Friday, July 28, 2017

Alarming Trends

Recent Sunbonnet Sue sightings in online auctions have noted an increase in spontaneous mutations.

Exceptionally problematic are arms and hands

The arm should sprout from beneath the
bonnet towards the neck region to
approximate traditional human anatomy.

Slippage has been noted.

Scale is another problem

Like everyone else in the U.S.
poundage is being added

Although some are trying to get more exercise.

We also note balance problems,
possibly due to size 22 feet,

which continue to become larger

And smaller.

This one is developing human-like faces.
Too much information

See another post here:

I never get tired of ridiculing poor Sue.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Antique Quilt Exhibits: Summer Through Fall 2017

 Antique Quilt Exhibits: Summer Through Fall 2017

From Flying Down to Rio
Buy yourself a seat inside the plane and take a trip to
 see these shows and conferences.

California, Pasadena
Huntington Library. Becoming America: Highlights from the Jonathan and Karin Fielding Collection. The Fieldings' new wing exhibits objects from their folk-arts collection including quilts. Their focus: American ingenuity in art for utilitarian purposes by craftspeople in 18th & 19th century rural New England. Through October, 2019.

California, San Diego
Mingei Museum of Folk Art. Kantha, 40 Indian pieces made from recycled sari decoratively stitched. October 28 -March 25, 2018.

Indiana, Indianapolis
Indianapolis Museum of Art. Crazy Quilts: Stitching Memories. Through January 7, 2018

Indiana State Museum. Lincoln in Quilts: Log Cabins, Flags and Roses. Featuring a quilt made by his cousin in 1827; those directly associated with Lincoln through the use of campaign ribbons, silks from his wife Mary Todd’s dresses or those of her friends; Civil War quilts; and memorial quilts as well as a range of campaign and other textiles.  Nov. 4, 2017 through Feb. 19, 2018.

Kentucky, Bowling Green
Elizabeth Richardson Quilt Gallery at Western Kentucky University. Backward & Forward: 20th Century Quilts. More than 30 quilts and wall hangings illustrate how Kentucky quiltmakers looked to both the past and to the future for inspiration. Through December 15, 2017.

Nebraska, Lincoln
International Quilt Study Center & Museum/Quilt House.
Block by Block: American Quilts in the Industrial Age. Curator: Janice Frisch. Through November 30, 2017.
Red & White Quilts from the IQSCM Education Collection. Through November 22, 2017

New Jersey. Oak Ridge
Jefferson Township Museum open house Sunday, November 5, 2017, from 1 to 4 pm, features the Museum’s display of vintage and antique quilts.

New York City
American Folk Art Museum.  War and Pieced: The Annette Gero Collection of Quilts from Military Fabrics. Through January 7, 2018. 29 quilts made by men using British uniform wools.

Ohio, Cincinnati
Taft Museum of Art. Elegant Geometry: British & American Mosaic Patchwork Quilts. Traveling Exhibit from the International Quilt Study Center & Museum. Through January 21, 2018.
Columbus Museum of Art. Botanical Wonders: Flower Figure Quilts 1850-1950 From The Donna And Rodney Wasserstrom Collection. Showcasing a recent donation. Through March 11, 2018.

Tennessee, Knoxville
East Tennessee Historical Society. Stories in Stitches: Quilts from the ETHS Collection. Curators Jan Wass and Merikay Waldvogel. Through January 2, 2018.

Virginia, Harrisonburg
Virginia Quilt Museum. Treasures from the Vault:  Quilts from the VQM Collection, Elegant Stitches. Curated by Gloria Comstock. Focus on quilting from 18th & 19th-century Virginians. Through December 16, 2017.

Virginia, Williamsburg
Colonial Williamsburg, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum. A Century of African-American Quilts features twelve quilts from the collection dating from 1875. Through January, 2018.

Printed Fashions: Textiles for Clothing and the Home, 1700-1820 includes a few quilts (one with a John Hewson panel) and a lot of early fabrics.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Archie Butt Quilt Contest 1911

In 1911 Major Archibald Butt and Albert Howell
conducted a great Georgia quilt contest.

The President (left) & Archie Butt strolling in Washington about 1910.

Butt, Georgia born, was aide-de-camp to President William Howard Taft. He and his companion Francis Millet were building a new home in Washington D.C. and Archie decided he needed a quilt for the guest room.

Crazy quilt on a chair. 

The story is told that Butt, Taft and friend Albert Howell of Atlanta were out for a drive in Georgia when they came across a quilt hanging outside a rural cabin. Butt was struck by the quilt and told Howell he needed an "old-fashioned Georgia quilt" for the bed. One article said he wanted a quilt like the kind that were made in the country before the war (Civil War, we assume, although he was born five months after the war was over.)

From Georgia Quilts: Piecing Together a History

Howell, whose brother's family owned the Atlanta Constitution, decided to find Archie a quilt. (Partly as a joke, he recalled.) He put an ad in the Constitution and other Georgia papers.
"Wanted An old - fashioned country quilt, for which a handsome price will be paid. - - . The quilt is to cover the bed of Major Archibald Butt, aide to President Taft."
Apparently hundreds of Georgians brought quilts for Howell to look at. On May 22, 1911 he and friends chose a pair of quilts for the Major. Newspaper articles described their options:
Some of the designs submitted are: "The Sunflower, the "Possum" Paw. the "Basket Quilt. the "Log Cabin. the"Lone Star," the "Brick Quilt." the "Hexagon." the "Sugar Loaf," the "Nine Patch," the "Star Quilt, the "Block Quilt, the "Bear's Paw" and the "Bow Knot" ...

