Thursday, March 31, 2011

Just a few more shots from the Red & White Show!

These are the shots I took on my phone, which I had never used as a camera I'm pretty happy that there is even anything to look at

LOVE the pieced border on this one.....Yummy!

Sorry so light, but I just love the setting of these NY Beauty blocks!  Will definitely use that one day!

This was one of the few quilts done with a patterned red fabric.  I just love the applique with the piecing.

Here's a close-up of the the partial star edging.  That always makes me jealous of the maker who could be so bold and independent!  I know I always work myself into a frenzy trying to come up with the right sizing of blocks and repeats to make it come out somewhere around the right size.  I think I'm going to be more free with that from now on!

Another shot of one of my favorites!  Funny.....I said before how I really loved the 3 borders, 2 different again......the maker was bold and independent!  Don't you wish we could know these women!

Would I ever do a courthouse steps in two colors.....probably not......but's fabulous!  And the applique border just makes it!

This beauty was at floor level, so I could really see the piecing.  The nine-patches that have only 4 reds to them for the pattern, were not made of 9 pieces.....2 of the whites were one piece of fabric.  I know it's less stitching to do, but a lot more work in measuring and cutting pieces.  Which way do you do blocks like that, when two of the same background are next to each other?  Just wondering.  And would you do it differently when hand piecing or machine?

This was lovely representation of women sitting in a quilting bee.  Love the double wedding ring.

Well.....that's the end of the pics from the show.

What I'm ending this blog with are excerpts from the program they had at the show.  Lovely words from the Director, Curator, and owner.

It is with profound gratitude to Joanna S. Rose that the American Folk Art Museum presents "Infinite Variety:  Three Centuries of Red and White Quilts."  In anticipation of a significant gift to the museum, six hundred and fifty of more than one thousand American quilts are on view in the Park Avenue Armory's historic 55,000 square foot Wade Thompson Drill Hall.  And as a gift to the city of New York, admission to the exhibition is free.  While the idea of hundreds of quilts is impressive in the abstract, in actuality it is an unprecedented and immersive experience, both visually and physically.  The title "Infinite Variety," though evocative and accurate, belies the sheer magnitude and poetry of Mrs. Rose's accomplishment.  The lyrical installation conceived by the New York City based firm Thinc Design tosses these hundreds of quilts into space like so many playing cards, where they hover weightlessly, seemingly frozen in midair.  This magical but ephemeral moment will ultimately be captured in the pages of a fully illustrated catalog copublished by the American Folk Art Museum and written by Elizabeth V. Warren, guest curator of this spectacular presentation.  But for six days in March 2011, the museum invites visitors to the Armory to enter a veritable wonderland of red and white quilts.

Maria Ann Conelli
Executive Director, American Folk Art Museum

Stacy C. Hollander
Senior Curator, American Folk Art Museum

And from the owner, Joanna Semel Rose.......

These six hundred and fifty American quilts from three centuries (most nineteenth century) are not the prizewinners at fairs nor ones that have been passed down in families, cherished by several generations.  They are, rather, ordinary coverings, their creators largely anonymous, their provenance obscure, not meant for company beds or "best use".

While the industrial revolution swept through England in the 1800s and American pioneers pushed over westward settling our continent, their women stayed at home raising children, cooking, cleaning, farming, and often piecing quilts from leftover scraps of material and socializing at quilting bees.  Their imaginations took flight in the patterns and variations of traditional shapes.  The quilter found her subjects in nature, in the Setting Sun and Feathered Star, in the Wild Goose Chase, the Garden Maze, in Lightning and the Melon Patch.  In her kitchen she found models in Flower Pots and Fruit Baskets.  Oak Leaf, Pine Tree, and Hickory Leaf were traditional New England themes drawn from the landscape.  Burgoyne's Surrender came from battle plans in history books.  Delectable Mountains derives its name from the passage in John Bunyan's 'Pilgrim's Progress' which describes the promised land (in the settler's mind, the United States).  Friendship Baskets is covered with moral and religious maxims; Drunkard's Path is an admonition.  Tithing Reel was created to raise money for a Pennsylvania church.

When my husband asked what I would like for my eightieth birthday, I said, "Something I've not seen before and something that would be a gift for New York City."  Seeing all of these quilts at the same moment would be the ideal gift.  I did not set out to collect quilts.  I have the instincts of a treasure hunter, not a collector.  I had no clue how many red and white quilts I owned.  They came up at flea markets in the 1950s and sold for five and ten dollars or were often used to wrap purchases.  In the latter decades of the twentieth century came the realization of their originality and graphic beauty.

Shows at the American Folk Art Museum and the Whitney Museum of American Art art and in smaller cities and towns across the U.S. rekindled an interest in quilts.  My visual memory was tested because I never checked to see if I already possessed a particular pattern before acquiring it.

Happily, now, interest in this particular folk art has gone beyond mine, which is about pattern and social history.  It includes scholarly studies of textiles, needlework, dyes, and political history.  Museums have expanded and professionalized the field, but for me, the fun of finding a treasure, the pleasure of thinking of those nineteenth-century women not 'doomed to drudgery' but letting their minds and needles wander is sufficient.

It is my hope that the show will travel far and wide---inquiries have come from several continents.

As more and more technology expands the world, it narrows mine.  But books and paintings and quilts tell me that imagination is alive and well.

I am grateful to the American Folk Art Museum, Thinc Design, the Park Avenue Armory, and my husband for making this wild idea a reality.  I hope you enjoy the show.  We had a great time assembling it!

Isn't she a lovely women!?!  And what an amazing gift to us all!

And now I'm crying again!  Sheesh!  It was just so overwhelmingly wonderful, generous and inspiring! 



  1. This really was moving Regan.
    I can honestly say I have never thought about how these quilts came to be. I loved this.
    Thank you for sharing and expanding my world.

  2. That is so special! Joanna Semel Rose sounds like such a lovely generous woman. your photos look great. The mobile camera gives them a slight magical, dreamy look and I liked your commentry, I helps look at the quilts in different ways.

  3. Wasn't it a wonderful exhibit? I can't imagine that I'll ever forget it; just amazing.

  4. Thanks for sharing this information. I've heard parts of it, but it was nice to read it all. Truly wonderful, generous,and inspiring!

  5. Lucky you, seeing these in person; they make my heart skip a beat!! I know this show is absolutely and completely phenomenal. Great post!

  6. Thank you for sharing pictures of the quilts at the show. I can't see enough of them and wish I had been able to see them in person. I seem to be most attracted to the quilts where red is the major color rather than the white.

  7. Oh, my goodness, such beauty! Each one more exquisite than the last! Thank you for sharing these!