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Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Can't Get To The Quilt Exhibition In Brooklyn? Take My Photo Tour Instead - Room 2 of 2


Yesterday I posted about my trip to the Brooklyn Museum with Cynthia @AQuilterbyNight to visit the "Workt by Hand": Hidden Labor and Historical Quilts exhibition.  I shared photos of all the quilts in Room 1 of the exhibition and you can catch up on that post here.

As promised, I'm back with more photos of all the quilts in Room 2.
Again, grab a cup of tea and enjoy! :)



"For all women everywhere, who never really wanted to be anonymous after all."
- Dedication page from Patricia Mainardi's Quilts: The Great American Art 1978



Log Cabin Quilt, Barn Raising Setting, circa 1890 - Cotton: The Log Cabin is the quintessential American pattern, its name evoking national ideals of ingenuity and tenacity and the stories of leaders, such as Abraham Lincoln, who rose from humble beginnings.  Simple to construct yet incredibly versatile, Log Cabin blocks consist of "logs" or strips of fabric stitched in frames around a central square.  By carefully orchestrating the placement of light and dark fabrics, a skilled quilter can manipulate colour distribution to make popular variations such as the Barn Raising style seen here.


Baskets Quilt, circa 1860 - Cotton


Album Quilt, circa 1850 - Cotton: Album quilts, composed of blocks that feature unique designs, became popular in the mid 19th century.  The maker of this album quilt used compositional diversity to celebrate the profound impact that the home sewing machine had on quilt-making in the United States.  Introduced in the 1840s, sewing machines became widely used in the decades following the Civil War, often in combination with handwork techniques.  This quilter shows off her new machine by contrasting vivid red and gold applique designs with a bright white machine stitch.


 
Whig Rose Quilt, circa 1850 - Cotton


Baskets Quilt, circa 1860 - Cotton

 
Double Wedding Ring Quilt, circa 1930 - Cotton: The Double Wedding Ring, a classic American design by the 1930s, emerged from a late 19th-century taste for interlocking patterns comprised of small pieces sewn together.  Quilt patterns such as this one became hugely popular particularly in the more rural Midwest, where quilt-making traditions, including regional ties to particular patterns and pattern sharing, remained strong in the first half of the 20th century.  This quilt's cheerful colour palette indicates that it was made after World War I when American textile producers began using dye recipes surrendered as part of Germany's war reparations.


Delectable Mountains Quilt, circa 1850 - Cotton

 
Mariner's Compass Quilt, circa 1850 - Cotton


 
Star of Bethlehem Quilt, circa 1940 - Cotton, wool


 
American - Album Quilt, 1853-1865 - Cotton

 
Maltese Cross Quilt, circa 1870 - Cotton

Hexagon Quilt, Sweden, circa 1880 - Cotton


 
 
Anna Williams, Baton Rouge, Louisiana (American, 1927-2010) - Quilt, circa 1995 - Cotton, synthetics:  Anna Williams, an African American quilt maker born and raised near Baton Rouge, Louisiana, made quilts throughout her life, incorporating scraps of traditional printed cotton, unusual synthetics and woven or decorated fabrics such as the sequined pieces seen here.  The artist's bold approach combines traditional block settings with free-flowing improvisation and a masterful use of colour.  In the late 1980s, Williams' unique style of quilt-making became highly regarded by artists and collectors.


Crazy Quilt, circa 1884 - Silk, velvet: This crazy quilt memorialises the relationships between its makers, whose identities are indicated by embroidered initials in each block.  In the lower right, a musical staff is embroidered next to a verse reading: "Shall old acquaintances be forgot?".  Friendship quilts such as this were symbolic affirmations of women's communities and commitments to each other, bonds that might be strengthened through socialisation and collaboration at quilting bees.


