Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Early 19th Century Tree of Life Quilt from a Welsh Family

full view 1810 c Tree of Life Quilt in the collection of Jen Jones, Wales, UK



The palampore fabric was painted in India and later  made into a quilt. It comes from the Court Estate, Llanllawer in the Gwaun Valley, Pembrokeshire. It was wadded and quilted in 1810.




detail tree limbIt is an exceptionally large quilt, 322cmx 225cm,  filled with lambswool. This cotton fabric was made and painted on the Coromandel Coast prior to 1800.





 House of quilt Photo of the Court Estate

It was sold to Jen Jones by Liz White, daughter of Mrs Mary Lettice Mortimer Ehlers (nee Thomas) of Bristol.
Mrs. Mary Lettice Mortimer Ehlers had wanted the quilt to remain in Wales after her death. It has come to the right home.

A wide variety of wonderful Welsh stitching patterns were quilted on the palampore once it arrived in the UK, including hearts which indicate it was possibly worked for a family marriage.

detail top border

The four daughters of the Thomas family were married over a period of ten years and as it has never been used, it is difficult to say for whom it was intended.

Anne Thomas with her family Pembsphoto of Anne Thomas and her family (left)








Anne Mortimer Thomas

Photo of Anne Mortimer Thomas (right)

In 1851 it was sent to The Great Exhibition in London. It was last exhibited in London in the 1990's, prior to being on exhibit in Wales at the Jen Jones Welsh Quilt Centre in 2010. Here you can view the exhibit. Watch for the palampore on a far wall!



The Jen Jones Welsh Quilts Centre graciously sent me the following info and pictures to share on my blog. I do apologize for the delay in getting them posted. This quilt unfortunately is not on display at this time, but other quilts 2011 Oh that Summer would Last Forever are in their summer exhibit, "Oh that Summer would Last Forever," showing from now to October in Wales. A stunning exhibition catalogue is available for purchase.

Jen Jones sells quilts, shawls, paisleys, blankets, books and more at her shop and on line,  check it out!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Pictures from the Red & White Quilts Extravaganza Exhibit

Wow-  the exhibit  is as amazing as the promotional material said it would be! With many thanks to my girlfriend Tracy Jamar, we have pictures from her visit. Laura G. sent some links to other slide shows and newspaper articles. Thank you Laura.

Congratulations to the AFAM, Thinc, the exhibition company and Mrs. Rose , the collector of the 651 different ed and white quilts, for a one-of-a-kind quilt experience.

From Laura G.-
I saw the show today. You can see each of the quilts up close.
It was an incredible, phenomenal, stupendous show. Something tells me we are going to see many red and white quilts in the near future. Better buy your red broadcloth before it's all gone!!!

Martha Stewart's blog = http://www.themarthablog.com/2011/03/infinite-variety-three-centuries-of-red-and-white-quilts.html

Alex Anderson's website = http://www.thequiltshow.com/ - on the main screen, look for the tab that says "Red and Whilte Quilts" it will send you to a slide show.


http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/american-folk-art-museum-presents/id427267140?mt=8 - this is a lind to the apple website, where, if you have a mobile device (e.g. iphone, ipad, or android phone), you can download the app.

http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/03/24/finally-mrs-rose-and-the-public-can-see-all-her-rugs/?hpw NYTimes article shows the staff of Thinc setting up the exhibit plus a few photos of whole quilts

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Red and White Quilts for Sale

Quilt Photos and post courtesy of Laura Fisher

Fired up by the forthcoming exhibition from the American Folk Art Museum of one collector’s red and white quilts called INFINITE VARIETY, in further celebration of the color red and of quilt art, NYC American antiques dealer Laura Fisher offers a diverse collection of red and white quilts at her gallery throughout the Spring.

The color red in quilts is expressive, historic, even biblical in content. Among red and white quilts there are iterations of the two colors that can give clues to age. Earlier 19th century examples feature printed red fabrics with white, and some later 19th century quilts feature printed reds with printed white shirting cottons, as well as solid red.

Interest in antique red and white quilts runs the gamut from the bold graphic clarity of the solid red and white examples to the softer appearance of printed reds that many designers select when the small scaled prints work with fabrics based on historic printed cottons.

At the 67th Street (Park Avenue) Armory from March 25 -30 will be 650 (yup, amazing!) quilts in solid red and white literally hanging from the rafters like nothing ever seen before! Up for only a week, and FREE to the public, lovers of graphic design and of quilts are coming to town to see it and the other ongoing quilt shows at the AFAM.

The collector concentrates on solid red with solid white. Fisher is regarded in the design trade as the queen of two-color antique quilts, offering every shade with white.

Also available are antique textiles including coverlets and ticking in the same palette.

Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, from 11:00 – 4:00 or by appointment.

Red and white used alone was a mostly 19th century phenomenon, later supplanted by the solid pastels and the pastel printed cottons of the 1930s Depression era. For Fisher, when red appears in a 1930s quilt of colorful feedsack prints, it immediately catches the eye (see her current column in The Quilt Life Magazine called Feedsacks in Motion.

You can reach Laura Fisher at:
305 East 61st Street,5th floor
New York, NY 10065

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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Love is in the air...

Hi everyone!
Do you know that without a doubt, when you comment it makes my day!  It's so much fun to hear your thoughts (and know you are getting something out of my ramblings) that it keeps me going. So let's enjoy each other in this way when the topic is one you are moved to share your thoughts on; it's your unique perspective or experience we want to hear (I know, it's read, but I'm an audio learner more than visual after all these years of being a shrink).

 You can post anonymously or not, but comment and share. I get comments on old posts all the time, which then bring that topic up to date or add to the knowledge being sought. No comment is out of date!
Spam and off topic comments are deleted so you won't be stuck having to read them either. If the comments section is not automatically  showing up at the end of each post when you land on any page than  simply click the "comments" box and voila!

Do you feel  fear or resistance when you want to actually begin a new project? I know I do.  I feel it as I continue to work on an ongoing and important project too. It's easier to begin  if I'm in a classroom setting. I think that's because I can tell myself that this project doesn't really matter...it's just for practice. When I tell myself this in my studio it works too... if I believe it. 

