Thursday, September 17, 2015

1970s Double Wedding Ring Quilts

wild and wonky: Double Wedding Ring, unknown maker, Texas, c. 1975, 64" x 84"
Take a good look at this 1970s Double Wedding Ring quilt. There's a lot going on! The pattern appears and disappears in a riot of fabrics, as if layers were peeled away, revealing what was underneath. It's an innovative idea for a Double Wedding Ring, a quilt often made with more of a traditional look. Because the pieced arcs can be challenging, most quilters let their arcs stand out.

The quilt came from an eBay seller in Texas during a flurry of activity a couple years ago, when 1970s quilts began to flood the market. Soon after, things slowed down. Perhaps people realized they should hold on to these offbeat gems, wait until the market hit a peak. Regardless, I got a lot of great quilts when they were available. Two other Double Wedding Rings are part of my 1970s group. One is fairly traditional, and the other more offbeat.

Double Wedding Ring, unknown maker, Colorado, c. 1975, 91" x 91"
This more traditional looking 1970s Double Wedding Ring quilt came from an eBay seller in Colorado. It is cotton, possibly with some cotton/polyester blend fabric in the mix. The quilt is a time capsule of 1970s print calicoes. It seems like every color available made it in to this quilt. Although the quilt is completely scrappy, using every color everywhere in the quilt creates a sense of harmony.

Double Wedding Ring, unknown maker, California, c. 1970, 90" x 90"
The third 1970s Double Wedding Ring is somewhere in between the first two. It is wild, but there is also structure. The quilt originally came from an estate in Altadena, California; one of two related polyester double knit Double Wedding Ring quilts. Both were sold through The Quilt Complex.

Double Wedding Ring, unknown maker, California, c. 1970, 104" x 106"
collection of Roderick Kiracofe
International Quilt Study Center Museum, Lincoln, Nebraska
photo courtesy of Roderick Kiracofe

The other polyester Double Wedding Ring went to the collection of Roderick Kiracofe, and is currently on display in "The Extraordinary Made from the Ordinary" at the International Quilt Study Center Museum in Lincoln, Nebraska. Before Lincoln, it was on display at the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art. Roderick has been busy! Also showing now, an exhibition he guest curated at San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles called "Found/Made".

side-by-side - the sibling quilts, virtually reunited
The use of many colors gives these two quilts a lot of movement. They are more visually challenging than the quilt from Colorado, but the solid color background fabrics let the pieced arcs stand out more than the wild and wonky quilt from Texas.

A variety of fabrics appear in the wild and wonky quilt from Texas, cottons and a few synthetics. It is 64" x 84" and is completely hand pieced and hand quilted. The work is a bit rough, but precision may not have been the top priority; it sure wasn't with the fabric selection. That's what I love about it.

The wild and wonky Texas Double Wedding Ring Quilt is part of an eye-opening group of barely-vintage quilts, currently on display in  "Modern Materials, Quilts of the 1970s" at the Benton County Museum in Philomath, Oregon. For more information about the exhibition, location, hours,  and other venues showing quilts during Quilt County 2015, click here.

1 comment:

  1. These are all phenomenal. That first one and the Kiracofe twins are ballad-worthy:)