Dinny Turner's quilt "Where are you" is possibly the most contentious quilt ever, at least in the UK - when it won best of show in 1989, there was outrage - it was "badly made", the corners didn't match. People pinned angry notes to it, and it had to be hung up very high, out of reach. A concept quilt, way ahead of its time, it has stood up well over the years - unlike many of the overcoordinated careful constructions made of the current "flavour of the month" fabrics.Dinny Turner trained in textiles at Chelsea and now lives in Norfolk. Her work has moved away from textiles, into other recycled materials, like this piece shown in the Harleston storefront event in 2008 -
Another cutting-edge quilter who no longer quilts is Michele Walker. She wrote The Complete Book of Quiltmaking (London, 1985) and The Passionate Quilter (London, 1990), and was well known for her "tire tracks" quilt using plastic. This quilt, shown in 2003 at Shipley Art Gallery, also uses plastic -"A rectangular quilt depicting a pair of large white feathers against a black rectangular background. The artist began work on the piece after reading a text published by Compassion in World Farming, and the underlying theme relates to factory farmed poultry, especially turkey rearing. In addition, the feather wings make reference to the 'running feather' quilting pattern used in traditional North Country Wholecloth quilts. Walker is well known for her unique use of both the traditional methods and contemporary materials. By using these strong political and environmental issues within the work Walker forces the viewer to connect with difficult and emotional facts."
In 2002 her "Memoriam" quilt used plastic and wire wool -
" 'Memoriam' is the last quilt in a body of work which draws inspiration from the patterns, stitches and ethos of traditional quilt making - the incorporation of everyday, cast-off scraps and fabrics used to make both decorative and functional bed covers. Walker's ability to both understand and interpret the origins and traditions of this craft provides her with a medium with which to engage with social, political and environment issues in a way which is both accessible and relevant. Walker states, 'My work deals with re-interpreting the traditional quilt. Inspiration comes from what I experience and observe around me. It is essential that the content of the work reflects the time in which it is made… I aim in my work to challenge the associations and meaning of the word quilt.' " This quilt was included in The Fabric of Myth at Compton Verney in 2008, and is currently in the V&A quilt exhibition, along with work by others in the "Take 4" group.
Walker's research on sashiko led to an exhibition in Brighton that included large sculptural work and in October 2009 to a show at York, which you can see a video about here.