QUILTS & FABRIC: PAST & PRESENT


Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Amelia's Aviary 1: Partridge & Palm


Four early 19th-century  quilts are attributed to Amelia Heiskell Lauck, each with cut-out chintz birds. 




Quilt attributed to Amelia Heiskell Lauck (1760-1842) Winchester, Virginia

Colonial Williamsburg Collection 2006.609.1


From the catalog:
"The quilt is marked in backstitches with the inscription 'A present by Amelia Lauck to her S.[son] & D.[daughter] Morg. & M. Lauck / made in 62nd year.' The quilt was created as a wedding gift for Amelia’s eighth child, Morgan Adolphus Lauck (1796–1826), and his bride, Ann Maria Ott, who married on May 26, 1824.
Born in Winchester, Virginia in 1760, Amelia Heiskell Lauck lived her entire life there marrying Peter Lauck in 1779. Peter and Amelia had eleven children, six of whom survived into adulthood."

Amelia Lauck from the Corchran Gallery

It is thought that she may have made a quilt for each of those six children. I tend to get distracted by the quilting in her quilts but I decided to look closely at the birds in each quilt.

In this one: a pair of short tailed game birds looking to the right.
I've heard them called grouse and woodcocks. 

The Victoria and Albert Museum
has a piece of game bird yardage with a tea ground cataloged as 
"two partridges under a may tree."

That sounds like a good name for a popular print with many variations.
"Two Partridges Under a May Tree"
A gray partridge

A May tree. We'd call it a flowering hawthorne
but in England it's called a May tree because it
blooms in May.


Here's another Partridge in a May Tree from the Winterthur Museum's collection, a seat cover in blue. This common print does not have the palm tree seen in Amelia's quilt. At first I thought she added a palm tree to the birds but I don't see any seams. 

As far as palm tree and bird prints go....

The very common palm sheltering a pheasant is not what she used.

Amelia's is a rather gawky tree. 
The fronds are growing up in the wrong direction
and the shading is gaudy.

I actually had a small file of gawky palms.

And in it---the chintz Amelia used. Same birds with gawky tree.
That's all I have seen of it.

Leah Minnich used two squares of palm tree and partridge in
the lower corners of her nine-patch strip quilt signed and dated 1837.
There must be more of it around.

The  partridge in a May tree prints tend to be dated 1815 to 1835 by the museums that own pieces, a span typical of these roller printed English chintzes so popular with American quilters.

Winterthur Museum # 1969.1577

New Jersey quilt dated 1843 from the Fish Family in the collection
of the International Quilt Study Center & Museum #2005.053.0003

Green colorway in the border of a New Hampshire quilt
on the cover of this year's AQSG Seminar booklet.

A strip alternating with a pillar print.

More of Amelia's Aviary in later posts.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Pumpkin Spice Quilts



Lots of seasonal flavors here: 

From the Flack Collection

Many of them from southeastern Pennsylvania

Pook & Pook Auction


Berks County, Mennonite

The plain colored fabric is dyed with chrome orange, a mineral dye.

Today people call it cheddar.

I'm guessing this one is Pennsylvania because of the fancy feather 
quilting in the border.

Chrome orange was also an end-of-the-19th-century flavor in
the Southern U.S.


From Richard Rivoire's collection, Raleigh N.C. 

How do you tell if a pumpkin-spice color scheme indicates Berks County, PA or North Carolina?
Quilting, pattern, borders, set, maybe fabric quality (threads per square inch). It's not always easy,
especially if you find the quilt in Arizona.

Arkansas

Brunk Auction


Thursday, November 16, 2017

Past Perfect: Elly Sienkiewicz

Odense Album, designed by Elly Sienkiewicz
70″ x 70″, 1989-1990.


Few people have had as much influence on quiltmakers and quilt style as Eleanor P. Hamilton Sienkiewicz.  Ever.

Elly at one of the Applique Academy sessions

When Elly published her first book Spoken Without a Word in 1983 much writing about quilts used words such as "lost art" with implications that masterpiece applique was a thing of the past.

 Album Quilt block made in Baltimore for Bernard Nadal, 1847.
National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution.

Contemporary quilters were too modern, too busy....too inept ? to maintain the standards of mid-19th-century artists.

Album quilt dated 1975

None of it was true. All that was needed were good patterns, good fabric and good instruction in handwork. Elly provided all three. Plus a lot of enthusiasm.

Elly's patterns are little works of art in themselves.

Elly started her career in quilts with a mail-order
fabric company that (despite its name) specialized
in solid color cottons---an elusive item in the 1980s.

Want to learn hand applique or improve your
techniques? Buy this book.

Detail from Odense Album

Elly's influence has been an ever-widening circle. 
She's taught many who have become skilled applique teachers
themselves. I found this block by a student of a student.

