Textile news


My exhibition lectures for the Texas Quilt Museum now available online

I am pleased to offer my narrated slide lectures created for several of the TQM exhibitions during the past four years. Simply click on the web site below to visit the sign-in page on my  website and use the password “artclass” to log in and see this free content. Please note that your version of PowerPoint must be fairly recent, with the “pptx” file extension, and that the lectures are copyright of the Texas Quilt Museum and images are copyright of the artists.
The first six lectures in the series are:

Selections from 500 Traditional Quilts
America, the Beautiful
My Stars! Antique Quilts
Semper Tedium: Quilt Art by Katherine Knauer, Paula Nadelstern, Amy Orr, and Robin Schwalb
Selections from the Thomas Contemporary Quilt Collection
New York Beauty Quilts from the Volckening Collection


FABULOUS EXHIBITION at the American Folk Art Museum in NYC

Entrance to the American Folk Art Museum, Columbus Avenue at 66th Street, quite close to Lincoln Center. Photo by Gavin Ashworth


War and Pieced: The Annette Gero Collection of Quilts from Military Fabrics, on view until January 7 at the American Folk Art Museum.  If that witty title catches your fancy, wait until you see this exhibition!  It has been a long time since I forgot to breathe while viewing a quilt. These pieces, most of them created by soldiers under duress or recovering in hospitals, will overwhelm your imagination.  Also, because much of the fabric is bright red wool (from the “red coats”), the patterning and images imprint deeply into your senses.  The exhibition consists of 29 textiles and eight associated objects, dated from 1719 through the late 19th century. Most are from the Annette Gero Collection, with the balance from AFAM, the International Quilt Study Center & Museum at the University of Nebraska, and a few other collections.

“What is extraordinary about the quilts in this exhibition is the range of techniques used and the painstaking detail in their creation, and the fact that they are made by men,” commented Dr. Anne-Imelda Radice, executive director, American Folk Art Museum.   “Men, who are not usually raised learning the sewing arts, show both design acumen and manual dexterity as they sewed pieces of military uniforms, blankets, and other bits of fabric into quilts of great beauty. These quilts offer an insight into military life and the need for creative expression even during times of war.” Perhaps the best-known quilts that were made by soldiers and regimental tailors are the complex geometrics fashioned from felted military uniforms. Hand-stitched by nineteenth-century British soldiers, sailors, and regimental tailors during periods of conflict in the Crimea, South Africa, and India, some of these mosaic-like quilts contain as many as twenty-five thousand pieces of fabric. They were once called “convalescent quilts,” it was believed they were made as occupational therapy by wounded soldiers recovering in hospitals. Quilts pieced in simple geometric patterns may indeed have been made in such circumstances, but it is now recognized that the most elaborate quilts were most probably stitched by tailors and soldiers to pass the time and stay out of mischief, to give as gifts to loved ones at home, or were made upon a soldier’s return.

“In the context of war, quilt making becomes a life-affirming testament to bravery, loyalty, and an    act of redemption for darker human impulses enacted under dire circumstances,” says Stacy C. Hollander, co-curator of the show. “Memory and experience are fragmented and brilliantly reconstructed through tiny bits of cloth. The uniforms, associated with the best and worst of humanity, are thus transformed into testaments of sanity and beauty, even as the highly organized geometry grants the soldier an illusion of control over the predations of war in which he has both participated and witnessed.”


Soldier’s Mosaic Quilt, artist unidentified. Crimea, India, or United Kingdom, c. 1850. Wool with applied cording; inlaid; hand-corded, 93.5 x 75.5 in. Collection International Quilt Study Center & Museum,
University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2017.002.0001

Beaded Soldier’s Quilt, artist unidentified. India, c. 1860–1870. Wool, with beads; inlaid; hand-appliqued and hand-applied beadwork, 63 x 63 in. The Annette Gero Collection. Photo by Tim Connolly, Shoot Studios

Intarsia Quilt with Soldiers and Musicians, artist unidentified; initialed “J.S.J.” Prussia, c. 1760–1780. Wool, with embroidery thread; intarsia; hand-appliqued and hand-embroidered, 55 x 43 in. The Annette Gero Collection. Photo by Tim Connolly, Shoot Studios



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