Last month I delivered two public installation pieces that I had begun in the spring of 2010. They could have been completed in a few months but nagging fear of not being good enough to make what my mind's eye could see plagued me to the point of procrastination. I could sew, collage, write  and make other things no problem,  but these two quilts, flailed in the background looming very large on my conscience without touching ground. They were received with such joy and love, it was all worth it, but I would like to proceed in the future minus the fear and resulting guilt.

For those of you who might relate to what I'm talking about, there is a wonderful article on overcoming what might be stopping you. It's written by Lisa Sonora Beam. She's a San Francisco based  mixed media artist, workshop leader, and author on doing business as a predominantly right brained creative type or entrepreneur.

 "Why doing something new is scary - and how to begin" is the article. Take 2 minutes to read it then share your fear stories and tips on how you deal with it in the comment box below.

Are you wondering why I titled this post "Love is in the air...?" Most of you probably know there is a royal wedding coming up the end of April. I am excited about it. I can remember watching Princess Di getting married and feeling thrilled and envious of her, then. What a dress! What an entourage.. what a life. Needlesstosay it became a sobering situation as time went on. Both parties were forced into the wrong marriage. So very sad and a tragic outcome prevailed for her and her sons.

I want to support William at this time. Focusing my loving light filled energy on the couple and all involved  in giving the wedding  is how I will support them. It's the only way that I can. My imagination can do this and meditation. Would you like to support them too? Here's my suggestion. Leave a comment below describing the most beautiful wedding dress you can imagine and see Kate wearing it as she walks down the isle. Tell us about your vision in detail, the fabric, lines, shoes, jewelery, whatever it is that makes your heart fill with light and love as you think of her and the couple getting married.

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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Ever dream about careers in quilt history, then wonder what are they?

Have you ever wondered what people do who call themselves "Quilt Historians".  Have you ever dreamt about making a career in  the ever widening fields of quilt history, costumes, or quilts? I wondered  how  women went about becoming quilt historians when this field didn't even exist until the last quarter of the 20th century? Who were their mentors and role models?

I invite you to look into the lives of said women (and one man so far, another on the way,) on my Getting to Know Today's Quilt Historian pages.  Many new women have been added this month, while others have updated their interview and more are working on theirs now. There is great joy for me to bring their history to my readers. Please let others know about this and share the joy!

What motivated me to interview women who have helped  make the field what it has become today was my curiosity about what motivated them to get involved as they did.  Who were their mentors, what peaked their interest, what was their favorite job or research project and  what do they still want to do. What I learned is that their imagination and dreams grew as they did. With each step they took a leap of faith driven by a love of quilts, fabrics, or history which kept them going. At the end of each profile is a comprehensive bibliography of their publications, lectures, exhibits, and so forth. Use it also as a  reference guide should you need it for your research.

Today we follow their tracks to a certain extent. These women and men can be your mentors, Read their interview online.  One thing led to another and their dreams became larger and wider, and so can yours. My interviews show creativity in action as well as educate us about the broad field of quilt history.

While you're on the page, take a look at the second photograph. I took a picture of the entrance to the International Garden of Peace. It is the Peace Portal at Meditation Mount in Ojai California. Then I played around with the digital photograph to make it look like a stream is running through an Asian doorway on a hot day. In reality, there is no water, it's a path through a garden under a  blue sky on a typical day.  It's fun to play this way.

I hope your new year is wonderful so far. I  started my mixed media collage class again. This semester we are focusing on line and we'll learn to use gesso in various ways. I am surrounded by accomplished artists in this class and learn so much from them as well as the teacher. We make collages in class and share them for her critique at the end. Mostly we make abstract collage with papers, fabric sometimes, and other flat embellishment. We use a great deal of clothing pattern paper. The  printing on the tissue paper are examples of line to be  used in creating action, interest and leading the eye along.
Tell us about what  creative adventures you are up to this new year?

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Saturday, January 1, 2011

It's the Year of the Quilt! Are You Planning your 2011 Vacation?

 HAPPY NEW YEAR to each and every one of you! Thank you for being here, for commenting, for bringing your Quilter's Spirit to my little nook of the planet. I wish you many blessings and prosperity and joy-fulled friendships and experiences in 2011.

2011 brings an extravaganza of quilts into the fold from the American Folk Art Museum collection and a private collection, which will will be on display at various locations in the city throughout the year.

Infinite Variety, Three Centuries of Red and White Quilts will cap the American Folk Art Museum's "Year of the Quilt."  It is the largest exhibit with over 650 red and white American quilts displayed at one time! They are hung four and five high, as if floating in space, in a circular fashion at the Park Avenue Armory from March 25-30, 2011.  Entrance to the this special show is free. What a gift for those who can attend.

This will be the largest quilt exhibit ever seen in the city. All of the quilts are on loan from one New York City private collection. Fifty quilts will be chosen by and donated  to AFAM's collection after the exhibition. Wow!  What a memory to have. I've seen pictures of the installation and it's not something you can describe, you've got to see it to believe it. A cafĂ©, gift and book store are also in the armory which is located at 643 Park Avenue between 66th and 67th Streets.
Read much more about the Infinite Variety exhibit and three more major quilt exhibits from the museum's collection being offered this year including the curator's thoughts and historic perspective.

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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Making Vintage Quilts

There is no doubting that winter is here, from coast to coast. And with that comes staying in doors if you can and enjoying the cozy feel. I love the sound of rain drops falling on the skylights. Listening to the rain fall is so rare, I sit or work in silence while it is happening to take the sound and sensation it in when I can. But after a week of fairly non-stop raining and dreary skies I want color back, not to mention the sun and warm temperatures.

I don't know about you, but I think 1930s when I think about colorful happy quilts so I went to my bookshelf for some quick relief, and pulled down Link to the '30s, making the quilts we didn't inherit written by two sisters living in Texas, Kay Connors and Karen Earlywine.

The sisters are vintage style quilt and pattern makers. They design their quilts using period  newspaper quilt columns that offered mail order patterns and old quilts. Small photos of the original newspaper column pattern or quilt adorn each of the 9 quilt patterns featured in this book.

