28 February 2012

Crisps selected for York exhibition

This is my piece made from recycled crisp packets selected for a new exhibition at the Quilt Museum and Art Gallery, opening on 4th May. Sixty 20cm squares were selected by Contemporary Quilt to be joined together into a larger piece to represent the UK entry for Celebrating Diversity, organised by the European Quilt Association.  

Crisps – a celebration ...
A French exchange girl came to stay with me when I was 11. The girl was very, very homesick and simply didn’t stop crying. My elder brother’s bi-lingual girlfriend had to be summoned over to speak to her in French (my skills hadn’t got much past “Bonjour, je m’appelle …”). I decided I would give her my favourite Pickled Onion Monster Munch – how could that fail to cheer her up I thought? But I only made things worse and the Monster Munch made her cry even more (even the Roast Beef flavour was no better if she couldn’t take the extreme of the Pickled Onion). Her horror was equivalent to the horror I felt when faced, six months later, with a tray of bubbling snails emerging from a French oven (but at least I didn’t cry).

I think this was the point where I began to understand that there were some things that are typically ‘British’. Crisps abroad are very disappointing and bland. You get salted, or occasionally some paprika (though admittedly they are catching up a little more these days). But over here – what a celebration of Britishness and diversity all rolled in to one. What other culture would have Cajun Squirrel, Builder’s Breakfast or Onion Bhaji flavour limited editions?

The technique used is essentially a crazy patchwork.