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New Pathways into Quilt History written by Kimberly Wulfert, www.antiquequiltdating.com

2004 exhibit catalogue: 
"American Quilt Classics 1800 - 1980" 
from the Mint Museum of Craft + Design

The 2004 exhibit catalogue, "American Quilt Classics 1800 - 1980," from the Mint Museum of Craft + Design, contains 36 truly unique and fabulous quilts collected over the years, by Fleur Bresler. She recently donated them, her books, and research materials to the Mint Museum, and Merikay Waldvogel wrote the text. The catalogue/book is 79 pages, with 36 full-size quilts and many detail shots. Nearly half the quilts date pre-CW, and the rest pre-circa 1930s, one is 1980, hence the catalogue title.

There is a very unusual album quilt that dates to c.1850. In a quick glance, one might think it's early 20th century. Each appliqué motif is different and unlike those seen in other R&G, teal, orange, and pink 1800s album quilts. Plus, there are rather large red squares. placed on point, free floating across the top, between the myriad of appliqués in many sizes and shapes. Obviously they are corner stones, but there is no evidence of sashing or blocks in this picture. There is no usual border either; stemmed flowers grow out of the sides, like a single spring flower from the ground. The scalloped edges are bound with a dark, perhaps red, binding. The scallops are fairly small, rather than large and fit the overall size, well.

This quilt is worth the entire catalogue -- but it's one of many. Fleur collected one or two of many different styles such as blue-resist, chintz, stenciled, Baltimore album, one crib size and one regular, cut-out chintz, whitework, six Amish, various foundation pieced types, a 1930s reproduction of the 19th century Phoebe Warner Quilt, and other appliquéd and pieced ones. Interestingly, they tend to be child size or an irregular, uncommon size. For example, the blue-resist quilt, c.1840, is 99 1/4" X 60 1/2". The heavily blue on white resist fabric is surrounded by a wide indigo border on three sides. The binding is blue-resist, too. These are wow quilts because they are really unusual -- folk art comes to mind often.

Merikay describes the evolution of quilt history via the quilt styles and patterns. She goes into a lot of detail on each type and when they began, plus provenance and social history associated with the quilts and other aspects influencing them. It's very informative and interesting and a fun-to-read catalogue. The notes section is a good research aid, too. The color close-up photos are terrific and are in the text section. Although the exhibit is now over, Merikay has copies available. The book has a colorful embossed cover, it's $20.00, $3.00 S&H from Merikay, quiltalive@aol.com. There is a picture of it (item # 637) and some of the quilt exhibit, too, at www.mintmuseum.org.

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© 2004 - 2016 Kimberly Wulfert, PhD. Absolutely no copies, reprints, use of photos or text are permitted for commercial or online use. One personal copy for study purposes is permitted.

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