The patterns are from the columns  Nancy Page Quilt Club and Household Arts by Alice Brooks, and one is a McCall's wedding ring pattern., as seen on the book's cover.  Two signature quilt patterns are reproduced. One is from a 1931 quilt with embroidered names, and the other one is made into a contemporary quilt minus signatures.

The quilts chosen are familiar but I seldom see them reproduced at shows or on exhibit, which is nice. The patterns range in difficulty from beginner to experienced quilter. Most of them are mid range to advanced. The more difficult quilts contain curves, applique, and bias edges.

A variety of border treatments were made popular in the  Colonial Revival period between the World Wars  and are reflected in these patterns. Borders include the ice cream cone, prairie points, scallops, tiny half square triangles and the curved vine of petals (think of one Dresden plate petal).

Kay and Karen wrote a quilt stitch pattern book recently, Fancy to Frugal, authentic quilt patterns of the '30s. Here they are describing quilting  from the same time period, although Link to the '30s shows suggested quilting patterns for the borders and white or plain fabric blocks in the quilt.

These two books give you access to excellent patterns and ideas to pull from to make your own combinations of borders and blocks or to reproduce your own favorites. The templates are arranged on pages without overlapping each other for easy tracing, and illustrations are easy to see and understand. Their strip or rotary piecing directions are also easy to follow.

Please post your comments by clicking here http://www.quiltersspirit.blogspot.com/  if you are receiving this as a subscriber. Scroll down to "comments" below the post, click, and a comment box will appear. If you haven't read the great comments about Remembering Adelia, take a peek, even the author wrote in! Links top other

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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Remembering Adelia was more than a book to me

Oh it is a busy time of year! I hope you too are enjoying the myriad delights of the holiday season. I do more and more each year. I think it's because I value my family and my friendships, new and old, more deeply than I did when I was younger. I love giving gifts, cards, and coming together for parties and meditations for the new year.

I was drawn to Kathleen Tracy's book "Remembering Adelia" the first time I saw it. In glancing over it I saw that  it was a book of small quilts with patterns and diary entries written by a young woman named Adelia, set in mid-19th century.  I set it aside to read nearly a year ago. During a recent rain storm
I read the book.  It's an easy cozy read in one sitting. The diary narrative of Adelia Thomas is real. She was  a young woman living in the year 1861 in northern Illinois.

My eyes lit up and my jaw dropped by what I discovered!! I grew up and still have dear friends in the same towns  Adelia writes about in her diary. There are also original photographs of the countryside, houses and people living  there in the later part of that century.

It's unique  for this to happen when I'm reading a quilt history book. These are not historically important places today or then. I was born in Minneapolis and raised in the northwestern suburbs of Chicago until I left for collage after high school and to live out west.

Adelia lived in the town of Woodstock, IL, which I have only visited a few times, but it is the other towns that she and her family visited frequently that were my stomping grounds and may be yours too: Des Plaines, Algonquin, Elgin, St. Charles,  Chicago's Michigan Avenue and State Street, and Park Ridge, where she raised her own family years later. Oh the memories!  Dear friends and family are still there  and new memories are made there because of their children growing up in the same towns.

Although the year of diary entires is during the start of the Civil War as Adelia's male friends and family were leaving for military duty and there was change and sadness in her life, the book was a joy to read for me and I think you would also enjoy it if you like diaries of 19th century women who quilt!!

The quilts Kathleen shows are scrappy style made from reproduction fabrics. She picked patterns with significance to the time period.  The quilts are adorable ranging from doll to lap size with fourteen patchwork and two applique quilt patterns and housewif and journal cover patterns.

This is a pattern and story book of historical relevance a beginner would enjoy as much as the more advanced  quilt history enthusiast. I think it would be a lovely gift for a friend, daughter, or yourself, OR for someone who lives in Illinois.

I know there are other diary inspired quilt books with patterns, including Kathleen's first book on Prairie children quilts. If you have a favorite, please tell us about it, the title, author and what you liked about it, or what made it stand out for you. I'd like to have a list handy and I'm thinking some of you would too.

Please post your comment on the blog by clicking here http://www.quiltersspirit.blogspot.com/  and scrolling down to the comments box, or clicking on the word comments. You can read about others favorite diary books there too.

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thankful for my Dog and you!

I wish you all could smell the banana bread baking in my oven. It's my special recipe. Baking is one of the creative endeavors I have really played with this year. I like tweaking recipes, not following them.  I've baked so much, for so many people, I have acquired a reputation. They hint for more as a show of support....yeah right.  Luckily I can give away most of the results because I find it relaxing to prepare baked goods and a delightful challenge to try out new ideas through food. Waiting for the goodie to bake is tough, so I read a good book and whiff in the smells.  I bake allot this time of year, as I'm sure many of you do too.

Tonight my husband and I along with many special friends are having a Gathering of Giving Thanks and Gratitude at the spiritual center we attend. Afterward, we meet for a dessert pot luck and my bread has a place reserved for it there.

This summer we held a Pet Blessing Ceremony in the same room where I am seen holding my dog, Faith, who is hard to see because she is all black except for her gray eyebrows and snout. It was quite a scene with about 45 dogs and cats (in their carriers) coming together to be individually blessed and honored. Aren't pet people the best people- or is that quilt people? Often they are one in the same, aren't they.

Faith nearly transitioned a year ago this month. She was very sick for many months. Using Reiki, prayer, crystals, change of food, lots of sleep and supplements, I and friends were able to pull her back from the edge. Today she is a young 12 going on 3. I kid you not! She is better than before. In retrospect, and a blood test, we think she had Lyme Disease. I wouldn't take her to a veterinarian when she was sick because I believed based on the experience with my dear cat Sage, that they would have strongly suggested I put her down; saying with authority that her chances of pulling through were slim. I didn't want this in my consciousness. And they would have done a bunch of tests had I said let's try, and I didn't want to see my dog go through that.

