Textiles and the Triplett Sisters

The Mary Schafer Collection: A Legacy of Quilt History


This exhibition is a combination of quilts made by or collected by Mary Schafer a quilter that helped keep quilt studies alive between WWII and the revival of quilting in the 1970’s. During her lifetime, she was involved in many aspects of the quilt world including: collecting, designing, quilting and preserving quilting traditions. Her legacy is found in some of today’s quilters, such as Joe Cunningham and Gwen Marston who wrote the book, "Mary Schafer and her Quilts." Gwen Marston also wrote “Mary Schafer, American Quilt Maker.” She was honored by the Quilters’ Hall of Fame in 2007, shortly after her death. Two quilt names by Mary caught my eye because of the stories associated with the block. First, Lafayette Orange Peel, which was derived from the myth of Lafayette slicing an orange into 4 parts...
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Textile Campaign Art


  Because of the acrimony of the recent election, I’ve been hesitant to write about this subject. However it is an excellent exhibition at the George Washington University Textile Museum. Since “Your Next President…the Campaign Art of Mark and Rosalind Shenkman” only runs through April 10th, I didn’t want to wait too long to write about it. The exhibition is an amazing glimpse into the history of campaigns, starting with some textiles honoring George Washington, even though he refused to campaign. In 1789, Washington “stood” for the position of President, not making speeches or rallying supporters. He left an impression that it wasn’t gentlemanly to campaign. This impression disappeared in the early 1800s. The Andrew Jackson/John Quincy Adams contest of 1828 has been called the dirtiest US presidential campaign. Fabric was printed for President Jackson’s inauguration,...
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Paper Piecing Like You've Never Seen Before


Continuing our adventures in DC we were captivated by the Fan Quilt of Mt Carmel at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. The quilt was made by the residents of Bourbon County, Kentucky originally named after the royal family of France who aided the US in the War of Independence. The Ladies Aid Society is prominently featured on the quilt with the President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer included, which leads me to speculate they had significant involvement in the creation of the quilt. I was particularly drawn to the “paper” faces in the quilt, identified by the museum as chromolithographic paper decals. Chromolithographic printing was in wide spread use after the civil war and it allowed the middle class also to hang art. It is a colored image printed by many applications of lithographic stones using...
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Oh, Say Can You See By the Dawn's Early Light...


I probably should have saved this blog for the week of Flag Day or some other holiday, but one of the special exhibitions at the recent AQS QuiltWeek caught my eye. Presidential and Patriotic Quilts from the collection of Sue Reich had two quilts that fascinated me. The first quilt was the Centennial Flag Banner Quilt 1876, 76” x 82” contained fabric with a patent date of December 28, 1875. Although patriotic themed textiles had been popular in America for some time, fabric companies ramped up production on many new fabrics related to the Centennial Exposition of 1876. The exposition held in Philadelphia was something I’d just been researching because of a quilt in our next book, Pioneer Quilts. Officially named the International Exhibition of Arts, Manufactures and Products of Soil and Mine, considered the first...
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A Tisket a Tasket, A Bird and Fruit Filled Basket

Chair cover made in India
Originally printed for furniture or wall hangings, Chintz panels were also designed as seat covers or seat backs. Approximately 40 different panels are known, with more to be discovered. The majority of the surviving chintz panels known were printed in England, but panels were also printed in India and France. These printed panels came to be known as center medallions and were quickly adopted by quilters as the perfect center of the quilt. Approximately 200 antique quilts used these different medallions with a variety of frames and piecing. But the panels eventually became more than just the centerpiece, with some quilts using as many as 10 or more panels. One well known panel called the Fruit Basket Medallion or Basket of Fruit has been documented in approximately 40 British and American quilts. It was a favorite...
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