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Joy in Beauty: Rose Kretsinger

I have an item of housekeeping before I write about this week’s Honoree. A shout out to Dale Drake, who edits my rough drafts so you don’t have to be subjected to word salad, half-cut pastes and poor grammar.  I try very hard to grammatically follow the rules, but she always finds something that can corrected or improved. (Let’s see if she catches that last one.) Dale is the Chair of the Collections Committee at The Quilter’s Hall of Fame, a crafter (who do you know who still tats? or makes her own kaleidoscopes?), and a scholar who has researched her own quilting heritage (Louisiana cotonnade quilts from her Acadian ancestors).  And she still finds time to help me out every week.  Thanks, Dale!

OK, on to Rose Kretsinger, whom I thought would be a quickie because I was feeling lazy this week.  But I found lots of good stuff, as you’ll see, and went off on a few fun tangents.

Rose Kretsinger put Emporia, Kansas on the 1930’s quilting map. Coming from a Kansas family of crafters (grandmother made quilts, mother painted china, grandfather was a potter), Rose received formal training at the Art Institute of Chicago under Alphonse Mucha and others, graduating in 1908.  She worked for several years designing fabric and buying for Marshal Field’s department store and designing jewelry. When her marriage took her back to Kansas, she applied her knowledge and aesthetic to quilting.

That aesthetic was greatly influenced by the Arts and Crafts Movement.  Following William Morris’ directive, “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful,” she made quilts that embodied both ideals. It gave her joy, and throughout her career she sought joy in beauty.  You can read a bio of Rose Kretsinger at the Hall of Fame link below, or if you have time (and who isn’t looking for a diversion these days?) you can listen to a fleshed out story of her life given by scholar Jonathan Gregory of the International Quilt Study Center.

Let’s start with Rose’s masterpiece, Paradise Garden. It was chosen as one of the 100 Best Quilts of the Twentieth Century. You may be familiar with it as the classy peek-a-boo cover of the Hall of Fame book of Honorees.

Here’s a full view:

Spencer Museum

Spectacular, isn’t it?  But like so many quilts, this one stands on the shoulders of other quilters in a way that lets us explore Rose Kretsinger and her sense of beauty. It’s not a completely pretty story: Rose took second place in the 1942 National Needlework Contest sponsored by Woman’s Day magazine to a quilt by Pine Eisfeller. In a moment of sour grapes, Rose noted that it was a “poor design,” and went on to create her own version of a garden quilt. Here’s Eisfeller’s quilt:

Eisfeller, Pine Lorraine. The Garden. 1938. From Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin, Winedale Quilt Collection, Joyce Gross Quilt History Collection, 2008-013. Published in The Quilt Index, http://www.quiltindex.org/fulldisplay.php?kid=4F-88-1BC. Accessed: 08/23/2020

So, what’s wrong with this design?  Let’s give it it’s due: it was an adaptation of a classic, taken from an early authority on quilt history—here’s a screenshot from the book.

The Quilter’s Journal, 1977

Not only did Eisfeller’s quilt take first place in 1942, a quilt from that design won Viewer’s Choice in another national contest held by National Quilting Association in June 1977.  And to top things off, Eisfeller’s garden quilt was also named as one of the 100 Best Quilts of the Twentieth Century. Not too shabby for a “poor design”.

Eisfeller changed the Bowen quilt to her liking.  She says, “The original Garden quilt had more open space …but I wanted mine to be more flowery.” And it certainly is. But maybe that reduction of open space was what Kretsinger didn’t approve of. Certainly, Paradise Garden returns to the well-defined rings of white space. And I admire the relief from the curvilinear that is provided by the angular swag drape.  Eisfeller’s colors are sweet; Kretsinger’s are bold and rich—I think that’s just a matter of taste, not design.

Apparently, these garden medallions were the pinnacle of mid-30’s craftsmanship (kits abounded, and double wedding rings were easy by comparison). Here’s another Kansas version:

The Garden, a quilt by Josephine Hunter Craig, 1933. Collection of the Kansas Museum of History. Inspired by an 1857 version of the garden medallion which appeared in Ruth Finley’s 1929 book ‘Old Patchwork Quilts and the Women Who Made Them’. Finley called the garden medallion the “acme of the branch of art”.