Faith told me with her eyes, as she couldn't move or walk hardly at all, to stay with her and give her my energy and love. So I did, night and day for a long while.  I sent her energy through my hands and my mind in meditation. Friends joined me in both forms of treatment. She was all I paid attention to throughout the holidays and into 2010.  In time I got her to walk, if only a partial block. My husband lifted her everywhere else. We have lots of stairs in our home. We built ramps for her where we could and put her food up higher when she could finally stand up to eat. I fed her from my hands for months.

In late March I met a family practice veterinarian, at a training conference on non-violent communication. She was wearing a sweater that looked like a giraffe's skin. A giraffe is a character in the training, but neither she nor I knew about that when we signed up. The point in telling you this, is that it was the pattern kitted into her sweater that drew me to speak to her out of many people there. She was an answer to my prayers for medical expertise. She is now a close friend and my dog is completely healthy.

She practices a new vein of veterinary medicine, referred to as Family Practice Veterinary Services. Dr. KaLee Pasek is now teaching this approach to Vet. med students at University of  California at Davis. It's wholistic and includes the family and environment. It reminds me of my work as a psychologist, in using a systems approach to diagnosis and treatment planning.

If you haven't read the comments posted to "Do you own your first sewing machine?" click here to warm your heart or post your own experience. I loved the responses that were shared. Thank you all- your love for your first machine came through your creative heart and mind. It's amazing to me how close we hold the memory. I do of my first machine too. It was the one I bought on time payments when I was in college. It was a Viking, made in Germany. Heavy metal and all that, but it was in a case and portable. And yes, I still have it.

It is wonderful to be sharing with you through the blog and emails. Thanksgiving is the time of year to say thank you, but I am grateful every day for all the blessings in my life. Those blessings I hold closest are the relationships I have will all beings on the planet. Yep- all beings around the globe. We are all one. Namaste and Happy Thanksgiving to each of you and yours.


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Friday, November 19, 2010

Do You Own Your First Sewing Machine?

Who needs fiction when life is so amazing!  I was visiting a girlfriend's studio recently, admiring the art quilts she makes hung on the walls and stacked antique quilts stored in a tall cabinet. Along one wall were shelves and shelves of small old sewing machines. Some were made as toys, but  I was amazed to hear that most of the 30 or more on view were  not. They were made small with hand cranks in the days before electricity.  The miniature machines were a smorgasbord for my eyes and heart as I envisioned a woman using one.

Next I landed upon a metal machine that looked like the outside of an Art Deco building,  made with variegated green metal. In fact, it looked completely different from all the others. I wasn't familiar with the name stamped in the metal along the front edge.

My friend pointed toward the ground to a smallish square red sewing machine case. Oh, was it heavy to lift. I unlocked the sides, removed the top and voila, there was another one just like it, only this one was stamped Betsy Ross on the front. It wasn't a toy machine, but small for a child to use and it was electric.

She explained that when she found the machine displayed on the shelf, she was called by it looked until one day it dawned on her that it was like the machine she learned to sew on as a child  in the 1950s. Excited about the memory she searched the Internet until she located what was her machine and discovered that yes, they were exactly the same machine!

She bought the Betsy Ross machine on eBay, in perfect condition, case and all. As we looked at it, we wondered if this might actually BE her childhood machine. Stranger things have happened, right?

Then I heard a couple on the Today show this morning, who married in the 1950s and couldn't afford to buy their wedding photos. Recently the wife was searching through a 55 gallon barrel of scrap at a scrap/junk yard.  Digging through photographers scrap, when she was near the bottom she came upon THE  negatives of her marriage ceremony. Apparently the photographer had held on to them for years before tossing them and others out.

I think I'll make a mental list of what I've lost or tossed and would love to have back.  Let's see, there was a beautiful necklace from my Grandmother who wore it as a child herself that was taken by a house cleaning in the 1980s. It's funny what jumps to mind when I hear these stories.  How about you?

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

American Folk Art Museum's Super Star Quilts Opened Yesterday

Stars, some of the most important elements of the natural world, are also a beloved and enduring motif in American quilts. Stars appeared in pieced bedcovers as early as the eighteenth century and remain popular with quilt artists today. The "Super Stars" exhibit illuminates one theme in the textile masterpieces from the  American Folk Art Museum's collection that is on display in the NYC 2 Lincoln Square location  from November 16 to September 25, 2011.

Stars do not make a major appearance in American quilts until the last quarter of the eighteenth century, when they were increasingly used as a pieced field motif. This was no doubt a response, at least in part, to the design of the flag of the newly formed United States. Conceived as a “new constellation,” the canton featured white five-pointed stars against a cobalt background, evoking once again the moral certitude of the heavenly canopy, as well as the strength of America’s victory. By this time, stars were also a strong element in the neoclassical lexicon. Their presence on quilts allowed the tenets of the classical world to resonate with the new republic in a highly fashionable manner.
It was not until the turn of the nineteenth century that a single eight-pointed star moved front and center in whole-cloth quilts, usually pieced in a solid-color glazed wool known as calimanco. But with the invention of the kaleidoscope in 1816, art and science took an unanticipated and dazzling turn. Quiltmakers, especially, embraced the refracted imagery produced by the kaleidoscope. Large single stars now blazed across cotton quilt tops, pieced from multitudes of diamonds that scintillated in rings from the center to the points. Staggered rows of repeated stars danced across the surfaces of bedcovers. By the Victorian era, the aspect of stars changed once again with the influence of exotic ideas from the Near East. Star motifs were interpreted for a new age in silk, velvet, and brocade show quilts.

"Super Stars" , curated by Stacy Hollander, highlights the dazzling diversity of this variable pattern as interpreted through more than one hundred years of quilt artistry. The museum has published a book of 200 of their most significant bedcovers in their collection to coincide with the exhibit. If you can't make the exhibit, get the book;  Quilts, Masterworks from the American Folk Art Museum or give it as a gift.

 I have long pointed to the the museum's first quilt book, Glorious American Quilts,  as one of my  most prized books on the subject of quilt history. Beautifully written and photographed, it gives so much information helping me learn about the periods and influences on American quilt making.  I learned how to date quilts in part because of this book.

