Thursday, February 13, 2020

Ethnicity & Quilt Style 2

Woman and a string quilt variation, about 1910.

Yesterday I posted four string quilts from the Michigan project with the question: Can you tell the maker's ancestry by her style? Are the collectors correct in thinking ethnicity is obvious or is Cuesta Benberry's view (Essentially: NO WAY!)  more accurate?

(1) String quilt made in Holland, Michigan in 1982 by
Josie Lewis Shagonoby (1896-1989) 
Josie's niece said she was of Ottawa Potawatomie Native American heritage and that the fabrics were old clothes.

(2) String quilt made in Marshall, Michigan, probably about 1950 by
Lydia Short Easterly (1870-1960) & daughter Dora Easterly Freed (1890-1987)

Lydia's granddaughter described her ethnic background as Dutch and English and recalled the fabric as family clothing scraps. "Very little material was wasted, and based on the stories; neighbors and relatives often traded fabric."

(3) String quilt made in Idlewild, Michigan, 1986
by Viney Green Crawford (1912-) 

The Michigan project interviewed the quiltmaker for their exhibit and book African American Quiltmaking in Michigan. Viney said she didn't "use store-bought patterns, but instead makes them up as she goes along, putting scraps together in a way that makes a pleasing design. 'I don't make really fancy quilts, just something put together.' "

Viney Green Crawford

(4) Quilt made in Gaastra, Michigan, 1981 by 
Ruth Fuleihan Buntrock (1927- ) signed "Grandma, September, 1981."

Ruth's granddaughter (the quilt was a 3rd birthday gift) described her as of Syrian/German heritage (The family was actually from Syria but their home had become part of Lebanon). She remembered the fabrics as "Pieces of material taken from recognizable clothes or remnants of materials from which clothes were made."

"Attributed to an unknown African American quilter...early 1900s."
Perhaps a better caption would be
"String quilt, unknown quiltmaker, early 1900s"


  1. No, you cannot tell. As a quilter we can sometimes share the same pattern with a different color variation.

  2. Beautiful quilts no matter who made them, or how, or how easy or difficult they may be.

  3. I think these style attributions are made by whoever is selling the quilts. We see it all the time on ebay where they try to capture your attention by what is popular at the time of sale. I am guessing marketing to "the desirable" has always been happening. Quilters are as variable as there are people and are sparked by other's quilts or just designs they see in their lives and surroundings.

    Am so happy to testify about a great spell caster that helped me when all hope was lost for me to unite with my ex-girlfriend that I love so much. I had a girlfriend that love me so much but something terrible happen to our relationship one afternoon when her friend that was always trying to get to me was trying to force me to make love to her just because she was been jealous of her friend that i was dating and on the scene my girlfriend just walk in and she thought we had something special doing together, i tried to explain things to her that her friend always do this whenever she is not with me and i always refuse her but i never told her because i did not want the both of them to be enemies to each other but she never believed me. She broke up with me and I tried times without numbers to make her believe me but she never believed me until one day i heard about the DR. EMU and I emailed him and he replied to me so kindly and helped me get back my lovely relationship that was already gone for two months.
    Email him at: Emutemple@gmail.com  
    Call or Whats-app him: +2347012841542