And they remain popular into the 21st Century.

What would Rose Kretsinger have to say about these designs? Would she complain that the green leaves are clunky, or object to the jumble of shapes (heart, squares)? Would she like Suiter’s limited palette? Here’s another of Kretsinger’s floral quilt designs for comparison.

Orchid Wreath made by Ifie Epsey Arnold from a Kretsinger pattern. Spencer Museum

Plenty of white space—check.  Complementary colors—check. Several values of each color – check. Framed circle—check.  Graceful curves—check. Good ratio between central image and border image—check.  Good design!  I’m beginning to feel like I’m channeling Rose Krestinger’s aesthetic.  So now I feel confident enough to critique one of her quilts.  Here’s her Indiana Wreath on the left and the frontispiece from Marie Webster’s book, embroidered with “E.J. Hart, July 1858,” on the right.  I like everything about Rose’s quilt better except her flattening of the points made by the grapes.  But, until I can applique like that, maybe I shouldn’t be criticizing.

One last view of a garden quilt.  This one is taken from a book co-authored by another Hall of Fame Honoree, Barbara Brackman.  I’ll leave it to you to decide whether the corner  and border treatment  is something Kretsinger would have liked (hint: it’s origins are in Emporia); get the book for further reading.

I’ll close by sharing the tangents I found. First, Hall of Fame’s own Deb Divine is from Salina, Kansas and has studied Rose Kretsinger and the Emporia crowd extensively.  She has given many living history presentations of Rose’s work to historical societies in the state.  Here she is talking about Rose’s 1926 quilt in the Antique Rose or Democratic Rose pattern. There’s a link below to Deb’s full presentation.

Way to go, Deb!  I love finding people I know when I’m searching for info about the Honorees.

The other tangent was discovering that Rose Kretsinger not only made quilts, she did some unusual garment sewing. Use the link to the Spencer Museum to see all of Rose’s quilts plus a bonus of three very creative items of clothing. I’m sure she had fun making them.

Which brings me full circle to close out this discussion of Rose Kretsinger and her search for joy through beauty.

Your quilting friend,

Anna




Storyteller and Craftsperson: Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi

I wondered when I’d get a chance to say “It’s not rocket science” here.  And then I came across Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi.  This Honoree has a PhD. in aerospace engineering! But as intriguing as that might be, it’s not what she’s known for among quilters.

Dr. Mazloomi is an author who has written a dozen books on quilt related topics. Her book, Spirits of the Cloth (Random House), was given the “Best Non-Fiction Book of the Year” award by the American Library Association. She is also a curator and has presented numerous exhibitions of African-American quilts, beginning in 1998, “Spirits of the Cloth” at the American Craft Museum, New York City, New York and most recently in 2019 with “We Who Believe in Freedom” at the National Freedom Center Museum, Cincinnati, OH.  As the founder and general factotum of the Women of Color Quilters Network, she has helped preserve and promote the cultural significance of quilt-making in the African-American community.

You can read more about Dr. Mazloomi in the several links below—and you should because she has an impressive list of accomplishments.  But she has been called a fiber griot (a West African historian, storyteller, praise singer, poet, or musician), and I want to take a look at her quilts and the stories she tells with them. 

Dr. Mazloomi sees herself as a storyteller as well as a craftsperson; yes, the process may be exciting and wondrous, but what’s behind it is more significant. From an Oral history interview with Carolyn Mazloomi, 2002, September, 17-30, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution:

The ability to create a piece of work that’s graphically complex from a simple piece of cloth is fascinating. The ability to combine various pieces of cloth, various colors and textures of cloth, to create a graphic piece to me is mind-boggling…. It’s always about the story and the finished product. And I think as with all artists, all quilt-makers, as long as you’re living, as long as you can think, you will always have stories. If you lived 100 lives, you can’t get all these stories out…We will always have stories and you want to get them out, and that’s the satisfaction of quilt-making.

