Paisley Renaissance is a collection of cot-sized quilts designed and made by Sandie Lush. They were inspired by two Welsh motifs; a cable known as Welsh trail and a paisley pear motif taken from the cover of a traditional quilt group newsletter. Welsh trail is a widely used traditional cable design.
The cable motif seems to have been unique to Wales until it was
published by the Rural Industries Bureau in the early 1930’s. It was
one of very few Welsh designs to be featured: most patterns were feather patterns from the North East of England.
The paisley motif is more unusual. It wasn't until several years after first using this motif that Sandie discovered it originated from a quilt in the Jen Jones collection of Welsh quilts.
The source was a beautiful red and white strippy quilt, made by Mrs May Thomas at the beginning of the 20th century. In 2002 Sandie used the two motifs to design a strippy quilt called Yn y Pinc. Although both motifs were Welsh, the eventual quilt design was more akin to those from the North East of England where the quilting patterns are confined within the different coloured fabric strips. Welsh quilting design is much freer, so subsequent quilts made for the Paisley Renaissance collection illustrated this. It was apparent that Mrs Thomas’s novel paisley motif had huge design potential.
As a challenge, it was decided to explore this potential by combining the paisley and the Welsh trail motifs into as many quilt designs as possible. The decision to keep the quilts a similar size and only use a limited number of additional motifs added to the challenge. The project started slowly. Yn y Pinc was made in 2002 but the idea for a series of quilts lay fallow for another ten years. Two quilts were created in 2012 and then one in each of the following two years.
In June 2015 this small group of quilts was shown to Jen Jones and the ensuing conversation really sparked the project into life. As a result, it was agreed to make a total of 12 cot quilts for display in 2016 in the small gallery at Jen’s Welsh Quilt Centre in Lampeter, West Wales. However, in an attempt to illustrate the numerous styles and materials found in Welsh quilts, the project soon expanded.
Between the end of June 2015 and the beginning of February 2016, Sandie designed and hand-stitched 18 cot quilts and a small pram quilt for exhibition in Lampeter. Although there were still ideas to explore and fabrics to use, time and space considerations were paramount and it is was felt that the collection of quilts as it stood broadly illustrated the range and essence of Welsh quilt-making traditions. Subsequently, the project was taken up again in 2018 and a whole batch of new designs were completed and made into quilts for the Paisley Parade gallery at Festival of Quilts, 2019.