WHEN I first moved to the Vale, I felt rather lost for a while, and would’ve felt even more so had it not been for Aunty Carol.

She showed me where John Lewis, IKEA and M&S at Culverhouse Cross were - all places useful for a Mum-of-two to know, especially because they all have coffee shops.

In subsequent years, she has helped with child-care; supplied cakes and many jugs of custard; supported me at Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital when one child was poorly, and leant both a shoulder and an ear in times of emotional need.

Without Aunty Carol, there have been times when I would’ve been lost in every way.

So the other day, I took an unknown road to Abercynon Community Centre to support her and visit a quilting show that she was exhibiting at.

The £3.50 for entrance, tea and cake was a tremendous bargain as I was shown around a dazzling display of simply stunning quilts.

For the uninitiated, quilting is a process of stitching pieces of material together, often with a layer of wadding between them.

It can be used to make bedding, but also bags, cushions, clothing... indeed, whatever your imagination might like to make it make.

This description however, goes no way to bring to life the kaleidoscope of colour, the cacophony of pattern, the skill of stitching that I saw.

The history of quilting goes back to at least medieval times and examples have been found from Europe, India and the Far East.

There was a tradition amongst the early settlers in North America of coming together socially to produce large quilts and many were produced during the American Civil War.

It was, and perhaps still is, perceived as women-dominated. However, quilt scholars argue there are many male quilt makers and we shouldn’t get carried away along the women-only line.

Many of the pieces on display in Abercynon had note cards by them, explaining technique, types of material and sometimes the story behind them.

I loved it when they talked about how they felt about the piece or about producing the piece.

Some had taken years. Some had been started but then for various reasons set aside to be picked up later with renewed impetus to finish. Some were made for others, some to tell a story.

Usually classed as a craft, I think neither the history nor the perception of it as a group of women gathered around sewing in a domestic setting should for a second make you think that this is not art and that this cannot be power.

The artist Tracey Emin has likened quilting to painting in how colour and texture are built up; Grayson Perry has used quilting in art around the abortion debate and Michelle Walker has used quilting in work on homelessness, the environment and battery-farming.

In Abercynon I saw passion, tenacity, dedication, warmth and care in the quilts on display, reflecting just some of the wonderful qualities of Aunty Carol.