One of the big stories Dr. Mazloomi tells is family. In her view, this is a central cultural theme for African-American quilters.  In talking about their quilts, she says,

They were made for family. They were made for friends. And for us, friends are family. In the past it was about taking those bits of cloth, and still now in the South, taking old clothes and making them into a quilt to give to the grandkids or to one’s children. Again, you go back into that oral history about who we are and sharing who we are, and you know, sharing that with our families and friends. But that was the – that’s the backbone of African American quilt-making. Even to this day, the majority of the quilt-makers make the work for their family. And they love to show references of the family, or people in the family, on the quilts. That just binds the family, bonds them closer together, you know…. “I am quilting. This is my legacy for my children. This is what I leave for my children. I leave a bit of myself in these quilts for my children. I leave this for my family. This is who I am. This is who we are.”

Here is one of her own quilts—not for, but about, family. It’s made in a striking black and white woodcut style that she favors (when she’s not going wild with color). You can see more quilts in this series on her website linked below.

Mazloomi, Carolyn. The Family Quilt from. 1989. From University of Louisville Archives and Records Center, Kentucky Quilt Project. Published in The Quilt Index, http://www.quiltindex.org/fulldisplay.php?kid=1A-39-2A6. Accessed: 08/15/2020

Another major theme is politics, because, as she says about herself and quilters of her generation,

Events in our lives that have happened to us socially and politically are reflected in our work, okay. We came up in that ‘60s and ‘70s generation; you know, we were the children of the civil rights movement. Of course, it’s going to be in our work, because we can’t forget that. You don’t live through that and leave it behind. People say we should leave it behind, but I’m bringing that baggage with me, because it’s just something I can’t forget. It’s something that I shouldn’t forget.  

Here is a quilt she made to honor the Selma March; it’s dedicated to the late John Lewis.

Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around

On another note, (pardon the pun), Dr.Malzoomi tells the story of jazz.  As a child she was close to and supported by an aunt who owned a juke joint.  In true griot fashion, Dr. Mazloomi sings the praises of this beloved woman through her portraits of Billie Holiday, Dizzy Gillespie, the jazz scene, and this quilt.

Mazloomi, Carolyn. Midnight Jazz. 2002. From Michigan State University Museum, Michigan State University Museum Collection: WCQN. Published in The Quilt Index, http://www.quiltindex.org/fulldisplay.php?kid=1E-3D-298C. Accessed: 08/15/2020

So many stories to tell! And what happens to these stories once the quilts are made? Dr. Malzoomi said in an interview for NEA Arts Magazine 2014,

When the quilters are in sync with the social and political and the cultural currents in their community, they render that in their artwork. So, the quilts are community property. It’s one of the ways that we as artists use this tool, these quilts, to foster knowledge. And it’s about engaging other people in our culture as well.

But they’re creating these community documents and actually they’re cultural documents. They’re pieces of history that tell the story of our culture, what’s happening here in the United States. They’re serious, serious cultural documents and I’m just in awe.

When you can look at something and it has the power to touch you and inform, then you’ve done your job as an artist. And I often tell the quilt makers sometimes you can make a quilt that’s so powerful in story and it touches so many people. Then you have lost that quilt, because the quilt does not spiritually belong to you anymore. It belongs to the public. It belongs to the people that see it because it becomes a part of their spirit, and it’s touched them in such a way that is so profound it becomes unforgettable.

I don’t make quilts like this—it’s not in my cultural tradition or my personal inclination, but I’m glad that Dr. Mazloomi and the other artists she has encouraged to keep up this work are out there touching our spirits. I imagine she has “lost” a lot of quilts over the years.

Your quilting friend,

Anna

All quotes, unless otherwise noted, are from Oral history interview with Carolyn Mazloomi, 2002 September 17-30. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

Further reading and viewing:

Carolyn’s Website: https://carolynlmazloomi.com

On The Quilters Hall of Fame website: https://quiltershalloffame.net/carolyn-mazloomi/

Oral history interview https://www.aaa.si.edu/collections/interviews/oral-history-interview-carolyn-mazloomi-11504#transcript 

Dr. Mazloomi will be the Keynote Speaker at Virtual AQSG 2020 Saturday, October 3, 2020. “Surviving Blackness in America:
Quilts as Political Statement”
https://americanquiltstudygroup.org/

 




Ellen Carey Fabric Collage

In our continuing conversation, Jack Edson talks with Deb Geyer about his fabric collage of Ellen Carey and what to expect in his Fabric Collage Workshop.

