QUILTS & FABRIC: PAST & PRESENT


Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Centennial Suffrage Fabric 2020 Give-Away


August 26, 2020 is the 100th Anniversary of the official certification of the ratification of the 19th amendment so I had a give-away this week.

Poster by Bertha Margaret Boye

A national celebration of the Centennial would be ideal but those in charge do not seem interested in celebrating women's right to vote. States and local organizations had many events scheduled before the pandemic but parades and other public events are on cautionary hold.


You might want to celebrate the anniversary yourself with a quilt or a scrap of fabric in a quilt you are working on this year.


Here's a celebratory grid that you could print out on pre-treated fabric cut 8-1/2 x 11 inches. 

One Way to Print:
Create a word file or a new empty JPG file that is 8-1/2" x 11".
Click on the image above.
Right click on it and save it to your file.
Print that file out 8-1/2" x 11" on pre-treated fabric.


The grid with dots is drawn from a shirting print done in 1876 for
the Centennial anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.


The document print



I also designed three other Suffrage Centennial Prints you can buy at Spoonflower. They'll print them to order.

Document print for the eagle fabric

 GIVE-AWAY WINNERS


I picked two winners based on their good ideas for an August 26th celebration.

Maxine said:
I will contact every eligible (of age) female member of my family to make sure they are registered to vote in the November election. I will make sure they vote either by mail or in person.

Michele has been writing about suffrage on her blog, Pennsylvania Piecemaker which celebrated the centennial for a full year of blog posts on a variety of suffrage topics. My partner Beth and I sponsored a Suffrage Centennial Quilt Challenge and the winners for that will be announced on August 18. 
She also made a suffrage garden in her front yards with "flowers in yellow, purple, and white. I put signs up and people have been coming by to see the garden, read the signs, and take photos."
http://pennsylvaniapiecemaker.blogspot.com/

See the links for all four fabrics on Spoonflower (I'm working on a fifth):

The shirting grid:
https://www.spoonflower.com/designs/9931436-centennial-women-s-vote-by-materialculture
I am still working on the scale on this---They'll probably print a larger grid.

A traditional eagle


https://www.spoonflower.com/designs/9931309-suffrage-centennial-by-materialculture


A more contemporary look --- or feedsack flashback




Here's a list of exhibits scheduled for this Centennial year.
https://www.2020centennial.org/exhibits-2

And some of my favorite comments:
Arlene
As part of my DAR Chapter, a few of us entered the fiber arts contest that was centered on the anniversary of women’s suffrage giving us the right to vote. Our quilt top wall hanging (3x4 12 inch blocks) won 3rd place in our district. For ongoing activities, I am sharing via facebook any information I find regarding the anniversary of women securing the right to vote. I am also advocating for all people to get out and vote when they have the opportunity. I’ve also sent my niece, who is now sewing on her own, information on quilting in general and fabric in the suffrage colors to make something to commemorate the 100th anniversary of our right to vote.

Bettina
August 26 would be the 80th birthday of my husband. There was no greater champion of women's rights. He taught for forty years at a women's college, one of the few strictly for women's education left in the US. He supported and nourished the growth of his students. Many of those students spoke or posted on Facebook of the contribution he made to their education. Celebrating the day would underwrite his commitment. If you're born on the 26th of August you are ordained to support women's rights.

Geri
I think I will get my granddaughters together and we will have a party and read your blog again and Mor information on this special day. I will take my sewing machine and we will make a simple quilt.

Nancy
I think I'll publish a blog post on my family history blog with the names and ages of the women in my family who were eligible to vote in 1920. A search of local newspapers of the time wouldn't go amiss, either. Too bad I can't find voting rosters for the places where they lived in 1920.

 Loretta
My mother-in-law, Carrie Frances, who was born in 1909 and who died when she was 105 years old, remembered and passed down, not just the family silver, but the 1920 election story she remembered from the year when her mother got the right to vote. We will be celebrating the day by setting the table with the good china and the family silver, the silver her mother won by betting against her husband on the outcome of the election in 1920, the very first year women could vote for President. Warren G. Harding won by a landslide, and Annie got her silver. We will also display a quilt Annie made. My mother-in-law went in person to vote every year for her entire life, right up until she was 105 years old.
  
Rebecca

That’s our first day of school so I guess I’m celebrating by teaching the next generation of women voters.

Friday, August 7, 2020

Birds & Spiders #4: The Fabric & Conclusions

The DAR Museum has two related pieces of chintz. 
This one, possibly made into a bolster cover, is
an arborescent with floral and pomegranates but no birds.

The other has the two birds on either side of the tree branch.
(The repeat is reversed in this one.)

Designs are different but elements are the same;
was one a pirated copy of the other design?  (Early 19th-century
English prints were only copyright for a couple of months.)

Tree of Life from the Bird & Spider chintz in the DAR Collection

18th-century palampore from India's Coromandel Coast 
in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum

The cliche about tree of life quilts is that they were inspired
by Indian imagery in palampores....