Crazy Quilt, circa 1885 - Satin, lace: Crazy quilts, assembled from remarkable arrays of small, irregular pieces of cloth, became the rage in quilt-making in the late 19th century.  They were made possible by newly affordable luxury fabrics produced by the growing textile industry and encouraged by women's magazines dismissive of "old-fashioned", dreary" cotton patchwork.  Another catalyst was the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exposition, where millions of Americans encountered English embroidery, inspired by medieval and oriental aesthetics and Japanese pottery with a "crazed" or cracked glaze.  Crazy quilts were used in Victorian homes, to decorate public spaces, conveying their makers' gentility, taste, and artistic skill.  They also provided a canvas for women to commemorate important relationships or to express political preferences and celebrate important social events through the incorporation of banners or souvenir sashes.

 
Mary A Stinson - Crazy Quilt, circa 1880 - Silk: An exquisitely embroidered naturalistic flower, highlighted against a black background, appears in the centre of each block in this structured crazy quilt.  The satin stitch Mary Stinson used provides colour gradations and texture that give her floral creations a three-dimensional quality and put her exceptional skills on full display.  She framed the quilt with the same dramatic black silk used for its background, emphasising the ordered composition underlining its crazy quilt style, as well as the incredible variety of stitching techniques found on its surface.  Stinson, who was a professional dressmaker, attached a label with her name to the reverse of this quilt, announcing her position and highlighting her sophistication and facility with the medium.


Bars Quilt, Pennsylvania, circa 1890 - Cotton, wool: Amish quilts are a unique subgenre in the field.  Expected to show restraint in their pieced quilts, Amish women avoided printed and synthetic textiles as well as the intricate applique designs seen in mainstream quilt-making, favouring overall large-scale patterns and richly saturated monochromatic fabrics, often juxtaposed in unusual combinations.  They did, however, lavish time and energy on the stitched designs used to hold the layers of a quilt together.  The bold geometric designs that result make Amish quilts seem modern in spirit.  In fact, early proponents of American modernism were drawn to folk art, including quilt-making and participated in a revival of interest in the material in the 1920s and 1930s.  By the 1970s, it was common to compare Amish and other minimalist quilts to the work of Colour Field painters such as Barnett Newman, Mark Rothko, and Jules Olitski, most famously in the Whitney Museum's 1971 exhibition 'Abstract Design in American Quilts'.  Those artists produced remarkable variations on vibrant and flat abstractions and Amish quilts can likewise be seen as experiments in colour and scale within a limited range of patterns.


Schoolhouse Quilt, circa 1890 - Cotton quilt top (reverse side shown): Schoolhouse quilts were made in large numbers in the late 19th century and the first decades of the 20th.  Originally this pattern likely represented the log cabin home, a popular icon of the Colonial Revival, which promoted nostalgia for American imagery.  20th-century quilt-makers, however, linked the house pattern to the country school buildings found in the rural United States.  This shift may have been due to a large number of women becoming teachers at the time, one of the few avenues open to women entering the workforce.




What struck me at the exhibition is how sad it is that there is so little information available about these quilts, frequently we don't even know who made them - wouldn't you just love to know more of the story behind each one?

I'm a member of the Quilt Alliance and fully support their Quilters' SOS (Save Our Stories) project.  I label all my personal quilts with detailed information including who, where, when, why, however, my quilts for sale have my professional label which includes my brand name, website address, and laundry care instructions.

I wonder do you label your quilts?

The exhibition continues until 15 September 2013 and I highly recommend it if you can get there.



For details of other fabric, yarn, trim and notion stores that I've visited around the world along with the NYC stores I love, exhibitions and events I've attended and wonderful people I've been lucky to meet click the links below or in my sidebar :D



Disclaimer: This post is for informational purposes only, no payment or commission is received on click-throughs and opinions are my own.

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26 comments:

  1. We're going. Can't wait to see it! Thanks for posting all these lovely pictures.

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    1. You're going to love it Ruth, have lots of fun :)

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  2. Thank you for taking the time to do this. It's remarkable that any of those quilts can still be seen in the blogging world today-a testament to the timelessness of quilting.

