Textiles and the Triplett Sisters

Lori Lee Triplett, Business Manager for Quilt and Textile Collections, has successfully combined a variety of passions which include research, writing, and performing into the quilt world. As a lecturer and instructor she brings her experience from stage, screen, and radio to make the presentations fun yet educational. She enjoys presenting at local quilt guilds, but also presents at national conferences and has made appearances internationally.

One More Thing, or Is It Two?

It’s hard to walk away from the Colonial Williamsburg Exhibition, because there was so much wonder to see. Fabulous period costumes, a fun and funky fashion show of reproduction clothing, palampores hanging in multiple cases. The list goes on…I could probably write several more articles, but I’ll try to limit myself to one more thing. I was struck by the “muddy colors” noted by some as purple. Taupe, dirt brown, or any color brown I’d describe as muddy, but not purple. Yet, purple was apparently the neutral for the period according to some of the designer notes. So, it is somewhat ironic that the fabulous and brilliant purple, does indeed turn brown with age. It is a fugitive color (one that runs away) and so frequently the glory of the color is missed, unless you get...

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Sample, Sample, Who's Got the Sample Book?

The hallway that leads to the Colonial Williamsburg Exhibition “Printed Fashions: Textiles for Clothing and Home” was lined with images from a sample book. This sample book is also featured in the display case in the exhibition. Hundreds of fabric samples provide the viewer with a wider perspective on the printed textiles available to consumers. The folding swatch book unfurls to 8 feet and contains 430 different samples of cotton and cotton/linen fabric. The book was the printed goods of Thomas Smith of Manchester, England. However, the firm went bankrupt in 1788. The book provides us with specifics on fabric available for clothing prior to 1788. In the case of Annie Hayslip’s book, it tells the story on one family and friends. It provides a glimpse into what fabrics were available to them and use for...

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Two Golden Ages of Applique: 1840-1870 & 1920-1940

Quilt historian Debby Cooney is the curator of the “Golden Age of Applique” exhibition at the Virginia Quilt Museum. The exhibition combines quilts from the museum and private collections to create a focus on two time periods where applique was the popular style. Debby believes it is time for the third golden age of applique. I’m ready for that period too, but until that time comes to pass, looking at these treasures from the past will have to suffice. We drove six hours to see the exhibition and it was worth it. The Center Medallion quilt with a created tree of life, was truly one to appreciate, whether up close and personal or reflected in an antique mirror. I confess I wanted to show you mainly photos of the first golden age, more than the second,...

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A Century of African American Quilts

This exhibition in the Foster and Muriel McCarl Gallery at the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum in Colonial Williamsburg displays twelve quilts. Those quilts spanning about a century after 1875 showcase the variety of styles and is a riotous expression of color. Half of these quilts have never been seen before by the public. African American quilts vary widely in style, driven more by the artistic expression of the quilter, rather than a prescribed pattern. It is important to note that all of the quilts in the exhibition were made after the civil war and the end of the era of slavery in America. However, several of the quilters were born into slavery and in some cases descendants of enslaved. All of the quilts are made of simple materials transformed into works of art. If...

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Art: Deconstruction

The challenge was issued: use reproduction fabrics in a contemporary way for a quilt. After giving the idea some time to percolate, I decided to use artistic principles to help guide the challenge. Then of course I had a difficult time deciding which artistic principal to use first! So, this will be the first in a non-sequential series of articles using different artistic principles with reproduction fabrics to create a contemporary take. I hope these artistic principles will inspire you on your next quilt, whatever fabric you choose to use. Deconstruction (also known as deconstructivism) came to the forefront in a 1982 architecture competition, with credit given to the entry by Jacques Derrida and Peter Eisenman. In 1988 the Museum of Modern Art New York exhibition of “Deconstructivist Architecture” solidified the movement against postmodernism ideal of...

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