Friday, April 20, 2018

It's a date!

An exhibition is scheduled for next summer at Latimer Quilt & Textile Center.
It's a date! At the recent Clark County Quilters show, I saw my friends from Latimer Quilt & Textile Center in Tillamook and asked if they had any summer dates available for exhibitions. Lucky for me, they did. Quilts from my collection will be on display at the center in July and August 2019.

Kalakoa, Discovering the Hawaiian Scrap Quilt at Latimer (2016)
Each year, Linda's family has a reunion over in Seaside, and I thought it would be fun to offer an exhibition of quilts in the area at the same time. I haven't decided what to exhibit yet, but it won't be a problem coming up with a good show.

"Small Wonders: Doll Quilts by Andrea Balosky" (2011)
Two exhibitions of quilts from my collection were previously shown at Latimer-- "Masterpiece Quilts: Modernism in American Patchwork" (2014) and "Kalakoa, Discovering the Hawaiian Scrap Quilt" (2016). I curated another show, "Small Wonders: Doll Quilts by Andrea Balosky" in 2011. That was the first time I curated an exhibition of quilts, and it seems like a long time ago. A lot of things have happened since then!

I'm considering a select group of quilts from my first book, "New York Beauty, Quilts from the Volckening Collection" (2015, Quiltmania France), because I have never exhibited those quilts at Latimer. The last time I exhibited them in Oregon was actually the first time I had an exhibition of quilts from my collection, and that was in 2011 at the Benton County Museum.
Bicentennial Quilt by Barbara McKie
Of course, there are plenty of other ideas. I am also considering patriotic and/or Bicentennial, although the idea may be a bit premature. I've got enough quilts and latch hook rugs to hang a good Bicentennial show, but the Sestercentennial is in 2026, so I may try to hold off on exhibiting Bicentennial until we are closer to 2026.

It is always interesting to look at the collection and consider what groups of quilts could be pulled out for exhibitions and other projects. There are applique quilts, floral quilts, wool quilts, embroidered quilts, velvet quilts, and lots of 1970s quilts. There are also quilts from each of my three books, the third of which will be released later this year. What will I decide to show? Stay tuned...

Monday, April 16, 2018

This Week in Paducah

pieced quilt, c. 1870, Sarah Redmond, Texas
Two quilts from my collection are on display this week at the 30th Annual Rotary Antique Quilt Show in Paducah. The "Southern Splendor" exhibit, curated by Mary Kerr, showcases Southern quilts and celebrates the release of Mary's latest book, "Southern Quilts: Celebrating Traditions, History and Designs" (2018, Schiffer Publishing).

Both of the quilts from my collection were made in the middle to late 19th century, and both have makers' names but very little other accompanying information. 

The first quilt is an 1870s pieced quilt made by Sarah Redmond of Texas. We do not know what Redmond called the design, but it has a variety of modern names such as "New York Beauty", "Rocky Mountain Road" and "Crown of Thorns". These names are attributed to mass-media publications and manufacturers of quilting supplies from the turn of the century and beyond. 

I covered the broad topic of quilt pattern names in detail in my first book, "New York Beauty, Quilts from the Volckening Collection" (Quiltmania France 2015), but this quilt came to my collection after the book was published. In the absence of name documentation, my practice is to call it a pieced quilt rather than applying a modern name to the pattern.

The second quilt is one of the most well-known quilts to come out of Paducah. It is a mid-19th century applique quilt made by Mrs. M.E. Poyner, and it appeared in several books including "Kentucky Quilts 1800-1900" and "Homefront & Battlefield: Quilts & Context in the Civil War". It is sometimes referred to as an "Oak Leaf Variant" or "Currants & Coxscomb" but we do not know what Mrs. Poyner called the quilt.

The Paducah Rotary Antique Quilt Show will be open to the public Tuesday, April 17th through Saturday, April 21st at the Robert Cherry Civic Center, 2701 Park Avenue, Paducah, Kentucky. Show hours are 9am to 6pm, Tuesday through Friday, and 9am to 3pm on Saturday. For more information, click here.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Pre-Order: Inspired Free-Motion Quilting

"Inspired Free-Motion Quilting: 90 Antique Designs Reinterpreted for Today's Quilter" will be released in October 2018, and is now available for pre-order.

Mandy Leins and I co-authored the book. Working with Mandy was such a pleasure. She is an outstanding machine quilter and loves old quilts. It was fascinating to see how she was inspired by each quilt, and how she created the continuous line drawings needed for free-motion quilting. I can't say enough about the superb work she did on this book.