Given that the same author, Elizabeth V. Warren , and former curator of the museum, also authors their new book, it must be fabulous as we know more than we did in the early 1990s when Glorious was written (published in 1996). Also the museum has added about 100 bedcovers to its collection, including a  late 18th century patchwork quilt made with the Hewson panel in the center.  And yes,  it will also be on display for a time during their Year of the Quilt, in the Masterworks Quilts exhibits. (more on that in another blog post.)

Quilts: Masterworks from the American Folk Art Museum  By Elizabeth V. Warren, with a preface by Maria Ann Conelli, a foreword by Martha Stewart, and an introduction by Stacy C. Hollander. New York: Rizzoli International Publications in association with the American Folk Art Museum, 2010. 336 pages.

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Friday, November 12, 2010

Quilts Embellished with Poems, Words, Messages

I find myself dating quilts for people today, some of which are filled with signatures, others with a single name. All tell a story. As I search through my library to gather more information for them, I see the beautiful synergy of words and fabric coming together. Here are a few links for your enjoyment too.
Funny thing happened when I was sitting on my studio floor flipping through the books. My eyes caught a glisten of color against the carpet. My eyes followed it until I realized it was a lone thread that had fallen from the sewing table. So I bent forward to picked it up only to see that the thread was still coming up as I settled back down in the Indian style posture. What?

Thread was actually strewn and tossed all across the floor! The kitty had knock it off the table and pushed it all over until finally it went too far under the couch for him to reach. I quickly scanned for more deconstruction, as there were at least 15 spools of thread and 5 bobbins by the machine. I was grateful to see that he had tired after chasing just this one!

Thank you to everyone who has written me since I posted this week and sent wonderful message and shared their sense of sisterhood with the poems Delaine and I wrote. You bring joy to my heart. And to you I write this itty bitty poetry-

Piece for Peace
Live to Love
Shine your Light
for all to see
The beauty in thee

Keep the poetry and comments coming. Soon I'll post a scrappy "landscape with  stormy sky" I recently made.


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Monday, November 8, 2010

Another Closet Poet Quilter

Delaine sent her poem "Into My Journal" in response to my post yesterday. She writes- "Kim, writing has opened my heart to myself, I did not start writing until I was very ill with Chronic Fatigue, I attended a writing for healing group and the doors opened and I feel it was the beginning of my returning to a normal life."

                           Into My Journal
As I open my journal, I step into a secluded windowless cabin.
I shut the door and the world falls away
Light from the outside shines through tiny cracks
This room can be very shadowy, sometimes it’s cold and damp
This is my inner place I have to light the fire
I carry the wood and bank the flames.
I am the keeper of the fire; I must illuminate the space.
If the room is to be warm I must do the work.
I kindle the warm glow of memories to light my way.
The hard emotional times are found deep within
I keep those memories concealed in the dark corners.
I  enjoy the silence and feel sheltered in my cabin.
In my journal I find the freedom to explore my inner fears.
I can take the candle to the dark corners only if I choose.
Yes there are times I will do just that.
With pen in hand I start a fire that draws me in
I seek understanding as my memories warm the room
My journal is a private place where I go to warm my soul.
I love your use of  fire as an analogy for insight journaling. Bringing light to the darkness, within and without is so important. Thank you for sharing your poetry Delaine.

Delaine Gately also designed the cover of  Changing times: Women's Stories  and her winning story Mattie's Quilt was included inside along with another story she wrote titled The Little Box.

If you haven't tried to write poetry- the secret is to not try, but just free-flow write on a theme that you feel inspired by such as something said, felt or seen. Keep the sentences short, chunk them into stanzas afterward, and there is no need to rhythm.  If it's possible, write when the inspiration hits, as fast and quickly as you can. Your creative neurochemicals' spark is on your side for a short time, so grab it while it's hot. You can go back over it later. Inspiration is everywhere. I'm often grabbed by what someone says or buy a celebration, happy or sad, big or private.

And, of course, keep your poems coming, or post them yourself. I have others I will share if you would like that. Let me know dear readers.

Here is a little reminder about how to post a comment so that others can be a part of a discussion. There doesn't seem to be a way to comment directly from the Feedburner post sent to subscribers. It seems you must be on the Blogger page itself.  So if you click on the colored title of the emailed post you will be taken to the Blogger page it is on  and you will find the comment section at the end of the post.

If someone knows how I can make it possible to comment from the subscriber post, please get in touch with me.



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Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Women's Conference, in Long Beach CA

Hello Dear Quilters!

It's been a long while since I posted to this blog. Only wonderful things have happened. I set an intention not quite 2 years ago to bring my right brain into power and creative action. What I wanted and envisioned was for my right abstract non-language, non-rational side to mingle balanced with the left or dominate at times over my left brain. I love my left brain but I wanted my right brain to contribute in an expanded way, all the time, always a part of my experience and my expression whatever that may be.

I stretched myself, climbed over boundaries and self-imposed hurdles. I  studied and pondered creative processing from a neurochemical POV, a spiritual perspective and reason for being important,  and I practiced dreaming  bigger. Most important I believe, is that I  mediated., regularly and will for the rest of my life. In a group, alone, in silence, in guided meditations, sitting, walking, writing, in service to humanity or for my personal growth.

My intention has become a daily truth and experience for me. I love it! It's natural now to use the right side of my brain, seeing creatively, acting creatively, flowing with it, and expressing it in a myriad of ways. Life is a creative expression when not resisted or twisted.

One of many unexpected creative expressions that has come forth from me  is poetry. It just started flowing out during journaling sessions following silent meditation. The poem  elow came forth, essentially as is,  after attending the Women's Conference, which is put on annually by the wife of the current governor of California. Maria Shriver has produced and designed the conference for the last 7 years, and this was her last. We have term limits here so Arnold's term  will be done in December.

Maria  and her female team put on the most inspirational, loving, informative, joyful and exhilarating conference this year as her final good-bye. Lucky for everyone, it's available free in video on their website. http://www.womensconference.org/. I urge you to watch Eve's (from the Vagina Monologues) and Maria's if you only have time for two. Both are on the Main Event Day on the website. Michelle Obama, Jill Biden, Oprah Winfrey, and Minerva Award Winners are excellent inspiring presentations as well as educative.All of them presented during the Main Event and Minerva Awards ceremony.

