Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Between the Layers: Art and Story in Tennessee Quilts

The state of Tennessee has a fabulous new museum building in Nashville. Their first temporary exhibit is a quilt show up until July 7th. I snapped some pictures when I visited last month...

Frances Mary “Fannie” Powers, of Rutherford County

and I pirated a few pictures from museum publicity.
The quilts are grouped by type. Many are displayed on slant boards.

The museum has about 400 quilts. They chose 40 for the show.

A more than life-size photo on display

Bacon Family of Roane County

Can't have a show of Tennessee quilts without a Rocky Mountain.

People of the World by Lillian Beattie

The is a full size quilt, drafted and stitched with skill

One of the characteristic pieced designs that looks as if it were appliqued 
but the roses and swags are all pieced in.

Margaret OrdoƱez prepared the quilts for exhibition. We heard a presentation from Dr. O about
the process. She certainly enjoys her work.

Dr. Adelson had much assistance from Bets Ramsey (above on the left)
and Merikay Waldvogel (below left) who wrote the Quilts of Tennessee book.

One of America's oldest date-inscribed quilts
Rebecah Foster 1808
It was great to see this one in the cloth.

The Museum has a collecting goal of at least one quilt from each of the state's 95 counties.
They have 72 counties represented so far.

My favorite has to be Sallie Hasson's Masonic applique. She and her
sisters were professional milliners and each made a similar quilt.

The applique is done by machine.

The whole Museum is worth a drive to Nashville. When you go notice
the etched glass images of regional quilt patterns in the architecture.

Here's a video: https://www.facebook.com/tnmuseum.org/videos/544723742680200/?__tn__=%2Cd%2CP-R&eid=ARAqwmgX_kP50QH8zbedM1fGdmcqmfSf2CEtY12A-Og-zzcddMA7N0wtsW7KYN6NX2zHvKN8zow0POiW

And an interview with Candace Adelson, Senior Curator of Costumes and Textiles


  1. Thank you for the reminder. When we went to the legislature to try to influence some votes on a bill, I saw a big poster advertising this, but had already forgotten in only 6 weeks! I will have to make a special day to drive over from east Tennessee to view the exhibit, even if I have to go alone. =) This was a lovely preview!

  2. That looks like a great exhibit! I hope the new museum is successful.

    I cannot imagine piecing the swags!!

  3. I love Tennessee and this exhibit is another excuse to visit. These quilts are wonderful!

  4. https://www.ebay.com/itm/c1890s-gorgeous-quilt-photograph-with-family-posing-in-front-photo-from-Kansas/382952138280?hash=item5929b9e628:g:uDcAAOSwaNlc2e7e&redirect=mobile

    Check out this auction for Kansas photo. Holly

  5. Thanks so much for sharing this. I wanted to see the exhibit and now I feel as if I have.