All the quilts in the book are over 100 years old, and some are more than 200 years old! There are four quilts from the 1790s, and most of the others are c. 1850 and earlier. The designs are elegant, whimsical, and surprisingly relevant in the 21st century. Thank you to Mandy Leins for doing such a wonderful job, and of course all the fine folks at C&T Publishing / Stash Books for suggesting the idea and making it possible. To pre-order, click here.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Clark County Quilters Show

"From the Ashes" 2017 by Judith Phelps
The Clark County Quilters 43rd Annual Quilt Show is going on today and tomorrow at the Clark County Event Center. We went yesterday, and it's a great show with something for everyone. There is even a small exhibit of quilts from Portland Modern Quilt Guild. It's fun to see friends' work on display.

Portland Modern Quilt Guild exhibit
The show is open today and tomorrow from 10:00AM to 4:00PM. Admission is $7, and parking is $6. Children under age 12 admitted free of charge. The Clark County Event Center is located at 17402 NE Delfel Road, Ridgefield, Washington -- Exit 9 off I-5. For more information, click here.

Friday, March 30, 2018

"Mars" by Collin Ruff Fellows

"Mars" - Collin Ruff Fellows' last quilt is monumental, a masterpiece.
"Mars" was on display last weekend at the Celebration of Life for Collin Ruff Fellows. Linda and I arrived thinking we were probably a bit early. A pair of shiny motorcycles stood outside, and people were already spilling out the front door.  The house was full of friends and family, and the celebration was well underway.

Marlin Hofer chatting with Linda McLaughlin in front of "Mars"
We were at the house the other day, setting up "Mars" on a quilt stand. It's a big quilt, and the monumental scale seemed apropos considering Collin's enormous talent. Collin pinned the quilt to prepare it for quilting the day before he passed away. His husband, Marlin Hofer had it quilted and finished by Kazumi Peterson. She did an excellent job.

square patches cut for Collin's planet series quilts
Collin left a lot of UFOs. For the non-quilters in the crowd, "UFO" stands for unfinished object, a work in progress, patchwork in get the drift. Some of these projects will be finished. Other ideas may remain in the sketchbooks for a while, and the sketchbooks are remarkable objects, too.

Collin's brother, Brandon introduced me to their relative, Malaika, who is currently working on Collin's Cathedral Windows quilt. She and I had a nice visit, and laughed about her taking on the project when she originally tried to warn him about all the hand sewing it would take. I tried to warn him, too. If you told Collin he couldn't do something, he would say, "Watch me!" That's just how Collin was, and all the guests at the celebration of life could see it when they walked in the door and saw the jaw-dropping "Mars" on display. When I first saw it, my jaw was on the floor, and that's kind of the same reaction I had when I met Collin and learned about his quilts. Rest in peace, dear friend!

Friday, March 23, 2018

another Hawaiian scrap quilt

Hawaiian scrap quilt, c. 1970, 45" x 54"
How could I resist this lovely little Hawaiian scrap quilt? It came from an eBay seller in California, whose family once lived in Hawaii. You can tell by the fabrics.

I call these quilts Hawaiian scrap quilts because they are made of Hawaiian scraps, the kind of fabrics seen in Hawaiian aloha shirts and muumuus. Most of the quilts came from Hawaii, but a few came from other places such as California.

The ones that come from Hawaii are usually just like this one. It has no batting or quilting, and could be called a patchwork blanket or "summer cover". The backing is green, and the palette is light and tropical.

This pattern is similar to the 1970s "Shadowbox" quilt in my Modern Roots book. It is a variant of the Economy Block, squares inside squares made of triangles. Diagonal grids are popular in Hawaiian scrap quilts.

Although I am not collecting much this year, I still have an eye on Hawaiian scrap quilts. I'm also eyeing some potential opportunities to exhibit the quilts in the future. It will be a lot of fun to see a large group of these quilts on display in a museum.

Saturday, March 17, 2018


an all-green, velvet quilt

It's St. Patrick's Day. I like green, so I'm going along with the whole thing. I made some green juice for breakfast. It has apples, pears, cucumber, celery, lime, ginger, kale and mint.

Juicing is new to me, and I usually like the red and orange drinks best, but green seemed to fit the occasion today.

Whenever I take a sip of fresh made juice, my whole body tingles. It's like the nutrients are coursing through my veins and causing little electrical sparks throughout my body. Maybe that means it's good for me. It's much better than green beer.

a green wholecloth quilt, c. 1790
Green is really my favorite color. That's a good thing, because I live in Oregon. It's very green here. Everything grows like a weed in the mild, moist climate. We endure months of rain, drizzle and fog to enjoy the remarkably green summers. St. Patrick's Day is OK with me, even though people get too drunk. For me, it's an early celebration of the green spring and summer just around the corner.