Recent block by Tresa Jones of Seneca, Kansas.

Although she has retired, thirty-five years later Elly's influence continues.

Elly graduated from Wellesley College and the University of Pennsylvania with majors in history, art and education. She taught school, married Stan Sienkiewicz and raised three children in Washington, D.C.


As far as I know she has published 29 books. She has always had a lot to say and is a joy to listen to.

Through Tufts of 'Broidered Flowers, 2005-2009
 by Elly Sienkiewicz & Susan Kurth

Baltimore Album Quilt made for Joshua Young, 1840s,
Mariner's Museum in Newport News, Virginia

Everyone knows her best as a fabulous applique teacher and pattern designer but she is also a quilt historian. Living in Washington gave her an opportunity to study the unique album quilts made in Baltimore in the 1850s and '50s. She has always been curious about pattern sources and how these quilts came to be made in such great numbers.

Her books index the traditional patterns as well
as update the look.

One of her accomplishments is a paper she gave about Baltimore Album Quilts at the American Quilt Study Group's 1989 seminar, demolishing the popular and profitable theory that one woman named Mary Evans stitched the quilts. "The Marketing of Mary Evans” argued against the one-woman/one-style concept in several ways.

From an Elly quilt

My favorite argument was her personal sewing experience in re-making the historical blocks. She said she spent about 50 hours on a typical block. A friend counted her hours in making a 72-inch elaborate appliqued quilt, demonstrating that a professional seamstress needs a year or more of forty-hour weeks to make one classic BAQ of 104 square inches. No one person could have made the dozens and dozens of BAQ's.

Happiness is the Journey, 2007
By Elly Sienkiewicz Applique’ Academy and others; 
machine quilted by Susan Mallett with Sue Nichols

Elly's quilts are usually group
projects with her designs and supervision
(because no one person can make all the quilts she has planned.)

The theory today that similar blocks were sold by several designers as unstitched kits and patterns owes a lot to Elly's willingness to challenge the conventional wisdom in the antique world at the time.

Odense Album was designed by Elly and
stitched by a group of her students and friends.
The pattern is in The Best of Baltimore Beauties Part II

Elly's most recent book is Spoken Without a Word — 30th Anniversary Revised Edition, a 2014
re-do of her first book, the 1983 Spoken Without a Word. The new edition incorporates the text of the original but this version is illustrated in full color. Included are the Lexicon of Symbols, Antebellum Patterns, Baltimore Album History and her Revivalist Baltimore Album Quilt Gallery.
The 1983 edition was black and white and featured
short essays on Victorian symbolism in the BAQs.

See a preview of the recent book here:
https://www.amazon.com/Spoken-Without-Word-Anniversary-Baltimore/dp/0615717802

From the recent book

Read "The Marketing of Mary Evans,” Uncoverings 1989, Volume 10 of the Research Papers of the American Quilt Study Group, Edited by Laurel Horton.
https://americanquiltstudygroup.org/uncoverings-1989-the-marketing-of-mary-evans/ 

Karen Pessia, My Baltimore Journey
from the 30th Anniversary edition of
Spoken Without a Word

Monday, November 13, 2017

Antique Quilt Exhibits: Winter & Spring 2018

Get that automobile in working order and pack it for a road trip.

California, Folsom
Folsom Historical Society. Fine Art of Piecemaking. January 20 - April 16th, 2018.
https://www.folsomhistoricalsociety.org/events

California, Pasadena
Huntington Library. Becoming America: Highlights from the Jonathan and Karin Fielding Collection. The Fieldings' new wing exhibits objects from their folk-arts collection including quilts. Their focus: American ingenuity in art for utilitarian purposes by craftspeople in 18th & 19th century rural New England. Through October, 2019.
http://huntington.org/Webassets/Templates/exhibitionslist.aspx?exhibition=current

California, San Diego
Mingei Museum of Folk Art. Kantha, 40 Indian pieces made from recycled sari decoratively stitched. Through March 25, 2018.
https://mingei.org/exhibitions/


California, San Jose
San Jose Quilt Museum. Expressions of Identity. 40th Anniversary Exhibition, new acquisitions. Through January 14, 2018.
https://www.sjquiltmuseum.org/current-exhibitions/

Florida, Lake Eustis
Lake Eustis Museum of Art. Quilts: The Fabric of History featuring a private collection with quilts from the early-mid 19th-century into the early 20th. January 5 - February 10, 2018.
Indiana, Indianapolis
Indianapolis Museum of Art. Crazy Quilts: Stitching Memories. Through January 7, 2018
http://www.imamuseum.org/exhibition/crazy-quilts-stitching-memories


Indiana State Museum. Lincoln in Quilts: Log Cabins, Flags and Roses. Featuring a quilt made by his cousin in 1827; those directly associated with Lincoln through the use of campaign ribbons, silks from Mary Todd Lincoln’s dresses & those of her friends; Civil War quilts; and memorial quilts as well as a range of campaign and other textiles. Nov. 4, 2017 through Feb. 19, 2018.
https://www.indianamuseum.org/exhibitions


Illinois, Chicago
Art Institute of Chicago. Making Memories: Quilts as Souvenirs. 27 visually captivating and technically masterful quilts from the permanent collection, ranging from 1840 to 2001. Through March 18, 2018.

