Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Urns, Drapes, and Doves

Urns, drapes and doves seem to have captured my fancy. From an early NJ quilt containing a block with an inscribed name and drawing of an urn, to a mourning picture in memory of a child's death, to photographs of gravestones that I've taken through the years, I've often wondered about the impact gravestone art has on other art forms. Two needlework examples follow.
This wonderful pen and ink drawing appears in a Wild Goose Chase Variation quilt that was made in Mullica Hill, NJ between 1843-1847. Photo courtesy The Heritage Quilt Project of New Jersey.

A mourning picture in the collection of the Montclair Historical Society at the Israel Crane House. See my post of the quilt exhibit there this summer. The picture is painted and embroidered with what appears to be silk thread.
The gravestone inscription is on three tiers. Top tier in the cartouche are the letters C.A.L. The second tier: In Memory of /Charlotte Augusta Lynde/Born May 15, 1817--Died/April 11, 1824. Aged 7 years. Lower tier: Sleep innocent beloved! thy days of peril o'er/Thy God awaits thee, on a happier shore--/Where free from pain, you'll join the choir above/In our Redeemer's praise, and sing immortal love.
The Bertholf plot at the Hanover Cemetery in E. Hanover, NJ, has two gravestones with urns on top.
Abram C. Bertholf/Died April 11, 1880/Aged 71 Years/True and Faithful
 E. Eliza Kitchell/wife of/Abram C. Bertholf/Died Sept. 4, 1876/Aged 70 years
Another gravestone with an urn in the Hanover Cemetery. James S. Barron/Born Feb. 14, 1825/Died April 26, 1905/Ann M. Hopping/wife of/James S. Barron/Born Jan. 25, 1825/Died March 25, 1873.
Ellis and Isabel Cook's gravestone at the First Presbyterian Church of Hanover.

Sacred/to the memory of/Ellis Cook/a captain in the Revolutionary Army/who died A.D. 1832/and of/Isabel Cook/his wife/who died A.D. 1825/Erected by their descendants/A.D. 1860.
William and Maria Halsey's monument in the family plot at the First Presbyterian Church of Hanover.
The double-urn gravestone of Epaphras Cook Ely (1795-1864) and his wife Julia Ann Kitchell (1800-1864). Ely Cemetery, Livingston, NJ.
This huge monument is at Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Newark, NJ. Jesse Baldwin/Born/August 2, 1803/Died December 28, 1881-----Phebe Ann Burnet/His Wife/Born June 1810/Died April 13, 1894/Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord.
Even my gr-gr-grandparents have an impressive urn-style monument in Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, NY.
Buried in the Hankinson plot are my gr-gr-grandparents John and Alice Hankinson; four of their children who died very young; my gr-grandfather, Frank Hankinson and another relative, Walter Hankinson.
 A fancy drape on Hetty Reeve Parsil's gravestone. Parsil Family Cemetery, Short Hills, NJ.
Eunice Sharp's gravestone. Northfield Baptist Cemetery, Livingston, NJ.

Nelson Sharp, Eunice's husband. Their gravestones are mounted on a large base. 
One of my favorite gravestones is this one with a drape and dove at the top. It's located at Northfield Baptist Cemetery, Livingston, NJ.
Here's another but with two doves that are nearly life-like. Had to look twice! Pleasant View Cemetery, Wilmington, NY.


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Friends Forever

In 1985 I was at the American Quilter's Society first annual quilt show in Paducah, KY, where I took a class given by Elly Sienkiewicz, author of Baltimore Beauties and Beyond. She taught various techniques for making new Baltimore album-style quilts and suggested using fabrics that were large-scale, allover prints which were certainly different from what I was used to working with--thus the challenge! When I decided to make a quilt using her techniques, I purchased an assortment of large-scale fabrics at the Great American Quilt Festival in NYC that I thought might work for the four blocks in the center. The border blocks were adapted from an antique quilt Cut-Paper Cockscomb that I saw in American Quilts and How to Make Them by Carter Houck and Myron Miller. But I didn't want these border blocks to be empty so I copied verses from autograph books--my grandmother's, my mother's, mine, and my daughter's--I had all four.
Four generations of autograph books. 

Friends Forever took two years to make. It is hand-pieced, hand-appliqued and hand-quilted. 
 The block for my grandmother, Ethel Strubbe Bower.
From my grandfather, Stanton M. Bower, to his future bride, Ethel Strubbe, in 1905.

The block I inscribed with the same verse.
 The block for my mother, Etta Bower Davis.
To my mother, Etta Bower, from her friend Anna Beatty, June 23, 1922. 
The block I inscribed with the same verse.
 The block with my name, Barbara Davis Schaffer.
From my good friend, Marilyn Dittmore, a twin.
 The verse I inscribed from Marilyn.
 The block for my daughter, Connie Schaffer.
To Connie from her friend, Beth Modell.
 The block I inscribed with Beth's verse.
The back of the quilt with a block that just didn't work on the front.
What I love most of all is the page in my autograph book written and illustrated by my grandfather, Stanton M. Bower in 1955.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

It Only Took 32 Years . . .

When I first saw the "Geometric" quilt in the 1979 Quilt Engagement Calendar, I knew I had to make one just like it. The only problem was there were no reproduction fabrics available in the late 1970s so I just used scraps that I had on hand. But if I made that same quilt today I would be matching each and every fabric to the original. I started the quilt in 1979 and finished it just the other day but there were MANY years in between where it sat in a closet. Finally, in March of this year I had the urge to take it out and finish it. I had a free weekend to devote to re-basting and start quilting again. It took 4 months to quilt and another few weeks to get the binding sewn on. This quilt is pieced entirely by hand and is hand-quilted--it's 85" x 92", queen size.

With these bright colors, it has a very different look and feel compared to the original which was dated c. 1870.  
A hundred years from now quilt historians will have a lot of fun looking at all these fabrics!

 A detail of the corner where the rows come together.
This is the back of the quilt. Don't you love the color combination--red, blue, and pink??
And here is the mock-up of the back that I did on graph paper a long time ago.
A close-up of the center of the star on the back.

When I had finished sewing on a label, I threw the quilt in the washing machine and dryer and, yes it was dirty from all those years of just "sitting."  But I'm encouraged. There's still hope I will someday finish my other UFOs.