Bristol Quilters started as a very small group in 1980, meeting in a downstairs room in the Friends’ Meeting House in Hampton Road, Bristol.
I joined the group in 1984 and together with June Hall we are the longest continuously serving members, although there are many current members who have been in the group for a considerable length of time, and others who have left for various reasons and returned to re-join. We have always welcomed new members too, keeping the group current and friendly.
At the beginning two members would take on hosting the meetings for six months at a time deciding on the topic for each meeting. It was quite an ad hoc arrangement and as the group was growing it became obvious that this was untenable and monies needed to be accountable etc.
I subsequently chaired a steering committee which formulated the constitution leading to my being the first Chairman of an elected committee in1990.
Things moved apace and as the membership was extended to 50 we moved upstairs to the library, moving again in a couple of years to the current large hall and thus extending the membership further.
Meetings have always been held on the first Wednesday of the month throughout the year with the exception of August, when the meeting house is closed. At one time we used to be invited to Stanton Drew Quilters during August. This was always very enjoyable and informal.
We have had numerous exhibitions over the years at the RWA, Clifton High School, the Victoria Rooms and, more recently, Badminton School. The last three exhibitions at Badminton (2008, 2011 and 2014) have been chaired by Trish Aldrick and have set a popular tradition of being held every three years, which has given members time to produce new quilts, challenges etc.
Outings and workshops have also been popular – many and varied over the years.
As I travel to many groups as a tutor and speaker I am constantly reminded of the loyalty and skills of BQ members. Our show and tell each month is definitely second to none in content and sewing ability. As well as friendship we foster a strong bond of shared interests and concerns.
Its wonderful to know that after 35 years the group is still thriving and long may it continue ……
Jan Hassard – June 2015