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    1. It does make you wonder if your own quilts will still be around in a couple of hundred years! :)

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  3. Love all these photos Chrissie - these quilts really are a labour of love aren't they? I can't imagine how they did it all with no rotary cutters or special rulers and with only the most basic of machines. I feel very humbled!

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    1. It doesn't bear thinking about does it Gertie - the amount of work involved with few tools available and the value of the fabric in those days. Really quite something! :)

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  4. Wow. These are amazing. Thanks for sharing, I love a good quilt showing.

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    1. Can't beat it can you Jen, so much inspiration :)

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  5. Wow - I am amazed at the detail of these quilts. I do have a label that has my name, but I try to put the Season and year, City and State and of course the recipient name as well.

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    1. I'm not sure that we stop to think what'll become of our quilts or even if they'll still be around in 200 years time. Fabric is so 'throwaway' these days that we just don't place any real value on it and I guess it's hard to imagine future generations wondering what the history is to something we're making now! :)

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  6. Beautiful quilts. No, I never label my quilts. I guess I should start!

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  7. Thank you for the fabulous photos of what must have been a truly remarkable exhibition.

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    1. I was just in awe, reading and looking and snapping photos of all the quilts on display and looking back at them now I can't believe just how many quilts there were there, you're right it was a remarkable exhibition :)

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  8. Chrissie - I loved both blog posts - they remind me of the nice time we had together at the exhibit. Your photos are great and really show the beauty of the hand quilting. And yes - I label my quilts!

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    1. I glad you like them and they are a great reminder of a lovely day. I love that you label your quilts! :)

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  9. I have popped over from Cynthia's blog....thank you for sharing your wonderful photos of what appears to have been a great quilt exhibition. Much appreciated, as here in Australia we don't have the same opportunities to view such old quilts.

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    1. Thanks for dropping by Jenny, you may not have the old quilts in Australia but you've got some really great modern quilters! I'll be meeting up with two at The City Quilter in Manhattan very soon - Sarah Fielke is doing a trunk show here next Thursday and I'm attending a course run by Kathy Doughty in July, really looking forward to both! :)

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  10. What a great variety of quilt styles! My favourite must be Ms Stinson's elegantly embroidered crazy quilt. Thank you for sharing all this beauty with us.

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    1. Having had a look around your blog I'm not surprised that Ms Stinson's crazy quilt is your favourite! I'm so glad to have been able to share :)

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  11. I'm behind in my blog reading... have been saving this post for when I had time. Once again I appreciate you taking the time to photograph this exhibit for us who can't see it in person! I am in awe of all the handwork. I wonder how long it took one to complete a quilt? After all, I can barely complete a lap size quilt a month and I have a washer and dryer, dishwasher, vacuum cleaner, and other modern conveniences. Otherwise, the 50+ hours a week I put in with my business would never allow me time to sew! I can't imagine if I had to do it all by hand!!!!!

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    1. Such a labour of love aren't they, I don't know how many would have the patience and tenacity these days but I guess although they didn't have all our modern day conveniences they didn't have modern life stresses and pressures either?! Seeing them makes you want to know so much more about these women :)

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  12. I've had your posts bookmarked for when I had the time to do them justice and to spend studying these quilts. This afternoon I've had a wonderful time looking and looking! Thanks for all the lovely photos. Bright colours, white backgrounds and solid fabrics a plenty - perhaps "modern quilts" aren't quite so "modern" after all!

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    1. Oh that's thrilled me so much to hear that you'd set the posts aside to read properly, it takes forever to put some posts together doesn't it and to get such positive feedback makes it all worthwhile. You have summed up just what I thought on the day about today's 'modern quilts' I was particularly struck by the Amish Bars Quilt, circa 1890 - it's one of the last quilts on my 2nd post - the choice of colours and the graphic design, so incredibly 'modern'! :)

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  13. I saw this exhibit in person, but I enjoyed seeing your photos just as much! You caught some details I missed...

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    1. Delighted you've enjoyed seeing it again albeit it on a computer screen Helen :D

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Chris Dodsley