Tuesday, February 21, 2017

what a mess!


Stuff accumulates. It's the story of our lives. I moved around a lot when I lived back east, and our family always spent time in Maine in the summer. Mom and Dad eventually moved there. I moved to Portland, Oregon and brought all my stuff with me.


Before moving, I used to love going to the Englishtown Flea Market with a car full of stuff to sell on Saturday mornings in the summer. Made a wad of cash every time, but always ended up with boxes of stuff that didn't sell, and things I picked up from other dealers. I also loved driving over to Pennsylvania for the afternoon and exploring all the shops along the way.


Many of the things I picked up were part of the decor. That's what makes antiques and vintage objects so great. They are curiosities. When you love to collect, the only danger is when the stuff starts to pile up. I'm sure there are some boxes in the attic that haven't been opened for 20 years.


I am going through it all now, and the inside of my home looks like an estate sale gone wrong. What a mess! But it'll be a beautiful mess when I set up shop in my little glass case at the vintage store across town.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Case #F-3


Case #F-3, that's me. Starting March 1st, I will be one of the 100 dealers at a large vintage shop here in Portland. I'd been thinking about it for a long time. Ever since learning what an antiques dealer was, I thought it would be fun to be one.


Lately I have been on a massive cleaning and reorganizing spree around the house. I have a lot of things I do not need, and wanted to have a garage sale, but realized a lot of things are too good for that. So, now I've got an outlet.

pair of tastevins and white ironstone relish dishes
random objects and a set of three L.E. Smith Moon & Stars canisters in red
There will be a few quilty things, but mostly other types of items: pottery, glass, art, random objects. From 1984 to 1999, I moved around a lot, and collected a lot of things. Most of them were used or displayed in my home.


Looking forward to moving things into my space and starting to sell on March 1st. I will be planning some sales during the year, and will make sure to announce them here.
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Sunday, February 19, 2017

Saturday Auction Results


Yesterday I was ready to leave the house when an auction alert arrived in my e-mail box. It was from Copake Auction, Inc., in New York and it was for a lot I saved through Live Auctioneers. The lot was a T-shaped bedcover with a chevron design made of print fabrics.


Every time an interesting quilt comes up at auction lately, I ask myself, "Do I really need it?" Of course, with more than 400 quilts in the collection I do not need another one, but there was something about this one.


The auction description did not have much information. It said the quilt was made around 1880. I think it could be older, but need to see it in person before I can say.


The quilt shares many similarities with another quilt in my collection, an "Orange Peel" or "Robbing Peter to Pay Paul" from the 1830s, made in New England. I have a hunch the two quilts will have a similar feeling.


Dating fabrics can be a little tricky when considering 1830s vs. 1880s print fabrics in America. There were similar styles in the designs, and similar colors. I am studying Eileen Trestain's first "Dating Fabrics" book to see if there may be a clue. The fabrics and quilts of the 1830s and 1880s quilts share similarities. There were a lot of intricate, copperplate printed designs, darks and drabs.


Based on Trestain's book, the key to discerning between the two periods appears to be the specific combinations of colors seen in prints. We may never find the exact prints, but it's possible to find prints done with similar methods and colors. We'll see when it arrives. Stay tuned...
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Saturday, February 18, 2017

yippie yi yay!

Yesterday I found this neat little cowboys and horses quilt in a vintage shop in Portland. It was in a pile with two other quilts, a Sunbonnet Sue and a Parasol Ladies, and it really jumped out. Although there are some condition issues, it was a pattern I hadn't seen before.


When I got home, I took some photos and sent them to my friend Gloria Nixon from Kansas. Gloria is author of the fabulous book "Rag Darlings, Dolls From the Feedsack Era" - get the book -  and she thought the motifs looked famliar. She found it in Barbara Brackman's Encyclopedia of Applique (#49.18), and also found sales and auction links with information and photos of the pattern.


It is called Cowboy Quilt, a Wheeler/Brooks design (#7353). I love how the pattern has a reference to the use of scraps. Good stuff! And good work, Gloria. You nailed it!


Gloria's name may be familiar to anyone who has read my New York Beauty book. She helped with research there, too. Such an amazing researcher, very evident throughout her book.


So, "yippie yi yay!" for Gloria. What an angel! It is wonderful having such a network of friends with deep and diverse interests in quilts, textiles, antiques and vintage collectibles. Not having all the answers is OK if you know who to ask.

💖
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Friday, February 17, 2017

Holy Hexagons! It's Here!

"Holy Hexagons" unknown maker, c. 1900, Pennsylvania
The doorbell rang some time after lunch yesterday, and I knew exactly what it was. The "Holy Hexagons" quilt! I waited for an eternity...well, maybe only 12 days...but it seemed like an eternity.

pre-1900s print fabrics in the mix - one of two lit candles!
In nearly 30 years of collecting, I've never seen anything like it. Pictorials are rare enough as it is. One made of hexagons? Let's just say I had to see it to believe it.

one of four keys - the Four Keys to Heaven?
There are clues, but hard to say if there is a way to decipher them without projecting or speculating. Motifs include a large central cross surrounded by four keys, two candles, two anchors, nine chalices, two buildings and many flowers.


Toward the top is a rainbow, peaked like a roof. At the bottom is what looks like a pair of bones...or is it HH? Holy Hexagons! It couldn't be...or could it?

😇


Stunning. Hopefully I can learn more about the quilt by putting it out there. That's one of my secrets, by the way. Share generously, and somehow it will come back as knowledge. The more people who see it, the better the chances of finding that hidden source of information. 

Thursday, February 16, 2017

2017 QuiltCon Magazine


The 2017 issue of QuiltCon Magazine is now available as a digital download and print pre-order. For the third year in a row, I am in the magazine.

The 2015 issue QuiltCon Magazine included two quilts from my collection
In 2015, two of my vintage 1970s quilts appeared in the magazine as part of the feature on special exhibits. Last year, I contributed a four-page feature article about the history of improvisational quiltmaking in America.

From the feature article in 2016 QuiltCon Magazine
From the feature article in 2016 QuiltCon Magazine
This year, it is a seven-page article about American mid-century quilts. It is nice to have a presence in all three issues of the magazine so far. I very much appreciate the opportunity to share antique and vintage quilts with the Modern Quiltmaking community.


About the article, today's quiltmakers are inspired by all types of mid-century modern objects and design, but the quilts of the mid-century period are still a bit of a mystery. There was less quiltmaking activity in the 50s and 60s than there had been in the 30s and 40s, fewer quilts made, and these quilts didn't exactly flood the marketplace when other mid-century collectibles became popular during the last decade or two.


What do mid-century American quilts look like? Often outside the box of mid-century modern style, the quilts show signs of modernism, such as geometry headed toward minimalism. To read more about it, get QuiltCon Magazine. Check the Shop section of the Modern Quilt Guild web site, or get the digital download or print edition from the Interweave shop.
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