 Workshop

Saturday, September 26, 2020, 10am – 5pm Registration cost: $50

Jack’s formula: “Take things you love, cut them into hundreds or thousands of pieces, and put them back in a more beautiful pattern.” This workshop will focus on fabric collage in the creation of a foam board wall hanging; there will be no sewing. This workshop will be in conjunction with the exhibit of Jack’s quilts at The Quilters Hall of Fame. More information at https://quiltershalloffame.net/jack-edson-workshop/




Donna Wilder: Modern, Colorful, and Exuberant!

I told you last week that we received a quilt donation from Honoree Donna Wilder, but maybe you don’t know who she is.  Well, if you know Kaffe Fassett, Tula Pink, Kathy Doughty, and Jane Sassaman, or if you drooled over last Fall’s collection from the original (William) Morris Company, you should know Donna.  She was the founder of Free Spirit Fabrics, the manufacturer for these designers. Here’s a photo for  everyone (myself included) who hasn’t been able to get into a quilt store lately.  Thank goodness for online shopping.  But I digress.

Bolts of Free Spirit fabric on display at Missouri Star Company in Hamilton, Missouri. Image via Free Spirit on Instagram.

Bringing together so many talented people to produce the wonderful styles we see at our local quilt shops would, in itself, be a point towards recognition by The Quilters Hall of Fame, but Donna Wilder had many more points in her favor. Donna has quite a few books to her credit, and most of them were written to introduce people to quilting.  Take a look, and you’ll see the theme.

That’s right, samplers! One of my first quilts was a sampler made from monthly blocks sold by JoAnn Fabrics; I didn’t purchase until they were on sale, and was only able to get four kits, so it’s just a table topper. But what a great way to get started. Donna didn’t do only sampler books.  Here’s her book of florals, and you can see that she included an unusual mix of antique and contemporary projects.

Starting with a B.S. in Home Economics, Clothing and Textiles from Pennsylvania State University in 1964, Donna Wilder held several positions in the textile industry. She began as Assistant Buyer for Abraham & Strauss in Brooklyn, NY, and then moved on to Simplicity Pattern Company. She also worked for Fabricland, Riegel Textile Company and Springs Industries. Her final position, for which she is best known, was V.P. Marketing of Fairfield Processing Corporation.

While she was with Fairfield, Wilder promoted their annual fashion show, providing opportunities for designers of wearable art to strut their stuff.  I wouldn’t have anywhere to wear some of these beauties, especially now when I’m staying home in my comfy clothes, but I can still admire the creativity and craftsmanship involved.

Most of you know that Free Spirit closed last year, (there’s a link below to an interesting article on the economics involved), but let’s take a look back to 2000 and see what Donna did then. “I was asked to come up with a whole new fabric line… and I knew we couldn’t come in looking like Moda, RJR or Hoffman” she said in an interview for The Quilter’s Catalog: A Comprehensive Resource Guide by Meg Cox.  To attract younger quilters and spark creativity, she focused on fabric designs that would lend themselves to a quick and easy, while still gorgeous and impressive, quilt. She called them “large format” quilts. Here are some of Donna’s own designs in that style.

Over the course of six years, from 2000-2006, with a team of just four employees, Wilder grew Free Spirit into a profitable company that she says was grossing five million dollars when Fabric Traditions sold it to Coats & Clark in January of 2007.  And we still love many of her chosen designers today, even though they’ve moved to other manufacturers.

Donna was also a media star.  She hosted Sew Creative with Donna Wilder which had a long run on PBS stations and produced several “how to” books that are still available on Amazon, Etsy, abebooks, and eBay. She also co-hosted episodes of Quilt Central, and you can see some of them on YouTube; there’s a link below to the show on wearable art. And here’s Donna “on the job”.

