Sunday, March 27, 2011
Three Centuries of Red and White Quilts
I just got home from a trip into NYC to see Infinite Variety: Three Centuries of Red and White Quilts at the Park Avenue Armory which was an absolutely stunning exhibit of 650 red and white quilts loaned to the museum by Joanna S. Rose. The quilts hang in several circular pattern from the ceiling down appearing weightless and frozen in air. It is breathtaking to walk in and see this many quilts and the way in which they are displayed.
I've always loved red and white quilts (red being my favorite color) and redwork embroidery so this was especially exciting for me.
After the exhibit I really enjoyed reading about the origins of the popularity of this color combination and it's relation to the colorfastness of Turkey red dye derived from madder root. This has only furthered my interest in learning more about natural dyeing.
Geometric pieced patterns take up most of the quilts on exhibit though there is also a nice representation of applique designs. I also learned about the "snowflake method" from the brochure and think that would be really fun to try someday. This snowflake method is derived in the same way a paper snowflake is cut by using folded pieces of fabric.
I can not express how much I really loved seeing the variety of designs in one place. There were many that stole my heart. Being able to get so close up and see all the hand quilting work in so many unique and interesting ways was really special.
The exhibit is a birthday present to the owner of the quilts who wanted to give a gift to NYC and see something she has not seen before. She had no idea how many quilts she possessed and had not gone about acquiring them as a collector. She calls herself a treasure hunter. In the brochure it says that they were purchased at flea markets in the 1950's where they sold for five or ten dollars. Can you believe that?
I had only my phone to take pictures with as I forgot my camera when rushing out the door to catch the train but hopefully they will be able to show images of them online for those who could not attend. I really do hope so. And, if you can make it the exhibit is up for a few more days.
I think I have to add a red and white quilt to my ever growing list of quilts to make. Wouldn't you know I just picked up some red and white fabric yesterday at Joann's...