Wednesday, March 18, 2015

A Fabulous Weekend in Washington

Block from a Baltimore Album quilt in the collection
of the Daughters of the American Revolution Museum

The DAR Museum hosted a two-day seminar last weekend that was perfection for fans of Baltimore quilts and antique fabrics. "Eye-Opening Symposium" was held in conjunction with their ongoing exhibition "Eye on Elegance:  Early Quilts of Maryland & Virginia "

Deborah Cooney & Ronda Harrell gave a joint paper, "Saw Some Pretty Squares," on the
joint making of the BAQ album blocks in the 1840s and '50s, updating research on the cooperative producers of these masterpieces of applique---from designers to basters to stitchers.

Detail from a bedcover from the Wilkins workshop,
recent gift of Bill Volkening

Ronda also talked about Achsah Goodwin Wilkins and her earlier workshop.

Deborah Kraak in the background here
with Dr. Patricia Cox Crews and Newbie Richardson
in the foreground. 

Deb talked about "Fabrics a la Mode," recurring floral imagery and the botany behind the chintzes.

The supply chain in 1780s' Connecticut

Me: I talked about sources for quilt patterns and fabrics before the Civil War.

Detail of the reverse applique vine in one of  
Anna Catherine Markey Garnhart's quilts

Bunnie Jordan gave us an overview of the "Quilts of Early Maryland and Virginia" and what makes them unique.

Detail of an album quilt

Curator Alden O'Brien discussed the themes of elegance and refinement in those quilts and the social context of the society that produced them.

Detail of the Penn Album quilt, Designer #4.
UPDATE: Virginia corrects me:
"It's one of one of the several variations of design style II, "
Dang-I'll never get them straight.

Virginia Vis asked "Haven't I Seen That Before?" adding to our knowledge about details of style in the Baltimore Album quilt blocks' design.

We had a good time. Wish you were there.

See more of the quilts in the excellent online exhibit at the DAR Museum's website:


  1. Sounds like a wonderful seminar to attend and a great place to see historical quilts.


  2. Wish they could take the seminar on the road to a few of the bigger shows out west or throughout the land so more could attend. Sounds wonderful and I've enjoyed the online portion. Thanks!