If you want to read a more detailed biography of Donna Wilder, check the link below to The Quilters Hall of Fame website. But I don’t think a short bio really gives insight to someone’s personality. I don’t know Donna (yet) but I feel I know something about her based on her “quilt criteria”.  Donna has been a judge in many venues, and what she looks for in a winner says a lot about her.  Here are two quilts from her judging along with her comments:

Mexican Flower Bowls, 42″ x 42″ Sylvia Gegaregian, Portola Vally, CA July 2008 American Quilter
“The quilt is exuberant! I love the idea of a traditional basket design with contemporary style.”- Donna Wilder
Majestic Mosaic, Karen Kay Buckley and Renae Haddadin, Photo by Karen Kay Buckley; AQS Quilt Week, Paducah, KY, 2015.
“The composition is just so amazing… And the color has just a wonderful feel to it.”- Donna Wilder

Yes, I think that sums up Donna Wilder: exuberant, respectful of tradition, excited about modern style, aware of composition.  And above all, colorful!

But I’m not ready to sum up yet.  There’s one more thing you will want to know about Donna Wilder.  She wrote a chapter for America’s Glorious Quilts titled “Quilts at an Exhibition” in which she reviewed the history of quilt shows and contests.  One of the things she mentioned was sampler block contests in which participants submitted a block based on the contest theme, and the winners were made into a quilt which was either raffled or displayed by the contest sponsor.  She herself spearheaded several such contests when she was with Fairfield.

This would be a great idea for a guild to do as a pandemic project.  With so many events having been cancelled, we are all looking for ways to keep our hand in the quilting community. My guild is having virtual show and tell along with monthly Zoom meetings, but that can’t replace the feeling we get from doing something together. So why not try a Donna Wilder-style contest?  Your theme could be virus-related, or (if you want to take you mind off all it entails for a while) garden, floral, Roaring 20s, patriotic or something with local relevance.  You decide how to select the winners, how to finish the quilt and whether to raffle or donate it.  Just have fun, remember you’re following a great tradition of quilt contests, and give a nod to Donna Wilder.

Your quilting friend,

Anna

Closure of FreeSpirit https://craftindustryalliance.org/free-spirits-closure-signals-weakening-quilting-cotton-market/

Quilt Central episode https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OM305qJZNd0

Wilder bio https://quiltershalloffame.net/donna-wilder/




Thomas Eakins Hexagon by Jack Edson




I’m Just a Shopper, but Mary Barton? Well, She Was a Collector!

In addition to writing this blog, I am also a member of the Quilters Hall of Fame Collections Committee.  At our annual meeting a few weeks ago, something came up that started me thinking about quilt collecting.

 The Collections Committee reviews potential donations and recommends to the Board which items to add to our Permanent or Education Collections. We try to preserve items that will give meaning to the legacy of our Honorees. We have practically no budget for acquisitions, so we rely heavily on donations. One of the items offered this year was from Honoree Donna Wilder’s collection; it had been selected by another Honoree, Georgia Bonesteel, as one of The Twentieth Century’s Best Quilts, Judges Choice.  So, we had a dilemma: accept it for the Wilder collection or for the Bonesteel collection. In the end, we decided that the selection by Bonesteel, along with her explanation of why she thought the quilt was significant, said more about her than we knew about Wilder from her “mere” ownership. Tough choice! And I’ve been ruminating about it ever since, which brings me to write about collecting and Mary Barton.

One very nice thing about the COVID-19 closures is that, since we can’t see collections in person, many museums and individuals have been sharing their quilts online. And that has given me a little glimpse into some things I didn’t know about my friends and acquaintances; what they collect often says something about them. Most of us know that Ken Burns has a quilt collection, and we understand that it reflects his love of history. Some of us may know people who have family quilts and their collections reflect personal memories. Recently several friends have been participating in the Facebook “Post a quilt for 10 days” challenge, and I can almost always tell whose collection is up by the style they choose. Clearly, our collections say a lot about who we are.

I have a number of vintage and antique quilt tops, most of which I acquired from eBay.  It was back in those heady days of dial-up internet connections when the challenge of a putting in a last-minute bid was as exciting as the item itself.  I tried to obtain a fair representation of block patterns, and when I had most of the common ones, I moved on to looking for interesting variations of the old favorites.  Here are some of the star tops I got when I thought I might take my show on the road to give lectures at quilt guilds. (That third one, the Lone Star, is made from ribbons from 1930s Livestock Show.)

