Textiles and the Triplett Sisters

Artists of Huipils


So its fall and thoughts are turning to winter arriving soon…NOT! With most of the country experiencing hotter than normal temperatures, my thoughts keep drifting back to the clothes of Mexico. I did actually see more on the Baja peninsula than indigo. Although the indigo tunic attracted my eye, there were other garments which simply amazed me. These huipils are the traditional dress of indigenous women from central Mexico and Central America. The tunics are made of two or three pieces of hand woven fabric which are then stitched together allowing for an opening for the head. The sides if stitched together also leave an opening for arms. The garment can be short (worn more as a blouse) or long for a full length tunic. Huipil, 1875-1890, Warp-faced plain weave cotton; red cotton is dyed with...
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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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Story Matters!


This week as I was teaching at the AQS QuiltWeek show in Des Moines, IA, I perused the quilt exhibitions and checked out the winners circle. I saw a number of beautiful and technically superior quilts, many which I’ve seen before, as I’m sure you have. These quilts were selected for being the best hand quilting, best machine quilting, and best of show etc. Congrats to the winners who magnificently expressed many of the elements of art! However, I found myself bemoaning that a specific category of artistic expression hadn’t been honored….story. Cherrywood Challenge 2016: The Lion KingBroadway recognizes the value of story It is story in the art or of the art that makes us laugh, cry, and/or scream. It is story that provides cathartic release or allows the artistic expression of the quilter to...
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Everywhere I Go, I See Indigo


I am on my first trip to the Baja peninsula. The ocean is beautiful and the fish plentiful for scuba diving. Can we all start singing “Let’s go where the sky is blue…” I was pleasantly surprised to find the resort where I am staying had some beautiful “inland” Mexican clothing displayed, all hand embroidered. It wasn’t at all like the traditional folkloric costumes.  Instead, I was surprised to notice similarities to Yoruba and Igbo tribal clothing from West Africa. On one hand, the similarities might have been expected. Much of the world used simple looms for handwoven clothing and decorative textiles. Sewing narrow strips together is more manageable than trying to weave a large garment as one piece. Simple clothing designed to take advantage of the strip construction should be expected.    “Blue, blue, my...
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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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