 years old. It has been 40 days now since she passed away and my heart is still sadden by such a great loss.

Phoebe taught me how to quilt and was such a great teacher and mentor. Not only was she an accomplished quilter - where she would be flown to Houston, Texas to the biggest quilt show in the world to run demonstrations at the festival. She also picked up awards for her work too.  Phoebe lived in Hollywood for many years with my husband when he was a young boy, where she became well known as a talented wig maker. Phoebe hand made the wig for the hero in the classic film, 'A Man Called Horse'. Who would forget the chilling scene of the hero taking part in a ritual to become a Native American warrior? Amazing film!

Phoebe also made several of the wigs for the original 1968 Planet of the Apes movie with Charlton Heston, as well as the beards for the astronauts.

 

She also made Spock's beard for the unforgettable Star Trek episode 'Mirror Mirror' depicting the evil alternate universe.

 

Phoebe was also very gifted in hand embroidery and created beautiful quilts incorporating this skillful technique. One of my favourites features birds of north america (she was an avid birdwatcher!) like the blue jay artistically embroidered onto this quilt.

 

Phoebe was also a fine artist and painted several landcapes and portraits. She will be truly missed. I am delighted our paths crossed and that she blessed this world with her wonder-full generous heart and talents. A life well lived.


Sad News: "Since the lovely are sleeping, go sleep thou with them" July 02, 2015 18:28

It is with much sadness that I report the recent passing of my mother-in-law Phoebe. For those of you who know me, she was the one who taught me how to quilt back in 2011 just after my father died. This is such a great loss for me. Phoebe was my mentor, my inspiration.  She died in her sleep on Monday 26 June, she was 84 years old. She was a great teacher and quilter. I am so grateful I had the opportunity to learn from her. I will miss her but she will live on in my heart through my work

 

 

"Since the lovely are sleeping, go sleep thou with them
Thus kindly I scatter thy leaves o'er the bed
Where thy mates of the garden lie scentless and dead

So soon may I follow when friendships decay
And from love's shining circle the gems drop away
When true hearts lie withered and fond ones are flown
Oh who would inhabit this bleak world alone?" 

 - The Last Rose of Summer

Jennifer x


I'm in Love with Graduation Dyeing! April 09, 2015 02:55

I had so much fun today dyeing cloth with textile artist Janice Gunner.

 

Last summer I attended her week long workshop dyeing with Indigo and woad and have definately caught the dyeing bug!

In this latest workshop I learnt graduation dyeing using vibrant cold water dyes in yellow and Cerulean blue. First I dyed the cloth in bright yellow using different dye strengths.

 

 Then I immersed the cloths in blue dye.

 

The result was a graduation of  blues, greens and turquoise in the most beautiful shades.

 I can't wait to use these gorgeous cloths in my next project.....watch this space!

 Jx

 

 


Love at first Stitch: Why I use Aurifil Thread March 23, 2015 21:57

I was introduced to Aurifil thread by Cotton Patch at a craft show some years ago and since then I’ve never looked back.  When I first started quilting, my main priority was fabric. I would buy high quality and designer fabric that was 100% cotton. I wasn’t too fused about which thread I used so long as it was pure cotton purchased at John Lewis. I thought that all cotton threads were created equal until I started to notice that my sewing machine would frequently build-up lint. This meant I had to clean my machine every 4 to 5 days which soon became a laborious task. I also noticed that during free-motioning quilting (a technique where the needle of the machine is used liked a pencil to draw stitched designs) the threads would break despite changing the needle for a larger one.

“I just love the way it runs through the machine!

By the time I got to the craft show I was pulling my hair out and thinking – 'What threads do other quilters use? There must be a better way'. The woman at the Cotton Patch stand was very helpful despite my look of skepticism when she told me Aurifil was the only thread she used, as she ‘just loves the way it runs through the machine’. The reason I was such a skeptic was because, by then I had tried several brands. Now, I am not completely knocking the brands I tried, as they were fine for piecing (sewing fabric pieces together) and as a top thread but for use in your bobbin and free-motion – forget it!

‘Okay, I said, I will give it a try’ and left with two spools in white and grey. Wow! I couldn’t believe it. The thread stopped breaking and the lint stopped building. I was amazed.

Now I know this sounds like a plug for Aurifil but this is my honest opinion. I promise you….Ring Cotton Patch and ask them which thread the lady with the short blond hair uses? – she will tell you! Better still, if you sew, try it yourself and leave me a comment at the end of this post.

Not surprising, I started to become curious about Aurifil  and wanted to know what makes their thread so different.  I found out that they are an Italian company based near Milano and specialise in producing quality cotton threads for quilters, so they know the common problems we face. Their threads are made from superior long staple Egyptian Mako Cotton, which is grown in a similar way to wine grapes and apparently it is the actual climate that creates the quality of the thread! Also their cotton is double mercerised a process which makes the cotton, stronger, smoother and shiner. This is why breakages are almost non-existent and why my bobbin is virtually lint free. As I have less broken needles and tension issues, I have noticed these days that my machine is much happier.