But did that make me a collector or just a diversified shopper?  When I compare myself with Mary Barton, I know I’ll never be a serious collector (and that’s okay). But hat’s off to Mary, and I’ll tell you why.

Have you heard the old saying, “When you have three of something, you have a collection”?  Mary had a collection of quilts; she had three times three, times three times three, and more. Between 1987 and 2001, Mary Barton of Ames, Iowa, donated more than 1,500 items, including over 100 quilts, to the State Historical Society of Iowa. Barton also donated quilts from her collection to the Living History Farms, Simpson College, and the Farm House Museum at Iowa State University. Most, if not all of these quilts are related to the State of Iowa: either made there, collected there, or owned by someone who locates there. Mary didn’t want the Iowa quilts leaving home, and her purchases were driven by her affection for her home state. You can see some of the quilts Mary collected at the links below.

Mary didn’t just collect quilts, and her collection shows her to have been a serious researcher.  She was a pioneer in fabric dating and determining the age of a quilt by the fabrics it contained. Her collections also included 30 shoe-boxes of annotated fabric samples and 15 notebooks of quilt blocks and fabric swatches.  She also assembled a fashion collection; there’s a link below if you really want to take a side trip.  But maybe it’s not so much of a side trip since Mary used her fashion records in quilt dating. Here’s a photo of her doing a comparison of the fabric in an old quilt, a dress and a costume illustration.  

MARY BARTON determines that the fabric in the quilt, the dress and the costume illustration are the same. Photo by Eileen Jennings. The Quilter’s Journal Issue 25. Published in the Quilt Index. Accessed 08/02/2020

Mary’s research career began when, as a member of the Faculty Woman’s Club, she became involved in 1968 with a group called the Heritage Division. Mary did her own study and gave the group a program on quilts and quilt history that included a play, Aunt Mary’s Quilting Party, actually performed around a quilt frame. From there, she went on to design and make her Heritage Quilt which depicts the settling of pioneer America, and specifically of central Iowa. The 100 x 102 inch quilt was completed in 1976 and won first place at the Iowa State Fair that year. The quilt also received honorable mention at the National Bicentennial Quilt Contest held in Warren, Michigan in 1976 and was later selected as one of America’s 100 Best Quilts of the 20th Century. I love the pioneer women walking West with their little quilt blocks!

Heritage Quilt. Quilters of St. Petri Lutheran Church, Story City, Iowa. Heritage Quilt. 1976. From State Historical Society of Iowa, Mary Barton Collection. Published in The Quilt Index, http://www.quiltindex.org/fulldisplay.php?kid=18-36-8ED. Accessed: 07/30/2020

This wasn’t the only quilt Mary made. She loved the old patterns and made an indigo Storm at Sea, a blue Churn Dash with red sashing, a Tree Everlasting with chrome on indigo fabric, and a sampler of Hawaiian applique designs. The Quilters Hall of Fame has the patterns for “Hawaii Remembered” along with a hand-written note from Mary explaining how she and her husband loved the flowers they saw when they visited that State. There’s a link below, and it includes shots of all the pattern pieces as well as photos of the Hawaiian quilt and the others mentioned.

Mary was always generous with her research results. In 1983, she created an early “Study Center” at the Heirloom to Heirloom Quilters Conference held in Ames, Iowa to share her collections. In the “paper” room were rows of three ring binders containing quilt-related periodicals from the 1920s and earlier, patterns, research material and personal notes. In the “textile room,” Mary shared dozens of antique quilts and tops along with her shoe-boxes of fabric swatches. Here are a few photos of the scene:

The Quilter’s Journal Issue 23. Photos by Kris Kable.  Published in the Quilt Index. Accessed 07/02/2020

Another thing makes Mary Barton beloved among quilt historians: she collected old blocks and mounted them on panels for study purposes. She used them to show pattern and fabric choices, and how use affects fabrics. Mary explained, “One reason for the panels — I started with one and organized more as the collection grew — for the researcher they would be more meaningful than just a pile of blocks. Also, if they were mounted they would not be used for small projects and lost for historical reference.”