Fortunately a photo was published of the winning quilt. The "Double Sunflower" design was
made by Mrs. A. E. Collum, Decatur, Georgia. She said there were 5,000 pieces in it.

Second place went to a hexagon quilt by Mrs. J. M. Bentley of Atlanta.

The handsome price: $100 each, guessed the Richmond Times Dispatch on May 24, the day after the judging. Somebody at the Times Dispatch thought the whole thing was silly. $100 was too much to pay for an old-fashioned quilt.
"Besides, what does Major Butts want with these quilts?... Doubtless they are as heavy as lead and as ugly as a mud fence. Besides it is Major Butt's business to sleep under an army blanket...."

Butt and Taft were close friends.

Archie Butt and Francis Davis Millet died on the Titanic in 1912, returning from a European vacation.

A fountain in their honor stands near the White House. The quilts went to Butt's niece who lived in England.

The Window Seat by Francis Davis Millet
Francis Davis Millet was a painter and sculptor.

The Widow by Francis Davis Millet

Read more about the great Georgia quilt contest of 1911 here in Home Progress magazine:


And read the nasty article in the Richmond newspaper here:


Sunday, July 16, 2017

Quilts at the 1885 Cotton States Exposition

Harriet Powers's Bible Quilt

"Quilt Exhibit, Interior of Negro Building, Atlanta Exposition," 1895
Stereograph by B W. Kilburn, published 1896

The vintage photo features Harriet Powers's Bible Quilt, now in the collection of the Smithsonian Institution. Kyra Hicks on her blog Black Threads reported on an original card selling on eBay for $203 ten years ago.

 Harriet Powers's Bible Quilt - 1885-1886

The exposition, a sort of a world's fair, was held in Atlanta, Georgia. The 1895 exhibit was the last of three Atlanta Cotton State fairs:
  • 1881 International Cotton Exposition,
  • 1887 Piedmont Exposition
  • 1895 Cotton States and International Exposition
A coin purse made of a painted shell

The trade show and entertainment showcased Atlanta as a growing city and hoped to develop markets for the post-Civil-War Southern textile economy.

The Negro Building
In the spirit of segregation there was a separate building for black
Americans' arts and industry.

The Memphis Display in the Negro Building.
On the left of the women a spinning wheel.
See one version of this card at the Libarary of Congress:

Behind the spinning wheel some kind of patterned textile.

The commercial photographer B. W. Kilburn & Company of Littleton, New Hampshire, published a series of 149 stereocards of the Expo. In some of the shots of the Negro Building you get a glimpse of what might be quilts.

Probably just flags....

Same photo, another detail
of a doll bed in the foreground
and a girl sitting on a bed just like it.

Just flags.

Those patterned items hung on walls are probably some
other kind of banner or canvas.

Except in the photo of the quilt exhibit featuring Harriet Powers's quilt.
Behind her quilt is a woman in a booth. On the right: seems like a Lone Star.
On the left: A pine cone or pine burr bedcover of folded triangles?

Similar to this one from the inventory of Julie Silber Quilts.

Or maybe it's a  pieced wheel quilt of some kind.

And in the case:
Appliqued words of the Lord's Prayer.
At the bottom

See a similar quilt by Lena Moore featuring Psalm 23 here:

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

My New Quilt: Appliqued Sunshine

I recently bought this appliqued quilt on eBay.
It is certainly energetic if not conventionally beautiful.

First of all it's dated
Jan 1931 in Turkey red thread.

The applique designs all askew are quite cheerful.
Are those chrome orange butterflies?

Any quilt with stars & suns reminds me of my
sorely missed friend Nancy Hornback who used
to collect quilts with suns and stars and moons.

Blocks include six versions of this fleur-de-lis design, which
was a fairly common mid-19th century pattern, numbered
6 in my Encyclopedia of Applique.

Another great thing is that there was a little bit of history with it. The Massachusetts dealer had bought it "from a picker in Philadelphia who purportedly bought the quilt from an African American household in the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia."

It said Philadelphia to me.

I was thinking of applique like this one dated 1847
from Philadelphia

And this one sold by dealer Stella Rubin.
 It's dated 1842 in memory of Abby Leaming Forepaugh
who died in Philadelphia.

And then there's block #116 from
the Ladies' Art Company catalog.
"Philadelphia Beauty."
#6.2 in my Encyclopedia

See a post on the traditional pattern here:

The khaki colored blocks are appliqued
with green thread and probably were
once a dark green.

At first I was doubtful about the date of 1931. The fabrics look to be the solids dating from about 1880 to 1920 that were so unreliable.

The reds are now pinkish. 
They might have looked like the Turkey red embroidery thread once.
The chrome orange is still a bright orangey-yellow.

It was once a red, green and yellow applique, a style you do not see much of after 1910 or so.Without the date I'd have guessed about 1900. So my first guess: it was appliqued about 1900 and quilted later. You can see parallel lines of machine quilting above.

But my friends noticed that the applique is stitched over the quilting. This was quilted first and then appliqued. I think it was probably a comforter of some kind---a white muslin-encased blanket with sparse machine quilting. Some clever stitcher took a shortcut and added the applique to the bound and quilted comforter and dated it January, 1931. 

Once I figured this out I noticed a quilt done in similar style also on eBay. The red appliqued wheels seem to be appliqued to a pre-quilted comforter from what I could see. 

The dealer was from a town north of Philadelphia.

I didn't buy it however. One is enough. And I like mine better.
But now I'm wondering how more there are out there.
It's the old Mary Evans question:
One person or a regional style?