Here is the poem  I wrote:  Minerva's:Architects of Change

BE the change you want to see
I listen as this phrase calls out to me
Again and again I hear the words
As I've not yet risen above the herds

Purpose, passion, fearless ambition,
Discipline, leadership, inspired vision
Invoking these qualities for me and others
All of humanity; my sisters and brothers

Hear their desires, their cries and whispers
See their need, sense their hopes and inner stirs
Dream as big as the moon, the stars and sun
For changes I make will affect everyone

Notice the dark hidden places
See the pain in their faces
Hear the silence and feel the spaciousness
Rise to my own uniqueness

It's time, Maria Shriver is saying
For women who are full-out playing
As architects of change
In communities across the range

The challenge is to find
Minerva within your mind
Then pass it on
Through many lives in time
Many faces and designs
Women pass it on in kind
Through their bodies, hands, hearts and minds,
As the architects of change

Written by Kimberly Wulfert, October 26, 2010 at the close of The Women's Conference held in Long Beach, CA

Are you a closet poet too? If want to share one of your poems in the comment box- please do. Tell us how you write poetry? What inspires you? Share your thoughts with me on anything I've said. We are all one afterall.

Piece, and blessings,
http://quiltersspirit.blogspot.com/  Spread the word

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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Ruby McKim's State Flower Embroidery Blocks

In July 2008 I posted about some unique (to my eye) and beautiful embroidered state flower vintage blocks that were shown during a workshop I just taught, maker unknown. Soon after, as synchronicity would have it, I came across a quilt of them and found out it was Ruby McKim's state flower blocks. I asked for the readers input. and this post likely has more comments on it than any other. Ruby McKim was great and powerful ! Pigeon-holing her to any one look is a mistake.

The versatility of her designs is amazing and admirable. It is not automatic when I see unknown designs to think of her and it's a pleasure when I hear she was the designer. Wouldn't you have loved to spend time with Ruby in person, learn from her, be a student in her design classes?

Today I received more info as a comment worthy of posting here too and revisiting the other post. The original post about the quilt blocks is linked here and shows pictures, and the comment is from Juanita Moore. She writes:

Juanita Moore has left a new comment on your post "State Flower Embroidery Quilt Blocks Mystery Solve...": Ruby Short McKim was from Illinois and lived in Independence, Missouri most of her life after training at the New York City Parson School of Fine Arts.

McKim became known for her pieced quilt art-deco like designs, which she had prepared in simple lines for machine sewing, according to the History for the Heart Quilt Paths Across Illinois record of the Illinois Quilt Research Project, a book written by E. Duane Elbert and Rachel Kamm Elbert, and published in 1993 by Land of Lincoln Quilters Association.

The embroidered state flower designs were first published by the Illinois State Journal in Springfield, and released Sunday by Sunday to prepare for a contest at the end. There was both a local and a national contest. What a great way to sell newspapers!

Ruby also did newspaper columns on quilts, and ran a studio from which women ordered her patterns. You could get just a pattern for 20 cents and the whole Oriental Poppy pattern with cut-out fabric to piece for $4.50 God Bless!

Today you can find Ruby's patterns for sale here, but don't count on those same prices!
http://www.patchwork-quilt-patterns.com/ This site has the McKim 48 patterns available.

Thank you to all of the readers who submitted comments. it so much more fun when there is a dialogue on my blogs. I have returned to my professional life as a psychologist and I am loving it. I use meditation, mindfulness practices for stress reduction and pain relief and the new ways of talking and relating that help develop integration in the client's brain. These are well documented forms of therapy today that simply weren't known or known to be effective when I was practicing in the 1980s and 1990s. So it is my pleasure to be in the field again.

That said, my love of quilts and history, and talking with other quilters via my blog, is still alive and well, but a much smaller part of my life. When we do connect like this, it's pure pleasure, Thank you all for being there.

Namaste and many blessings, fabric and otherwise,


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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Creativity Breeds Creativity

opticalillusion I'd like to share my pictures set to music montage with you!  It starts to play as the window opens so scroll down quickly to see it! The cover picture is one I find compelling to look at, so take a moment now to look at it here. It fits the song.

There are two small quilts I made in the montage, my cat, and a Rose Parade float detail (bet you can't tell which one it is!)but most of it is photos I've taken of the nature surrounding my home here in Ojai. The song is by a young man who has written a meaningful and soothing song called "Life is Wonderful" and I credit him in the montage itself.

I liked the song  so much when I heard it, it lwallhangings fall 06 cont 001ed me to build the montage, as I listened to it over and over again. The song inspired me. Creativity flows from one sense to another, from one expression to another, if you let it.

I've not made a montage before and this service  gave us very limited choices, such as how long a picture stayed in view or shifted out was not my decision. This meant that where the photos landed in the song also wasn't my choice, just the order of their appearance was my decision.

This process reminded me to making a quilt in the stack and slash style - you don't know what you get until you're done. I could harp on how I wish it were different, but I am focusing instead on how many times a slide fit the music and how fun the whole thing was to make.

I also like the fact that it IS done. Finally a finished project in a few hours. Now that's creativity at it's finest!

Next I am going to post some more quilts from the exhibit at the Jen Jones Welsh Quilt Center on Women On Quilts blog http://womenonquilts.blogspot.com

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Welsh Quilts on exhibit at the Jen Jones Welsh Quilt Center


The _0011729Welsh Flannel geometric patchworks were the focus of the inaugural exhibition at The Jen Jones welsh Quilt Centre. They are thrilled that, at last these wonderful artifacts have become universally recognized.






Welsch pieced and wool qlts 

Opening March 6th 2010

Their new exhibition, 'Unsung Heritage: The Quilts Of Wales'  will be a further revelation in terms of the enormous spectrum within the Welsh quilting tradition.

Thpaisley panel quiltey will feature the fiery reds including red paisleys and paisley shawl quilts.








