Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Last Night's "New York Beauty" Lecture

pieced and appliqued quilt, c.1870, Kentucky
Last night I did a lecture for the Tualatin Valley Quilt Guild, and the topic was "New York Beauty" quilts. As I do in all my lectures about these quilts, I explained the history of the genre, or family of patterns, and how the name originated and was popularized. This time, I was able to give a little more detail since I'd just recently outlined historical highlights in my post, "New York Beauty: Why THAT Name?" If you haven't read that post, please do. I believe it's most illuminating.

pieced quilt, c. 1850, Kentucky
block, sash and cornerstone detail, pieced quilt, c. 1850, Kentucky
MacMillan Family Quilt, 1868, Monroe County, Kentucky
As usual, I presented the quilts in chronological order, and discussed origins, names, construction, design, trends in quiltmaking, and the whole overarching story of the New York Beauty as represented by my collection. I brought along 15 quilts, and this blog includes most of the quilts with the exception of two I still need to photograph. If you've followed this blog, you've likely seen them all before, but I like to do recaps of my lectures on my blog. It helps me remember what worked well, what didn't, and what I brought to show each group if I'm fortunate enough to be invited back. :)

pieced quilt, c. 1860, Kentucky
pieced quilt, c. 1870, Florence Caldonia Corley Shealy,
Saluda County, South Carolina
"Suspension Bridge" c. 1910, North Carolina
Mountain Mist New York Beauty, c. 1930 - suggested colors
Mountain Mist New York Beauty, c. 1930 - "traditional" colors
"Box of Crayons" quilt, c. 1940
"Torches of Liberty" c. 1950, by Gertrude Barr, Oklahoma
"Oriental Express" 1999, by Debra Kerns, Indiana
"Cinco de Mayo" 2008 by the Buda Bee Quilters, Texas
"New York Beauty" 2010, by Nancy Tanguay, Connecticut
"Great Cities²" by Christine Wrobel, Washington
"Lady Liberty Goes to Hawaii" 2011, by Marita Wallace, California
One thing I noticed about last night's lecture was it had three distinct sections, a beginning, middle, and end. The beginning was the high-end, mid 19th century Southern quilts; the middle was the turn-of-the-century and Depression Era quilts; and the end was where we are today. Each part included information to contextualize the quilts, such as the effect of industry and the mass media on the quilt design, and notes about the introduction of foundation piecing.

It was a lot of fun visiting with the Tualatin Valley Quilt Guild again, and I thank them for inviting me back. I had visited them last year with 20th century quilts, my first time doing that lecture, and it was nice to come back and give a lecture that's much more of a well-oiled machine. I've learned a tremendous amount about these quilts- enough to go for hours without stopping, but the guild was probably glad I stopped after an hour. Seeing these quilts in chronological progression, accompanied by the deluge of information, can be kind of an intense experience! 


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  4. Sorry all about deleted comments. My fault, but Blogger won't let me fix it.

  5. Was wondering if you have considered getting a Karen Store quilt? Then she could be part of your presentation.... her mother did not take Karen's work seriously even though she had quilts on the cover of several Quilt Newsletter's.... so would several make her history worthy?

    1. I have several quilts made with her patterns, but perhaps when one of her quilts is available and I have money to spend I'd consider buying one. Probably not this year, though. I've got an exhibition to plan.