Quilts: the Next Layer


The Chester County Historical Museum has a wonderful exhibition, “Quilts: The Next Layer.” The exhibition was offered in two different rotations, providing access to a wider number of quilts. We visited when the second rotation was on display which continues until July 12, 2017. Considering we were viewing the exhibition in Pennsylvania, it was no surprise that a variety of red and green quilts were on view. In direct contrast to the traditional quilts was a painted silk which commemorated the local Women’s Christian Temperance Union from the late 1800’s. A striking un-washed Mathematical Star of chintz, with the sheen still visible was another surprise. My favorite was a friendship quilt for Martha Thomas. The quilt fully reflected the Chester County heritage, with the names narrowing the locale to the eastern part of the county....
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Treasures on Trial!


  We were on a recent research trip to explore indigo resist textiles of Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library. However, we decided to take some time to explore the house, galleries, and gardens. While not strictly a “quilt” event, the house is full of textiles and treasures not to be missed. For more information on Winterthur, follow this link . Henry Francis du Pont created a premier museum of decorative arts. He wanted to emphasize the American style in collecting and throughout the 175 rooms in the house. Even after his death the collecting continues, now overseen by curators of the highest level of expertise. Those curators have set up a coordinating exhibit - Treasures on Trial: The Art and Science of Detecting Fakes. The viewers are given the opportunity to test their own ability...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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