Iowa, Winterset 
Iowa Quilt Museum. Feed Sack Quilts. January 3 – April 15, 2018 

Kentucky, Bowling Green

Elizabeth Richardson Quilt Gallery at Western Kentucky University. Backward & Forward: 20th Century Quilts. More than 30 quilts and wall hangings illustrate how Kentucky quiltmakers looked to both the past and to the future for inspiration. Through December 15, 2017.
http://www.wku.edu/kentuckymuseum/exhibits/exhibits.php


Kentucky, Paducah
National Quilt Museum. Quilts of the Lakota. Curated by Ashley Pourier. On loan from the Heritage Center at Red Cloud Indian School. Through January 16, 2018. 
https://quiltmuseum.org/visit/



Massachusetts, Lowell
New England Quilt Museum. Gilding the Lily: Embroidery in Quilts ​Past and Present. Through December 30.
http://nequiltmuseum.org/exhibitionsevents.html




Nebraska, Lincoln
International Quilt Study Center & Museum/Quilt House.
Block by Block: American Quilts in the Industrial Age. Curator: Janice Frisch. Through November 30, 2017.
Red & White Quilts from the IQSCM Education Collection. Through November 22, 2017.
Made by Hand: American Quilts in the Industrial Age II. January 5-April 29, 2018
Uncovered: The Ken Burns Collection. January 19-May 13, 2018.
http://www.quiltstudy.org/exhibitions/




New York City
American Folk Art Museum. War and Pieced: The Annette Gero Collection of Quilts from Military Fabrics. Through January 7, 2018. 29 quilts made by men using British uniform wools.
http://folkartmuseum.org/exhibitions/

North Carolina, Winston-Salem
Stitching a Southern Identity. MESDA's annual spring textile conference: March 16-17, 2018
http://mesda.org/program/mesda-spring-conference/

Ohio, Cincinnati
Taft Museum of Art. Elegant Geometry: British & American Mosaic Patchwork Quilts. Traveling Exhibit from the International Quilt Study Center & Museum. Through January 21, 2018.
http://www.taftmuseum.org/


Ohio, Columbus
Columbus Museum of Art. Botanical Wonders: Flower Figure Quilts 1850-1950 From The Donna And Rodney Wasserstrom Collection. Showcasing a recent donation. Through March 11, 2018.
https://www.columbusmuseum.org/art/botanical-wonders/

Pennsylvania, Doylestown
Mercer Museum. Unpacking Collections: The Legacy of Cuesta Benberry, An African American Quilt Scholar. January 13 - April 15, 2018.


South, Carolina, Charleston
Charleston Museum. Piece by Piece: Geometric Quilts, featuring pieced quilts from their estimable collection. Through May 31, 2018.
https://www.charlestonmuseum.org/exhibits/current/30/piece-by-piece


Tennessee, Knoxville
East Tennessee Historical Society. Stories in Stitches: Quilts from the ETHS Collection. Curators Jan Wass and Merikay Waldvogel. Through January 2, 2018.
http://www.easttnhistory.org/storiesinstitches


Texas, LaGrange
Texas Quilt Museum. Comfort and Glory: Antique Quilts from the Dolph Briscoe Center. January 11-April 1, 2018.

Utah, Brigham City
Brigham City Museum promises a Vintage Quilt Exhibition from the community. Jan. 20 -April 13, 2018.
http://brighamcity.utah.gov/museum-schedule-of-exhibits.htm

Virginia, Harrisonburg
Virginia Quilt Museum. Treasures from the Vault: Quilts from the VQM Collection, Elegant Stitches. Curated by Gloria Comstock. Focus on quilting from 18th & 19th-century Virginians. Through December 16, 2017.
http://www.vaquiltmuseum.org

Virginia, Williamsburg
Colonial Williamsburg, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum. A Century of African-American Quilts features twelve quilts from the collection dating from 1875. Through January, 2018.
https://www.colonialwilliamsburg.com/do/art-museums/rockefeller-museum/century-of-quilts/
Printed Fashions: Textiles for Clothing and the Home, 1700-1820 includes a few quilts (one with a John Hewson panel) and a lot of early fabric


Washington, LaConner
Pacific Northwest Quilt & Fiber Arts Museum. Patriotic Stitches from the Collection. Curated by Susan J. Torntore,  Through November 19, 2017​