Tag Archives: quilts

Teeny vs regular

2015/02/img_7737.jpgI am piecing up the tiny scraps that come with making the log cabin squares. Not surprisingly, I prefer the teeny compositions. I am intrigued by their scale and the sense of possibilities. Each could stand alone or they could be combined into a cloth that hangs together. How to decide?!!

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2015/02/img_7738-0.jpgAnd, guess what? It’s snowing again!
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Because it rained

20140729-082526-30326986.jpgThank goodness it rained on the last Sunday in July, because instead of taking a walk that morning, I went to the MFA.  It was the last day of a quilt show that it would have killed me to miss.
IMG_4648There were about six rooms of beautiful traditional quilts, with a lot of text about the collectors and the quilters’ use of color.  Another friend of mine took exception with how little was said about the MAKERS and how MUCH was said about the collectors.  I spent almost all of my time looking at the quilts, so it wasn’t something I picked up on.  Before I judge the exhibit on this basis, I would want to know what, if anything, they knew about the crafters.  It’s very possible that in the case of many of the quilts, NOTHING was known.

a whole room of Amish quilts!

a whole room of Amish quilts!

In what little text I did read, I noticed an repetitious emphasis on the use of color (we get it! complimentary colors look good together!!) and a real lack of information about the technical structure of the cloths.  Gorgeous trapunto and stippling went without mention; one quilt supposedly had discharged cloth in it where I could find none.

feathered diamond. Penn. 1890's

feathered diamond. Penn. 1890’s

But! I still thoroughly enjoyed the show and firmly believe that quilts belong on the walls of our art museums — and not just the magnificent Gee’s Bend quilts, either.

All the photos were taken with my phone, so please indulge the lack of focus!

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bold and dynamic use of plaid

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An entire room of variations on the Log Cabin pattern was my favorite part of the show, not only because of the quilts themselves, but because the grouping revealed how profound an impact color/value choices have on design.  All the quilts in the room used the very same pattern and yet were radically different from each other.

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unbelievably small strips!

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20140729-082527-30327633.jpgThis was one of many beautiful nine patches in the exhibit.  The show made me appreciate the uses of white when making patterns and colors sing.

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woolen, tied quilt — nine patch and rail fence

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The Textile Wing at the Charleston Museum

The textile wing of the Charleston Museum in South Carolina featured some beautiful quilts (mostly antique), garments from the colonial era on through to the 70’s, embellished accessories, and very intriguing notions.

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Embroidered Satin Bag, c. 1795. Attributed to Margaret Dick Burgess

IMG_2554 I didn’t know what ‘toilet pins’ were, so I looked them up.  An online draper called Merchant & Mills, gave me this tidbit:

…traditional toilet pins are an unusual pin being quite long at 45mm. Before the button became commonplace, many clothes were pinned together and a lady would have pins on her dressing table. The toilet pins come from and era when one would need pins for hats, corsage,etc. 

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Silk Embroidered Bag, from 1920’s

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Crib quilt, c. 1889. Log cabin variation made by Mary Louisa Schirmer Tiedeman

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incredibly small hexagons — dime-sized?

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“Field of Diamonds”, c. 1820. Maria Boyd Schulz

Don’t you just love the beautiful poking tools in the silk-lined box?IMG_2555 IMG_2563Paper pieced. More chintz. One of the names on the star below, “C.C. Pinckney” must refer to Charles Cotesworth Pinckney — one of Eliza Lucas Pinckney’s two sons.  Eliza Lucas Pinckney was a remarkable British settler who helped establish indigo as a crop and valuable commodity in the 1740’s. star-close

IMG_2572 IMG_2573 IMG_2574 IMG_2575These Civil War era fabrics must have faded some. I wonder what they looked like 200 years ago. I can’t imagine them appealing to me any more than they do at this saturation.

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"Memphis Blues", 2000. Mary Alma Parker

“Memphis Blues”, 2000. Mary Alma Parker

I apologize for the blurriness of the pictures (better ones in this flickr set), but I hope you can see that the hexagons in this quilt are made to appear dimensional both through color/pattern choices and a willingness to let the surface ‘poof’ a little. The color of the surround was a deep and appealing blue, while the center panel of paper-pieced hexagons exuberantly combined prints. Notice, too, that in places one of the surrounding ‘petals’ does not match.  Sometimes the center color fades and blends with its ‘flower’ and other times the color selected practically pops off the quilt with contrast. Skillful blending of tone and color give the panel this lovely fluid feel, as the colors fade from dark to light to dark again.

I assumed looking at the work that its maker is African American. Why? Because of the title, the lively use of prints and the occasional departure from pattern (print mixes and departure from pattern being well-appreciated and documented signatures of the Gee’s Bend quilts, as well). Does anyone know? I couldn’t find anything online, even with a variety of search terms and approaches.  I DID learn that Parker is a very common name, as is “Mary Alma”.  Turning up various treasure troves of genealogy featuring white Parker families proves nothing one way or the other, of course, given that many slaves took their owners’ names once upon a time.

traveling feet

Trip to SC was GREAT– food extraordinaire, gloriously good weather, friendly people at every turn, and history, history, history! More to come. Most of the interior shots are from the Charleston Museum. And yes, that is me wearing a crinoline skirt in the interactive section of the Textile Wing. The metal badge stamped “Free” was for former slaves to carry, I believe. Research required.IMG_2475IMG_2499 IMG_2514 IMG_2576 IMG_2611 manacle nacre star-close toilet-pins

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Artist: John Westmark – he will get an entire post; Gibbes Museum of Art

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Rose Marie Manigault: an entire post 4/27