Thursday, March 3, 2011

NW Expo Display in September

Mariner's Compass, c. 1840, Tilton Family, New Jersey
While I continue to work on "Beauty Secrets: 150 Years of History in One Quilt Pattern" opening August 5th at the Benton County Historical Museum in Philomath, I've been presented with another opportunity to show quilts this year. The 11th annual Northwest Quilting Expo will take place at the Portland Metropolitan Exposition Center from September  22-24, and I will be there with quilts.

Tree of Life, c. 1880, unknown maker, Pennsylvania
Last year, I participated in the Latimer Quilt and Textile Center bed turnings at the Expo, and Latimer Board President Carol Weber introduced me to a nice lady named Shellie, one of the show's ringleaders, who was interested in having me speak at the 2011 show. I agreed to speak, and Shellie recently offered me a bonus opportunity to display quilts and do book signings. Since I've never done anything like it, I thought it would be a good experience, and I agreed to do it.

Honeycomb Hexagons, 1842, unknown maker "M.C." Pennsylvania
Shellie and I have settled on having 20 quilts on display, and now I'm beginning to make my selections. I will hold certain quilts for the lectures on Friday and Saturday, and will also hold quilts that have been displayed in the Portland area in the last year and quilts too fragile to display. "Beauty Secrets" will be hanging at the time, so the Rocky Mountain Road / New York Beauty quilts will be at the Benton County Museum.

Princess Feather, c. 1840, unknown maker, Maine
In looking at what would be available and what might appeal to attendees, I'm putting together a group of older quilts, primarily pre-1900 quilts from the eastern United States. These are the quilts we don't see often in Oregon, a state that joined the Union in 1859, well after the eastern territory was settled. Several of my quilts were made before 1859.

Sunburst Diamonds, c. 1830, unknown maker, New England
Until recently, I hadn't realized these older quilts were more rare in Oregon than in other places. Having come from the east coast, maybe I took these quilts for granted. During the time I've been sharing them with groups around Oregon, I've been surprised by the reaction. Many west coasters haven't seen a lot of quilts older than the Colonial Revival or Depression Era. Those later quilts are actually a greater rarity in my collection, but I don't think I got it backwards. People just love the old quilts.

Sprigs of Laurel Medallion, c. 1840, unknown maker, Baltimore, Maryland
So, old quilts it will be - some of the oldest quilts here in Oregon - and I'm delighted to be bringing them to the Expo. The quilts in this blog are just some of the pieces I'm considering, both for display and lectures. The Northwest Quilting Expo will take place September 22-24, 2011 at the Portland Metropolitan Exposition Center at 2060 North Marine Drive, Portland. For more details, click here.


  1. This reminds me of beautiful empty shells that are found on the beach. What remains is a small work of art that we should treat them like treasures.
    When I see these beautiful old Quilds, I could cry. The sewers have lived their lives and left a blanket in which you can wrap yourself with pleasure like a shell...

    thanks for this blog :)

  2. Looks and sounds like it is going to be an interesting Exhibition. I hope it is a great success.
    The quilts you are showing are all lovely.
    Thanks for sharing.

  3. Love that tree quilt! very very nice! and the simplicity of the sprigs Laurel... fantastic!

  4. Oh, did I love seeing these quilts! The compass is making me crazy!

  5. All of these quilts were bargain quilts, too. The tree quilt came from my mother, who thinks she got it for less than $200. The rest are eBay bargains. I paid $418.76 for one, $228.51 for another, about $675 for one, and less than $160 for another. All of these quilts have much higher values.

    Can you guess which is which?

  6. Please don't tell me what you paid for the mariners compass quilt. It will just make me jealous. It is so wonderful! Now I need to figure out a way to get to Oregon in September.

  7. That compass quilt is killer! Some condition issues throughout the reds, but the quilt shows really well. On the back, in all four corners is a script ink-stamped name - Araminta Tilton. I don't believe Araminta was the maker. Probably her mother or grandmother. The binding is super fine, about 1/8" and has thin cord inside. Major bargain!

  8. Bill, I'm so sorry I will miss your exhibit at the NW Quilt Expo in Portland in Sept! I will be attending the AQSG Seminar in New Jersey at that time!

  9. Oh ::snap:: !! I didn't realize the seminar was at the same time as Expo. Damn! Looks like I'll have to shoot for the 2012 Seminar. I'm bummed, though. Was hoping to go to Cherry Hill since it's just next door to my old hometown, Moorestown. Guess I'm glad I realized it now and not the week before...