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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Art: Color, Color, and More Color!


A while back I mentioned we’d be starting a non-consecutive series on using artistic principals to use reproduction fabrics in a contemporary quilt. The first element I wrote about was Deconstruction.  However, several people told me it was really the use of color that made it contemporary, not my structure.  So, that seemed like the perfect topic for the next article.   Usually when working with reproduction fabrics, the textile designer tries to replicate the colors originally seen in that period quilt.  Frequently a lot of browns are used and a sepia tint is even given to other brighter colors to give those colors “age.” Remember that some chemical dyes turn brown over time, particularly if fugitive. Note the colors in this reproduction palampore by Mary Koval available for purchase in our etsy shop.  ...
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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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