Alongside these will hang the contrasting and diverse cotton patchworks and whole cloths that represent a major portion of the output during the 19th and early 20th century.

Early Cotton patchwork Merthyr Tydfil C1840

Early Cotton patchwork Merthyr Tydfil C1840

 Email quilts@jen-jones.com


My thoughts:

There is joy in viewing Welsh quilts due to the simplicity of the patterns, the contrast of the fabrics and a WOW in the incredible stitched quilting patterns. Welsh quilter's seem to bring the art of quilting (stitches) to the forefront of their work and of the times.

They share quilt styles with the English, and wool contrasting concepts with the Amish, but the quilting, it stands alone, in an outstanding way from most quilts through time. Our American made whole cloth wool quilts, or  are the closest quilts I know with ornate quilting. French made quilts have stuffed quilting with ornate designs, but they mostly favored channel quilting, or straight lines and angled quilting, not the swirls that are common on Welsh and fancy wool whole cloth  quilts.

If any of you visit the exhibit, please let us know more about it. We'd love to hear. You can email me, or leave comments.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

American Quilts in a British Museum, New Book Shows Them to US!

Classic Quilts from The American Museum in Britain written by the curators of this wonderful museum in Bath England,  Laura Beresford and Katherine Hebert.

It was Katherine who contacted me earlier this summer, 2009, about the eagle quilt kit pictured in an article about eagle quilts that she had come across on my Antique Quilt Dating Guides website. I introduced her 9by email) to Madge Zeigler  owner of the kit, including the original packaging. The kit is by Paragon, titled American Eagle Quilt. It was first advertised in Woman's Day in the mid-1950s.

Katherine was about to put this book to bed when she saw this kit quilt and knew it looked like the one in Bath. The date-  '63 -is embroidered on the museum's quilt and due to the Federal period symbolism of the eagle in America, and the thirteen stars, swags and pots with flowers situated around its central placement. So they estimated it was likely made in 1763 or 1863, but frustratingly they couldn't say for certain. (How many of us have felt that feeling when it comes quilts we later find out were kits?)

She was thrilled to be able to validate that her quilt was indeed made with a Paragon Kit too, thanks to Madge's help of many pictures and the instructions.

In the book on pages 70-1 you will see stunning photography of the kit quilt and that the one in their collection was made in 1963. They write that this quilt pattern was based on a chintz version made in 1795. How fun is that!

Now I'll tell you a bit about the rest of the Classic Quilts book, but I know you will want it on your self if you love antique quilts.

There are very large detail photographs, including full page detail photos, as well as full views of the quilts. Quilting pattern and fabric prints are easily seen.

Sheila Betterton, formerly the textile and needlework specialist for the museum and largely responsible for getting this collection going at the America Museum, wrote the preface in 2008. Sadly, she passed away that same year. She began as a volunteer at the Museum in 1963. The book is dedicated to her.

BOOKcover02-v2 The book begins with the history of the Museum coming to be and who do you think influenced the founders Dr. Dallas Pratt and John Judkyn? None other than our own wonderwoman of quilts, Electra Havenmeyer Webb, who founded and filled The Shelburne Museum in Vermont. It's a small world. The chapter includes an overview of the development of textiles and quilts in America. From here to the end of the book, nearly every page has photographs.

The quilts shown include a wool whole cloth, wool applique, pieced chintz, appliqués of every type and era, Amish, BAQ (looks very much like on held in the Maryland Museum of Art's BAQ collection), signature quilts, presentation album quilt, a 1848 hexagon quilt with inked centers in the typical GFG rosette pattern, and many more truly gorgeous quilts totaling fifty-five.

Two of them may be expressing sentiments of the Temperance movement. One is a red and white Drunkard's Path which they titled as Robbing Peter to Pay Paul, made by a Congregational church in Oriskany Falls, NY. c. 1889. The other is the Tumbler pattern, appliqued in red on a white block on point set with alternate red blocks on point. It was made in Texas, c. 1860 at  Mimosa Hall Plantation in Marshall. They refer to it as The Chalice Quilt. The back is machine quilted and the quilting hand pattern is the fan or elbow stitch.  The size is 87"X75".

It is here that you may want to close your eyes as a brief rundown of the Underground Railroad quilt myth is described. They also mention the ongoing disagreement about the validity of the concept followed by this- "Although the decoration of this quilt does not conceal codes for the railroad's conductor's, it none the less contains a hidden message. The repeated motif of the chalice represents not only the bishop but also, more importantly, the freedom of a better world to come, after a life of blood and suffering." This was new to me. You?

The next page shows the Harrison log cabin and cider barrel toile that was used on the back of a chintz quilt. It is the biggest and best photograph of that monochrome I have ever seen in a book.

I highly recommend Classic Quilts from the American Museum in Britain The quilts chosen for the book clearly represent American styles and the true nature of our history of quilt making is evident. Many of the quilts are like those seen in our museums and books. It's really quite fun to read what they say. The pride they feel matches ours. It's all good.

Classic American Quilts will be on exhibit at the museum in Bath in 2010, 13 March – 31 October 2010


The American Museum in Britain
Claverton Manor
Bath.  BA2 7BD
Tel: 01225 460503 - Fax: 01225 469160

Reminder- this Thursday, Dec. 10, is my free telecasts on the Introduction to my workshop in January 2010 - 4 Ways to Access Your Guidance Within and the Bigger Vision for Your Life. Get call-in info here. 
(Scroll down to the box, fill in your name and email and the phone number and code will be sent in a few minutes. Check your spam file if you don't see it shortly.)

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Open to your Creativity in my new Online Class- free Intro call this Thursday

I welcome you to join the Circle of Evolving Women to learn 4 WAYS TO ACCESS GUIDANCE WITHIN YOURSELF AND THE BIGGER VISION FOR YOUR LIFE.

Circle One- this Thursday, Dec.. 10, 5 PM Pacific, free introduction to the workshop series beginning in Jan. 2010. I'll explain the workshop, answer your questions, and I will give you a brief overview of my story of the last few years that led to the realization of these methods being the best way to find my life's meaning and living it each day totally alive in it, creatively, focused and joyful. You will be able to tell if this may be what you've been (perhaps unknowingly) wanting to have.

