Monday, November 21, 2011

Patchwork from Folk Art to Fine Art

There's still time to see the "Patchwork from Folk Art to Fine Art" exhibit at the Newark Museum through December 31st, but if you can't make it, here are some of the masterpiece quilts in this exhibit.

It was a real treat to see two quilts which the museum purchased from Florence Peto in 1948--Red and White Bride's Quilt and Centennial Quilt.  

Delectable Mountains, c. 1840-1860, maker unknown, NJ. 

Princess Feather and Rising Sun, ca. 1840. Made by Mrs. Catherine Fitzgerald and her sister, Newark, NJ.

Here's a detail. 

Appliqued princess feather motifs in red and pink printed calico.

Red and White Bride's Quilt or Album Quilt, 1840-1850, maker unknown, Maryland or Delaware.This is one of the quilts the museum purchased from Florence Peto in 1948. It was a blue ribbon winner at the Connecticut Valley Historical Society exhibition in Springfield, MA, in 1946. 

 The elaborate quilting designs follow the outline of the appliques in addition to feathers, shells, fans, and diamonds. 

  A meandering vine with sawtooth borders. 

Centennial Quilt, 1876, PA. The museum also purchased this quilt from Florence Peto in 1948.

The large center square is printed "The Memorial Hall, Art Gallery." 

There is a wonderful assortment of Centennial prints.

This Chintz Applique quilt was made in NJ ca. 1830-1840. The center features a "classical trophy of arms, surrounded by a floral wreath in reds, blues and yellows."

The appliques are edged with a button-hole stitch. Straight-line quilting in the borders and diagonal lines elsewhere.

Hexagonal Patch quilt top, 1792-1803. Made by mother and daughter, Catherine and Susan Springer, New Castle, DE.

Each patch was basted to a piece of newspaper and then all were sewn together with tiny stitches.

This striking Medallion silk quilt was made in 1855 by Mrs. C. S. Conover, NYC, for her grandson.

It was created from expensive silks, satins, and other fabrics. The quilt is in pristine condition.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Celebration of Quilts 2011

One of the nicest quilt shows in NJ is the one sponsored by Brownstone Quilters Guild, an active group that for years has held both daytime and evening meetings on a monthly basis. This year's show, Celebration of Quilts 2011, was held Friday and Saturday at Northern Highland Regional High School in Allendale, NJ.

I love the historical-themed quilts that are being made by Jill Reid, Susan McDermott, and Barb Vedder. See some of their quilts below.   

Renaissance was a blue ribbon winner in the Group or Duet Bed Quilt category. It was quilted by Barbara Khan.

This small wall quilt, Floral Charm, was made by Pauline Wilson. All the floral squares were appliqued--not pieced--to a white background.

Susan McDermott's quilt, Lincoln Blogs, won a red ribbon in the Large Wall Quilt Pieced category.

And Barb Vedder's, Remembering Abe, won a blue ribbon in the same category. Be sure to check out her blog, "Fun With Barb."

Jill Reid's quilt, With Malice Toward None, was also in the Large Wall Quilt Pieced category.

A wonderful Log Cabin quilt. 

Here's a detail.  I love the 4-patch in the center of each block.

And here is Barb Vedder's, Mother's Garden, a loving tribute to her mother.

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Statue of Liberty's 125th Anniversary

Not that baseball and quilts have much in common, but this year marks the 125th anniversary of the dedication of the Statue of Liberty and both my gr-grandfather and I witnessed this celebration--only one hundred years apart. In 1886 he was playing baseball looking out over NY harbor while Lady Liberty was being assembled; and, in 1986 I was making a quilt to celebrate the Statue of Liberty's 100th birthday. Somehow I feel there's a bond--a family connection. 

On April 29, 1886, fans attending the opening day of the National League at the St. George Cricket Grounds on Staten Island, NY, watched the game between the NY Metropolitans and Brooklyn. My gr-grandfather, Frank Hankinson, 3rd baseman for the Mets, scored one of the team's home runs even though they lost 4-3. He played professional baseball for 10 years--four of them with the Metropolitans 1885-1887 and 1889. He is 2nd from the right in the back row. 

One hundred years later, the Great American Quilt Contest and Festival in honor of the Statue of Liberty Centennial was underway. The pre-registration deadline for the contest was June 14, 1985. Quilts had to be an original design and were to be judged on the "basis of originality, execution of theme, craftsmanship, needlework and overall appearance." It had to measure 72" x 72" and be "crafted from colorfast fabric." It must be hand-quilted--no machine quilting or tying allowed.   

It took me a long time to come up with a design but I finally settled on this one.

My quilt Freedom Needs No Words was chosen as a finalist in the NJ competition. The 11-pointed star represents the base of the Statue of Liberty with the seven points of Lady Liberty's crown radiating from the center.

The immigrant child represents hope and freedom, and the border--strength.

 I quilted the torch in the center section. If you look real close you can see fingers wrapped around the base.

 And in the top border I quilted, "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses..." 

In 1986, Seton Hall University in South Orange, NJ, had an exhibit, "In Celebration of Freedom." On the left is Rita Erickson's quilt, Patriotic Pyrotechnics, my quilt, Freedom Needs No Words, and on the right is Beverly Komoda's quilt, Liberty's Centennial. Some of the quilts that were in this exhibit were purchased by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, including mine.

The PA had the quilts mounted onto large wooden frames and hung them in one of their buildings where they were displayed for more than 10 years. Then in 1997 when the PA decided to deaccession their huge art collection, the quilts went on the auction block--and Rita Erickson and I both bought back our quilts! When I got home I decided to throw my quilt in the washing machine and dryer knowing there was a good chance it could totally disintegrate--but it didn't. It was absolutely fine!