Here are just a few of the 111 panels in her collection.

Block Sampler. (Maker not recorded). From State Historical Society of Iowa, Mary Barton Collection. Published in The Quilt Index, http://www.quiltindex.org/fulldisplay.php?kid=18-36-AB. Accessed: 07/30/2020
Squares and Points. (Maker not recorded). From State Historical Society of Iowa, Mary Barton Collection. Published in The Quilt Index, http://www.quiltindex.org/fulldisplay.php?kid=18-36-6D. Accessed: 07/30/2020

I wish I could see this one in person. I have a feeling that some of the colors might be more purple than they look online. Oh heck; I wish I could see all of these panels, including the next one which looks almost good enough to be a banner or wall quilt.

Block Sampler. (Maker not recorded). From State Historical Society of Iowa, Mary Barton Collection. Published in The Quilt Index, http://www.quiltindex.org/fulldisplay.php?kid=18-36-A5. Accessed: 07/30/2020

(If you want to know what the blocks are, they’re listed below.)

So, after having read about Mary Barton and her collections, what do you think of your own collection? What does it say about you? If you are a collector or want to become one, I hope you give some thought to what and why you are collecting, and what you will do with your treasures. I think that’s the lesson from Mary Barton: she collected to preserve Iowa heritage and to learn about quilt history, not just to add to her acquisitions, so that’s what made her more than just a shopper like me. And of course, that’s what makes her a Hall of Fame Honoree.

Your quilting friend,

Anna

  1. Quilts held by Living History Farms. https://livinghistoryfarms.pastperfectonline.com/search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&search_criteria=barton&searchButton=Search&only_images=only
  2. To see Mary’s Collection on the Quilt Index, go to http://www.quiltindex.org/index.php. Then click these tabs: Browse. Collection. Mary Barton
  3. Mary Barton Fashion Illustration Collection https://digitalcollections.lib.iastate.edu/fashion-plates. The collection (1776-2008) contains plates of general fashion dating back to the 18th century and continuing through the 20th century. Additional categories within the files include accessories, baby and beach fashions, bridal fashions and portraits, children’s and communion clothing, footwear, inaugural gowns, maid uniforms, masquerade costumes, men’s fashion, millinery, mourning dresses, negligees and undergarments. There are also magazine issues relating to fashion as well as magazine articles discussing fashion of the Ancient, Medieval, Renaissance, and Modern periods.
  4. Hawaii Remembered and others https://quiltershalloffame.pastperfectonline.com/webobject/51F86959-33E2-45F6-A002-383291449415
  5. 21 blocks. Described in rows, upper left to lower right. Row 1: #1 North Dakota, the Windmill, Windmill Star, the Wandering Flower, Quilt Star, Crazy Star Quilt, Amethyst (Brackman 3873). #2 Cake Stand/Basket (Brackman 707). #3 See #1 (Brackman 3873) Row 2: #1 Square and Points (Brackman 2138 c) #2 Broken Dishes, Jack in the Pulpit, Double Square (Brackman 2472) #3 Square and Points (Brackman 2138 c) Row 3: #1 Balkan Puzzle (Brackman 1211) #2 Variation – Nine Patch in center (Brackman 2121) Row 4: #1 Ocean Waves, Tents of Armageddon, Thousands of Triangles (Brackman 3150) #2 Monkey Wrench, Snail’s Trail, Indiana Puzzle (Alternate coloring to make square in a square) (Brackman 2399) Row 5: #1 Nine Patch, Sheepfold, Irish Chain (Brackman 2020) #2 Checkerboard Design, Nine Patch (Brackman 1601 a) Row 6: #1 Checkerboard Design, Nine Patch (Brackman 1601 a) #2 Square Within a Square (Brackman 1102 b). Colored to appear like Brackman 2020. Row 7: #1 Double Hour Glass (Brackman 1701) #2 Double Hour Glass (Brackman 1701) Row 8: #1 Nine-Patch, Checkerboard Design (Brackman 1601 a) #2 Nine-Patch, Checkerboard Design (Brackman 1601 a) #3 Nine-Patch, Checkerboard Design (Brackman 1601 a)