Tuesday, November 20, 2012

20th Century Quilts Lecture

Snake Trail Fans, c. 1900, Pennsylvania
Last night I did a lecture for the Westside Quilters of Hillsboro. It was my second time visiting the group. The first time, which was last year, I presented 19th century quilts. This time it was 20th century quilts, and I brought a big pile. Here's what I showed, in chronological order.

Inscribed Commemorative Fundraising Quilt, c. 1910
One Patch Variation, c. 1910
Layered Fans, c. 1920, New York
Double Wedding Ring, c. 1930
Barn Raising Log Cabin, c. 1940
Tumbling Blocks, c. 1940
Upholstery Sample Bricks, c. 1960
Klee, 1973, by Marsha McCloskey
Irregular Nine Patch on point, c. 1970, Texas
American Flag, 1976, Florida
USA Map, c. 1970, Texas
Wavy Bricks, c. 1970
Bible Story, by Lucy Mingo, Gee's Bend, Alabama, 1979
Night Flight, 1982, by Andrea Leong Scadden, aka Andrea Balosky
Jerry's Garden, 1995, Andrea Balosky
Cross-Currents Study #3, 1995 Andrea Balosky
Cross-Currents Study #2, 1994, Andrea Balosky
It was a whirlwind tour of the 20th century, with a special focus on the 1970s and later, the work of Andrea Balosky who lived and worked in Camp Sherman, Oregon for many years.

One of the interesting considerations when viewing 20th century quilts is the rise, decline and resurrection of the quilt industry. In the early part of the 20th century, specifically in the 1930s, the industry walked hand-in-hand quiltmakers. There were published patterns, fabrics were widely available, and quiltmaking was very popular. From the mid to late 40s and into the 1960s and 70s, the industry had slowly declined, but that all changed around the Bicentennial, when quiltmaking rose in popularity once more. Today, we're still riding the wave, and in recent years there have been new inventions, wide availability of fabrics and notions, and plenty of information about how to make quilts.

Love the Westside Quilters, and I wanted to thank them for allowing me to go at the beginning of the meeting so I could get back to my poor, ailing kitty. Can't wait to go back and spend more time with this group!


  1. hope the kitty is ok....
    what fun to see these quilts again
    I am really intrigued with the map quilt , what size is that quilt?

  2. Barb in southeastern PANovember 20, 2012 at 3:54 AM

    Thank you for sharing your talk via pictures for those of us not able to be there. I like your comment about the industry of quiltmaking cycling with the popularity of quilting. Hope your kitty is doing better.
    Barb in southeastern PA

    1. I'm glad you caught that, Barb. There seems to be a lot of debate about whether or not quiltmaking died out during those decades, and I've thought a lot about it. My feeling is women maintained the tradition, but the industry didn't take as strong a supporting role as it did in the 30s. Had the industry continued to grow through this period, we might have had the rotary cutter and long-arm quilting a lot sooner. But the industry sure came roaring back in the 70s! Since then, there hasn't been a big, decades-long lapse as there was in the middle of the 20th century. Now that it's a multi-billion-dollar industry, it seems quiltmaking will continue to be popular in America.

  3. Sorry to hear about Boo...hope she is doing better. As always, a fun group of quilts!

    1. She's better today, but we have good days and bad days. The Westside Quilters were very nice to accommodate my request to go at the beginning. I was sad to miss their show and tell, but they're close by, so I'm sure I'll visit again. A great group!

  4. Thanks for your insight and bringing all those fabulous quilts last night! Very inspiring!

  5. sorry to hear that Boo is ailing. best wishes for the both of you. Happy Thanksgiving. oh, and gorgeous quilts!