Sunday, March 27, 2016

A Quilting Adventure

March 19 is National Quilt Day in the United States, and I was in Lincoln, NE which has the International Quilt Center and visiting my friend who does a great deal of quilting -- so of course I had a quilting adventure.

Our day began first, though, with a pancake breakfast. My friends' grandson is in the Boy Scouts and that morning the Boy Scouts were having a pancake breakfast, so that was the first stop.

My friend had to "work" at the Quilt Center at 11:00 so we went there directly after the pancakes.
Due to my sore arthritic condition she dropped me near the entrance and then went to find a place to park the car. I entered into a foyer gift shop covered by quilts or quilt information.

 There I was given a white piece of paper for something, I didn't understand what the paper was for -- the world of quilting as it is now is very new to me.

The word, quilting, may bring to mind the above image. This is a painting I found in the exhibit area, the painting being the work of Edgar Melville Ward. This painting was completed in 1892 and is called as one might expect, The Quilting Party.

But as one reads through this blog entry there will be evidence that there is more to quilting today than great-grandmother's quilting.

We had time upon arriving to first walk by the conservation room. The International Quilt Center holds thousands of quilts and has about 100 on display at one time.

Stored quilts are taken the conservation room where the box is opened and the quilt is spread out onto a large table. A type of net material is placed over a section of the quilt and the dust is literally vacuumed away. When the quilt has been totally cleaned it is again folded to go back in the box. But if the quilt had been folded vertically during its storage period, it is now folder horizontally. This prevents deterioration from a common fold area.

We then went to a vendor area to redeem our pieces of paper. She had a yellow piece of paper.  That is when I learned these were to be redeemed for a spool of thread. Because I had a white one I got a much bigger spool of thread. My friend asked me get blue as she could use that when she works on the Quilts of Valor. This quilt project has spread all over the United States with the goal of awarding a quilt of every man or woman who has served in the U.S. military.

My friend's volunteer activity was to welcome visitors to the small conference room in which Cuddle Quilts were on display.

Cuddle quilts are about a square meter in size. They are given to fire fighters, police officers, and social workers who may encounter children in dangerous or stressful situations -- the purpose of the quilt literally to be used to cuddle the child who may have just experienced disaster or high stress.

Meanwhile I was having a wonderful time visiting the various galleries with quilt displays.

The first one I visited featured African-American quilts. These quilts were first collected by Dr. Robert Cargo who was the director of the Folk Art Gallery in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. In 2000, the Quilt Center acquired this 156 piece collection.

Recently I have been learning about the role of horses in the European military -- the army with the best horses had a great advantage. So when I saw the quilts with mules, my idea was that mules were highly important in this culture. Good mules were an essential tool on an Alabama farm in the early 20th century. And so they are represented in quilts.

The above quilt is the work of  Betty Rogers, Greene County, Alabama.

On an opposite wall I found the quilt shown below. It is the work of Mary Maxtion, also from Greene County, Alabama.

I also liked the quilt shown below. It is also shows something important.

I thought these were coffee cups, but the quilt maker, Lureoa Outland, calls it Tea Cups. She also lived in Greene County, Alabama.

Next I visited the gallery that holds several pieces from  the Bryon and Sarah Rhodes Dillow collection of quilts.  In 2008 the Dillows donated about 250 quilts and 175 fabric fragments to the International Quilt Center.

Below is part of a quilt called Princess Feather. It was made in 1865 by Rebecca Wilson and Isabella Irene Wilson Rhodes.

On an opposite wall I found the quilt below.

While most quilts are made by assembling many pieces of fabric, this quilt is one solid piece, and has the name. Whole Cloth. Quilt stitches add texture to this. It is estimated to have been made between 1800 - 1830, but it is unknown whether it was made in the United States or in the United Kingdom.

In the rear gallery area I saw a sign that said Man Made. From the distance I thought it was making reference to the type of fabrics used in the quilts. I certainly was wrong. This gallery, instead, holds quilts made by men.

Here is an example.

The above quilt is the work of Ben Venom. In 2012 he made this quilt from heavy metal t-shirts, other fabrics, and thread.

Another one that caught my eye is titled Some Dumb Old Painting. It is obviously a take-off from the paintings of Roy Lichtenstein. The quilt is the work of Joe Cunningham and was made in 2012.

The caption made me laugh!

Because of my interest in Central Europe, I was quite interested in the quilt shown below. It is also the work of Joe Cunningham, done in 2014.

Cunningham explains he saw a newspaper picture of protestors sleeping in an occupied government building in Kiev. He calls this quilt quite obviously Sleeping Protestors in Kiev.

It is easier to see the jumble of coats and sleeping bags portrayed in the quilt with the peaceful faces of sleeping protestors in the piece of the quilt shown below.

I also found a quilt that intrigued me in an exhibit called Art Quilts.

The Quilt Center has a no-touch policy and I wanted to touch this one so badly to better understand how the quilter had made this. The name of the quilt is Leaf Fall, Variation B Fragments. It is the work of Barbara Schneider.

Before leaving we attended a seminar called Modern Quilting. This is a new movement in the quilt world, based on breaking all the rules of traditional quilting. Alas no photographs of modern quilts.

It truly was a great day at the International Quilt Center. 

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