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

Book Review by Kimberly Wulfert, PhD

A Stitch in Time Quilts from the Genesee Country
Quilt Exhibit Catalogue, 
written by Elizabeth Davis

The first thing you notice about this 35 page catalogue is it's size, 8.5" x 11". The best part is that the quilts pictured are about that size too. They are all in full color, vibrant color. There is a small close-up beneath some of the quilts, of the fabric, or a design in the quilting or a block. Elizabeth, known as Beth, a long time quilt history lover, who helped to make this exhibit a reality, writes about each quilt, with a description of valuable information that adds to our understanding of the quilt. A picture can do only so much. This is the way I want a catalogue to be.

The catalogue starts with a 1825 chrome yellow on Turkey red whole cloth quilt. With each page you see quilt styles unfold. The museum has examples of all the fine styles made early in America, including cut-out chintz appliqué, Calamanco, whitework and moves into appliqué and block style quilts made with chintz fabrics or intricate piecing. What might be considered utilitarian quilts, meaning made for daily use, as well as two silk pieced quilts and a crazy style, all made in the last quarter of the 19th century, conclude the catalogue.

Some of these quilts are pictured in the article, A 19th Century Journey, written by Lorie Stubbs about her many experiences at the exhibit.

In the back of the catalogue, Beth has provided a glossary of terms, mostly defining styles of quilts and aspects of quilts that would be very helpful to someone new to the development of quilting in America. There is a selected bibliography, which I would call the classics of quilt history books to have in your library.

This catalogue is only available through the museum store and cost $9.95 -- a steal. The money helps the museum, which is a good thing, as they received a grant from the Davenport-Hatch Foundation to cover the expenses of publication. It is the first documentation of the quilts in Genesee's collection. Then curator Doris E. Hood gathered most of the quilts before the museum of historic houses opened in 1976. Unfortunately, few of them have any provenance. Maybe with this presentation to the public, following many years of storage, some new information will come to them.

Genesee Country Museum: Programs and Events - Quilts Uncovered. 

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© 2005 - 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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