Scholar Viewing a Waterfall, Ma Yuan, about 1200
Metropolitan Museum of Art

And a Chinese view of landscape.

Tree of Life bedcover, Atlanta History Center

However, that world view must have been filtered through European sources, the imagery available to craftsmen in England who printed the fabric and applique artists in America who stitched the quilts.

Flight Into Egypt panel attributed to Sarah Warner Williams
About 1810-1830
Collection: Winterthur Museum

The bird chintz we have been discussing is an excellent example. English prints like this one from the productive London printer J. Hinton interpreted Asian design, influencing calico printers and quiltmakers.

The piece in the center of Carolyn Miller's quilt is an uncut print with the birds.

We also find quilts made from the related chintz without the birds. 

Arborescent print with a floral and to the side a brown pomegranate.
This one includes peonies the gnarly tree and pomegranates.
 No birds, no spider.

Wholecloth quilt in the collection of the International
Quilt Museum. 102 x 105 inches 
Three widths of the chintz means that the repeats are about a yard wide.

The Winterthur Museum has a length of yardage.
Notice how some of the brown pomegranates are awkwardly off to the right side
kind of floating.....

while others are incorporated into the overall design.

Detail from a top in the collection of the
Los Angeles Museum of Art

The tree of life with familiar florals and pomegranates is rather abruptly connected to
a base with different birds.



Sixteenth-century watercolor of a pomegranate
by Jacques Le Moyne De Morgues.
Collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum

Catherine Parker Custis's quilt at the DAR Museum: pomegranates
cut from the bird & spider chintz.

Pomegranates that look to be from a different chintz in a medallion
in Jane Lury's collection

And in the other quilt in Jane's collection

We are all guessing there were several variations on the chintzes with more
than one bird print (is one reversed?), a couple of pomegranate designs, etc.


When Mount Vernon curators reworked their chintz bedroom a few years ago they commissioned Windham fabrics to interpret the piece in the collection of the Winterthur, brightening the reproduction in "vividness of the color and the saturation," according to Associate Curator Amanda Isaac.

The scale appears larger than the original.


Johanna Christina Miller, Savannah
Georgia Quilts

What have we learned from examining this ubiquitous chintz and the many surviving quilts made from it?

1) The bird & pomegranate arborescent chintzes printed in England were widely available up and down the east coast of the U.S. in the early 19th century --- perhaps 1820-1840. We see quilts with connections.

2) Quiltmakers from Massachusetts down to Savannah, Georgia (and perhaps into the Bahamas) made quilts as shown in the quilts with family histories.

3) Nearly every one of the quilts found using the Bird & Spider chintz arranged the designs into a tree of life format (no baskets, no wreaths).

A few trees

Questions?
1) How was this design standard communicated to such a geographically disparate group of quiltmakers?

2) Or were the quilts (basted, finished tops or finished quilts) from a single professional workshop which had a good supply of Bird & Spider fabric and many seamstresses with the skills to snip out the design elements and stitch them to a backing.

The chintz in the center of collector Carolyn Miller's medallion

And that is the end of the posts on Birds with a Spider for Lunch.

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Birds & Spiders #3: More Tree of Life Quilts

Quilt with little history in the collection of the DAR Museum

The elements in the central tree of life are cut and rearranged from
the bird chintz we've been looking at in the last two posts.
 The quilting is stuffed work.

The tree was cut from this chintz including birds, pink florals on a tree branch
and dark pomegranates plus a spider.

Yesterday we looked at quilts with family information passed on with them. These are quilts cut from the same chintz but with little to no provenance.

Detail of a quilt sold at a Christie's Auction in London

89" x 92"
Now in Jane Lury's collection


The Lancaster Historical Museum owns this one with the birds in the border


The center features two hawks, also common in American chintz applique.

The bird fabrics would seem to be related in style.


Jane Lury has two quilts with the birds in them. This medallion focuses on a central furniture panel.

Two pair of the birds are in an inner border.

In his 1946 book William Dunton pictured this
album once belonging to the Clark family (possibly of 
Baltimore.) It was then in the collection of collector
J. Stogdell Stokes (1870-1947) who was President
of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Three birds and one spider arranged around the tree

I'd guess this quilt was from after 1840 when block-style chintz albums became the fashion. The maker combined the older tree-of-life piece (perhaps she'd been planning to finish it for decades) with
newer blocks from friends. Wish I could tell you the quilt is in the Philadelphia Museum of Art
collection but don't see it there.


Shelburne Museum collection

Possibly another late version with a combination of
chintz applique and conventional applique cut from calicoes.

Two each of the birds we have been discussing
plus a third with a longer tail eyeing a spider towards the bottom here.

The same bird seen in a tree of life coverlet in the collection of the Tryon Palace
Museum in New Bern, North Carolina. The pomegranates and florals are
related to the bird chintz with the spider.

But we are not going to digress into other birds (at least this week.)

Tomorrow the last post of four: Fabrics with the pomegranates, birds and spider.