Sunday, December 26, 2010

Marseille: White Corded Quilting

The International Quilt Study Center and Museum in Lincoln, Nebraska, is featuring an exhibit of whitework until May 22, 2011.

The show is guest curated by Kathryn Berenson, author of Quilts of Provence and the new Marseille: The Cradle of White Corded Quilting.

Denniele took a trip to Lincoln and sent photos. Whitework is often hard to photograph but the show is so well-lit and she is so handy with her point and shoot that her photos will inspire you to make a trip.

Here's what the IQSC site has to say about the show:
Marseille: White Corded Quilting, the first major display in the world of all-white quilted and corded French needlework,  explores its development in Marseilles, the fusion of technique with design imagery, and the integration of this needlework into other cultures as it was exported, adopted and re-transformed over three centuries in three continents.

Broderie de Marseille is a form of three-dimensional textile sculpture using plain white cloth and white cotton cording, deftly manipulated with needle and thread to reveal patterns highlighted by the resulting play of light and shadow on the textile surface. Skillful execution of broderie de Marseille resulted in delicate, refined work that graced the homes and figures of aristocrats and launched an international passion for all-white corded needlework. The quilted works were filled with imagery expressing contemporary values, such as folk legends (Tristan), heraldic devices and royal monograms (on bedcovers), and floral wreaths an fruits symbolizing good fortune and fertility (on wedding quilts). Contemporary versions, today often referred to as "matelasse," are machine made and thus lack the intimate connections to the work represented by the confections of the original needleworkers-almost all of them presumably women.
Click here to read more:


  1. I went in November with a group from Australia and we got to see them the day before the opening.
    They are absolutely beautiful.


  2. I normally ooh and ah over the quilts you post, toady was a first, I gasped. So beautiful, thank you.

  3. I have been studying this work for a number of years now. Interestingly, the exhibition is not using the name "boutis" for these pieces, although they are in fact the true boutis. Sadly, the term has been used commonly for the cheap imported quilts sold everywhere now in Provence.
    These pieces were made for life's celebrations, marriage, birth. The largest pieces (vane, vanne or provencal "vano") were made for the top of the bed and were wedding pieces. Most commonly, one sees the small petassons (petassoun in provencal) which were made as infant lap pieces to protect the mother's clothes at baptism. There are a few other items such as chauffoirs, placed on parts of the body as warmers, and rectangular pieces for the top of dressers, as well as beautiful costume items (jupons and caracos).
    I am really looking forward to the exhibition, but I will have to wait until April !