Monday, January 9, 2012

MASTERPIECES IN MOSAIC PATCHWORK

First of all, I must thank the 37 kind souls who left comments on my previous post, encouraging me to post photos of this amazing exhibit. It's reassuring to know that I'm not just talking to myself. Thank you for taking the time to comment. I'm sorry for the delay in getting this posted; it took me a bit longer to get all the photos set up than I anticipated. But without further adieu, welcome to my little tour of the Elegant Geometry exhibit at the International Quilt Study Center in Lincoln, Nebraska. I was so glad to get there before the exhibit closed yesterday. As you will see, the quilts were absolutely breathtaking!


I was greeted by a dazzling array of mosaic patchwork quilts culled from the IQSC collection. Drawing treasures from both sides of the Atlantic, the exhibit featured one of the earliest quilts in the museum's collection—a 1796 hexagon mosaic beauty by Anna Ruggles of the United Kingdom.


The exhibit card pointed out that Anna created a design challenge when she opted to surround the double rosettes in the center with a ring of single ones, thus preventing the single ones from aligning symmetrically along the quilt's vertical axis. Her solution was the stair-stepped outer border. Isn't it amazing what our quilting predecessors were able to do with less?


Anna was a master at fussy-cutting fabrics. Don't you wish some of these gorgeous fabrics were being reproduced today? Having a passion for pink, I was especially enamored with this one.


This medallion quilt made by Belle Abram dates to 1808. The quilt records reveal that the patchwork took Belle nine years to complete.


The smallest patches are in the center and their sizes increase progressively with each border.


There is no mystery about the maker behind this 1818 medallion masterpiece that spotlights chintz appliqué. 


Frances Hawkins displayed her name prominently in the hexagons. She also put her fabric to dramatic use in the appliquéd dogtooth border.


Made in East Yorkshire in 1833, this medallion quilt was made by 12-year-old Mary Staveley. In its center, an embroidered inscription reads: "I have done this to let you see what care my parents took of me"—a popular choice for samplers of the day.


I was mesmerized by the embroidery work in this quilt—an artful collage of birds, blooms, urns, and other animals. Seeing its workmanship made me realize how much times have changed. Sadly, I can't imagine many of today's 12-year-olds being disciplined enough to create this quilt!


The embroidery in this exquisite British medallion coverlet was wrought in wool and silk thread. In the center, the maker stitched "Ann Stevenson 1734" but the actual coverlet wasn't completed until 1820-1840—a common practice of the day. Families often saved pieces of embroidery and incorporated them into later needlework projects.


This hexagon quilt was probably made in Maryland in 1830-1850. Today's quilters know this pattern as Grandmother's Flower Garden but as the exhibit card says, that name is an early 20th-century invention. It is not known exactly what was called in the early 1800s.


I was amazed that the fabrics were still so vibrant. Love this pink and green one! I enjoyed looking at the quilter's many color combinations.


This intriguing hexagon coverlet from Massachusetts dates to 1820-1840. I loved its inventive layout and the interplay of light and dark fabrics.


Here's a detail shot of some of the columns of hexagons.


According to the exhibit card, this hexagon coverlet was most likely made in the United Kingdom between 1810-1830. It features many single-color "eccentric" patterns comprised of distorted or wavy lines, which were developed for banknote printing in 1810 and adapted for British roller-printed cottons in the 1820s.


British block-printed panels like the one in the center of this antique fragment were often incorporated into decorative accessories such as firescreens and cushions in Great Britain during the early 19th century. The British have such great taste, don't they?


Hope you enjoyed this little tour of mosaic masterpieces! Come back later this week to see a few vintage sewing notions, including toy sewing machines, that were also on display at the museum while I was there. After visiting the museum, I stopped by a few antique shops and found a little treasure to bring home. More on that later...

27 comments:

  1. Very enjoyable indeed! Thank you for the show. There's no way I could have gotten to the exhibit myself. I love hexie quilts!

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  2. Wow oh wow! Thanks so much for the comprehensive posting. If I could only have one quilt pattern to play with, it would be hexagons. Just love them. Your photos were wonderful. Thanks for the inspiration.

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  3. Kimber - thanks for the time and effort to post this mini-exhibit! The quilts are gorgeous. Is there a catalog or book documenting the exhibit?

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  4. Thanks for taking the time to put this post together. LOVE all those hexagons!

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  5. Thank you very much for this post! i always like te see photo's of exibits!

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  6. Oh, thank you for sharing this with us, very elegant quilts, i love the all.
    Greetings from Will in Paris

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  7. Thank you so much!
    I loved every photo!
    :o)

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  8. Thank you for taking the time to post such a beautiful collection of quilts!

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  9. Thank you for posting. These are certainly amazing. I really enjoyed looking at the fabrics and I just adore the embroidery on the British medallion quilt. So sweet.
    Have a great day.

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  10. Oh my Dear One. They are so wonderful. So many loving hours went into each perfect stitch. I can only dream of quilts so beautiful. Richard from My Old Historic House.

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  11. The quilts are gorgeous. Thanks so much for taking the time to share them with us.

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  12. Thank you so much for taking us through the exhibit! I loved each and every photo. I felt like I was right there with you!

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  13. Thanks for showing these amazing quilts. They are so beautiful.

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  14. Thanks for taking the time to share the photos with us Kimber. They are all so beautiful. It's hard to believe they are all so old. I wonder what people will think of the quilts we make in another 100 or so years!

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  15. Such beautiful quilts....and so wonderfully preserved! Thanks so much for the tour!

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  16. Thanx for all of the wonderful photos. What
    fabulous quilts. Love seeing how old they were, too. What a marvelous history of fabrics they are.

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  17. Wow! These are all amazing. Thanks so much for sharing!

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  18. Thanks so much for the wonderful quilt show, especially the close ups so the fabrics can be seen! These are amazing quilts and I really appreciate the opportunity to see them. Thank you!

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  19. Thank you Kimber for an amazing show and tell. Hexagons are my absolute favourites and especially the pink ones. You are a girl after my own heart. It will inspire me to keep going on my own hexagon quilt.

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  20. Stunning.Thanks SO much for the photos, they are all so good that I can't even pick a favourite! And I agree with you about the fabrics back then, I too wish that some of those beauties could be reproduced.
    Sharon in Sydney

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  21. Informative and enjoyable post! I, too, am amazed at what these quilters could accomplish without all our rulers and computer programs!

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  22. What an eye candy! I always enjoy your blog posts, but this one is one if my favorites. I have tons if hexies in my basket, but haven't came up with any idea as to how I want them putting together. After seeing all those lovely ones, I may have to pull them out and see what I can do!! Thanks for a beautiful inspiration!!

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  23. Kimber, thank you so much for posting all the photos. How wonderful it must've been to have seen these masterpieces in person!
    Smiles, DianeM
    basketblessed@yahoo.com

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  24. WOW!!!!! And Wow Again! These are amazing quilts! How I wish I could have seen them in real life. Thanks for sharing the pictures with us!!!

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  25. Thanks for this lovely little show, Kimber. I would have missed it entirely without this post.

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  26. Thank you for posting photos that are not in the book. do you have any more? I would love to see some more.

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