Sunday, June 22, 2014

What is this strange magic?

Bob Timberlake Pillow Sham - a missing link
It's uncanny, and almost a little scary how the answers to all the questions I had about quilts in my New York Beauty collection have come to me in the last month, when I have urgently sought them. A friend said, "When the student is ready, the teacher will appear." Remarkably, that's exactly what happened.

Judi Boisson New York Beauty, c. 1992-1993
Earlier in the month, I was looking to identify what I thought could be a 1980s quilt from a published source. It turned out to be a Judi Boisson quilt from 1992. The teal quilt with red and white was one of her earliest designs. I called, and found out after seeing a red and white one on the web site.

Last week, I was seeking the answer to a question I had for the last three years about a woven New York Beauty bedspread. On a whim, I googled "Bates vintage jacquard bedspread" and found an Etsy listing with a different bedspread that had the same edge finish and a tag - Bates!

Just yesterday I received my copy of "New York Beauty Diversified" by Linda Hahn, and in the book was the inspiration for the pictorial quilt I bought a couple months ago from Nancy Tanguay. Serendipitous.
Nancy Tanguay quilt inspired by Linda Hahn's "Bensonhurst Blooms"
I had meant to get Linda's book for a long time, and finally ordered it last week, thinking maybe there would be something in the book that was relevant to my research even though Linda's work came at the tail end of the evolution of the New York Beauty design - and I didn't think I had any quilts that related to her work, but I did! As it turned out, Nancy had seen the picture once and made the quilt from memory, but couldn't find the picture that inspired it. So I helped her with a mystery, too.

Bob Timberlake "Sunrise" quilt, c. 1990
Today, the question that had bothered me the most was finally answered. I posted a plea on Facebook, and San Antonio quilt dealer Deborah Ursell saw the quilt and recognized it -- Bob Timberlake. In a matter of minutes, I found a pillow sham with tags still on it, which I won later in the day through an eBay auction, and I found what appears to be the inspiration quilt, sold in 2006 through Brunk Auctions in North Carolina. Wow!!

Inspiration quilt for Bob Timberlake's "Sunrise" quilt?
So, what is this strange magic? Why me? Why now? How did everything fall into place at just the perfect time? Was it luck? Destiny? Preparation meeting opportunity? I cannot explain how or why all the stars seemed to align for me this week, but they did, and I am thoroughly blown away by it. I am also eternally grateful! Thank you to all my friends who helped. It really does take a village to write a quilt history book. I dedicate this song to all of you!


  1. I am happy for your good week and hope many, many more are in store for you!

  2. Strange magic, indeed. But don't discount your years of hard work, research, meeting people, making contacts, learning and establishing an environment for yourself that makes it possible for all this to come together when you need it, Bill. You have done much to make this magic possible.

  3. I am so in awe of the work you are doing - what an undertaking!!!! The passion you have is very clear and I'm sure that will come across in your book. Congrats on the recent "wins" and I hope the rest goes just as smoothly :)