The Aurifil threads come in a variety of weights and in over 250 colours which means I am more likely to be able to match the thread to my fabric creating a flawless finish.

 

 So whats all this fuss about the thread?

Well, the thread is important because this is what holds the three layers of the quilt together. It is the holding of these layers that ensures your quilt will last several lifetimes as an heirloom. I spend countless hours making a quilt, it is hard work, but I love it as I am creating something with my hands.  It is so important to me that all the materials I use are of the highest quality. For this reason I only use Aurifil thread unless I run out (but this is very rare!). Quilts are an investment of my time, creativity and energy so why should I settle for anything less?

 

I love Aurifil thread so much that I recently approached them to collaborate with me. You can imagine how I felt when they said yes!!!- Every now and then they kindly donate their fabulous thread for my projects. I know what your thinking but like I said, this is not a plug. I am not paid by Aurifil to write this post nor did they ask me too...I just genuinely love their thread!


Press Release: Spring/Summer 2015 Collection February 16, 2015 19:07

Vintage and Floral has launched its much anticipated Spring/Summer 2015

collection. These exquisite limited edition handmade quilts, are inspired by

the bold geometric lines and solid colour of American Amish designs and

have a timeless contemporary look.

 

Founder and Patchwork Quilt-Maker, Jennifer Campbell Kirk says,

'We've spent hours researching the historical designs of the Amish community

in Pennsylvania and have captured the utilitarian spareness and simplicity of  

style of this unique artisan look. Reflecting the subtle cool tones and earthy

colours and our own superior craftsmanship. The result is an on-trend collection

that is effortlessly contemporary and timeless at the same time.'

Vintage and Floral quilts are all handmade in the UK with a double bound edge

for durability and finished with hand stitching. They are made from 100% pure

natural materials including linen, cotton and bamboo making them antibacterial

to aid a good nights sleep.

These beautiful quilts are cool in the summer and provide an extra layer in

colder months. Cot to King sizes are available.  

 

 


We have collaborated with OK! Magazine February 12, 2015 19:22

We have teamed up with OK! Magazine to offer one lucky reader the chance to win one of our luxury handmade quilts worth up to £1500. Issue 986 is out now! Competition closes the 28 February 2015. Don't miss it!

 

 

 

 


Happy New Year 2015! January 01, 2015 00:38

I would like to wish you creativity, much Joy and health for 2015

Vintage and Floral has had a great year in 2014 and we are all geared up for another amazing year...

...so heres our final goodbye to 2014 in highlights:

  • We collaborated with Dorling Kindersley Publishers and designed quilt patterns and quilts for their latest Quilting Book

  • We collaborated with American designers Minnick and Simpson on one of the DK projects. They provided us with their gorgeous American Banner Rose fabric- wonderful ladies!

We collaborated with Paul Smith by designing and making a patchwork quilt for one of his shops out of gorgeous tweed he sent me. ( I am sooo excited...It has taken me several months, but I am near to completion and will be shortly revealing my hand stitched work.

  • We were featured on ITV's Peter Andre's 60 Minute Makeover and became their official supplier

 

 

  • I had my debut art quilt exhibition with the London Quilters

  • I spent time with my wonderful mother-in-law in Dallas, Texas

Finally!......we made lots of very special quilts for lots of very special people......

Thank you for being apart of my year!

Jennifer x


Shibori Love! September 09, 2014 22:18

In the summer as a birthday treat to myself I spent five days stitching, clamping, binding, scrunching and dyeing cloth using an ancient Japanese dye-resist technique called Shibori which means 'to squeeze' or 'wring'.

 

 

This textile tradition is also used in many other parts of the world including West Africa, India, South as well as North America. The Indigo comes from a variety of plant sources and is one of the oldest dyes to be used in textile dyeing.

 

 

The cloth is saturated into Indigo dye or Woad (a European version of Indigo which is more turquoise in colour) and the parts where the dye cannot reach creates the most beautiful organic patterns.

 

 

This stunning ancient technique has been the inspiration behind my new collection of  one of a kind hand dyed and hand quilted Shibori Cushions 

 

Jx


Thank You WGSN Homebuildlife! July 29, 2014 00:37

We are delighted we have been spotted by leading global trend forecasters WGSN-Homebuildlife.com and have been featured in their blog. Read it here

 


Thank you! July 26, 2014 23:47

We are so delighted that we got a mention from the lovely Amanda on her blog Scoutiegirl on the Makegood Festival at the Old Selfridges Hotel. 

Read it here

 

Thank you Amanda!