Circle Two: Mindfulness -
Define it and why you want it,
How leaders, teachers and other's experiences of it mean to their life,
How mindfulness accesses synchronicity and creativity to deepen your daily life
Experience it
Get tips on how to practice mindfulness during the week

Circle Three:  Meditation -
What is meditation
Effect on you physically/medical, psychologically/relaxation and spiritually/ connection to inner guidance/Source
Some ancient but still used methods described briefly
The simple steps to starting your own meditation practice, I.e. frequency, position, length of time
Experience a short guided meditation from my favorite teacher and share time.

Circle Four:  Journaling -
Defining it as I use it here for connection to inner guidance and moving forward
Describe several methods to use in various situations
How to set up your journaling practice
Experience the journaling process and share time

Circle Five:  Using Your Dreams -
Why bother to record and pay attention to your dreams
Learn an easy and grounded way to interpret them for yourself every time
Demonstrations of interpretation with this method using your recent dreams
How to set up your dream practice

Circle Six:  Intuition Flourishes
From there to here, looking at you from this new perspective,
Wrapping up your thoughts and remaining questions
Your next steps for moving on from here & facilitating the flourishing of your intuition

Optional Individual Circle -
To help you individually with your Evolving Women's Circle process, one private hour with me is available to you during the 5 weeks up to 2 weeks after it ends.

Please join me. For details and to get call-in information, http://tinyurl.com/yznl6tw  Start the new year off with an inner knowing that takes you where you can go. It's bigger and better than you are thinking it is now.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

NEW Signature Quilt Database is online now at The Quilt Index & Quilt and Antique Sewing Machine links you'll want to check out

I hope your thanksgiving was a blessed and joyful one with family, friends and quilts to keep you feeling good. The end of this fabulous year is nearly here. I have some opportunities coming to you in 2010 if you want to intensify the good in your life and live it to the fullest.

I've placed some links you might want to check out for your quilting pleasure below the fabulous news of the Signature Quilt database now online at The Quilt Index! WE thank you so much!

As you may have heard, the Quilt Index recently launched its expanded website, with more quilts, a new look, and new zoom and comparison tools.

One of the most compelling components of the expansion is the Signature Quilt Project (SQP). In all, 61 signature quilts were uploaded to the Index, surpassing our goal. In addition, QI staff identified more than 2,000 signature quilts that had already been added to the Index by contributing institutions.

They were categorized into themes for easy navigation-

The Beginnings of Signature Quilts: The 1840s Signature Quilts: Friendship and Family Signature Quilts and Westward Expansion The Golden Age of Signature Quilts, 1876-1910 Redwork Signature Quilts Community, Club, and Church: Public Signature Quilts Contemporary Signature Quilts Love to Wini: Signature Quilts for Healing and Comfort

You can find the Signature Quilt Project at http://www.quiltindex.org/signaturequiltproject.php. Here, you?ll find an essay, ?Researching Signature Quilts,? by Amanda Sikarskie, Marsha MacDowell, Karen Alexander and Nancy Hornback, a bibliography of recommended reading on signature quilts, and eight curated galleries that group the SQP public submission quilts thematically:

We have also created a special search page for signature quilts at http://www.quiltindex.org/signaturesearch.php. You can quickly browse all of the SQP public submission quilts by following the links.

We invite you to try using the Quilt Index?s new zoom tool with the signature quilts. A good one to try (because of the large file size of the original image) is the Jamestown First Baptist Church Quilt, contributed by Jane Evans Leonard, http://www.quiltindex.org/basicdisplaynew.php?kid=4-15-5C.

An interview with Merikay Waldvogel on Collector's Weekly, http://www.collectorsweekly.com/articles/the-history-of-american-quiltmaking-an-interview-with-merikay-waldvogel-part-one/

I'm also including a link to our quilts page in case you haven't seen it:http://www.collectorsweekly.com/folk-art/quilts

Here's a clue to the last link I'll send today.

- September 25th, 2009 at 6:12 pm Lisa Said:
"I just listened to episode 2 and I wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed it. I have never heard an interview quite like this on any quilting podcast. I loved hearing about quilting from a psychologist’s perspective. Quilting really does have healing powers!
Keep up the good work!"

This podcast interview was done by Marceli Botticelli, a mother, wife and an architect in Boston, who also loves quilt making and antique Singer sewing machines and their history. She requested an interview with me in the summer and was a joy. her lovely accent may fool you a bit. She is from Brazil originally but has lived all over. i was honored to be her first interview for this new blog.

http://wholelottasinger.blip.tv/posts?view=archive&nsfw=dc has episode 1 & 2 in blip TV or go to her blog http://wholelottasinger.wordpress.com/

That's all for now. Wish you each a pieceful week. I have some yummy DVD and Book reviews for you coming up and the other stuff I mentioned at the top. Love you all! Kim

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Thursday, November 5, 2009

Quilts and quilted items sewn in Nigeria to benefit orphans & women

Hi All,

As we move into the gift-giving season, I wanted to let you know about a non-profit organization that could fill allot of your quilting gift needs and help women suffering HIV/Aids. "Women of Hope is a dynamic sewing program that provides income for women and orphans infescted with HIV/AID. We believe in equipping women with skills so they can support their families." Your purchase will support them.

If you want to go straight there, here's the website- www.womenofhopecreations.com and blog

I receive a snailmail newsletter from the Mashiah Foundation in Jos, Nigeria and this one came with a full color brocheur of quilts and quilted items made in Nigeria. The items include David and Sarah Dolls dressed in typical Nigerian attire, fabric (prairiepoint)trivets, table runners, oven mitts, aprons, gift bags, yoyo bags (purses), notecards, cards with fabric on them, and of course pieced quilts for bed and walls.

Remember that next Wednesday, 11/11/09 my guest on Women On Quilts' tele-interview is Andi Reynold's, Executive Editor of America Quilter's Society. To get the phone number and details go to http://womenonquilts.blogspot.com

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