Join us Monday evening, Sept. 21, when Andi Reynold's is my guest on Women On Quilts, with open lines for your questions. For much more info about Andi and the call in number go to Women On Quilts. Tell your friends about and gather around your phone (It's Andi's Birthday!!! No charge for girl's night out)
MASTER PIECES: Haberdashery Textiles in Antique Quilts. Curated by Laura Fischer at NEQM NOW until Nov. 15 in Lowell, MA
The antique quilts on exhibit are made of menswear fabrics recycled from suits and shirts, neckties, pajamas, military uniforms, work clothes—even woolen underwear and socks. Some also resulted from the artful salvage of menswear swatch sample books and fabric mill remnants.The tradition of making unique, often very personal quilts from repurposed menswear textiles gained popularity around 1850, and lasted through the 1950s. The quilt below is made from their vests and hatbands.
The 40 quilts made from menswear, much of it recycled clothing, are intriguing, graphic works made from simple utilitarian fabrics long overlooked in the study of antique quilts. Popular for about a century, these quilts are compelling and often whimsical. Simple squares arranged in a diagonal pattern prove on close inspection to be made from scraps of patterned jersey socks.
A shimmering kaleidoscope of diamonds in rust reds and yellows is pieced from 1950s neckties. Thin lines going in every direction look like a contemporary drawing are actually random scraps in a c. 1915 crazy quilt pieced of fine, striped silk shirting.
The narrow serpentine strips in the blocks of a 1905 Amish quilt are cuttings from woolen long johns. Bright, dimensional flowers are embroidered on a century-old, unlikely foundation of tailor's wool suiting swatches, as are a flock of vividly colored birds on branches.
The quilt on the left is made from suiting material.
The guest curator for the exhibit is noted antiques dealer and author Laura Fisher of FISHER HERITAGE in New York City.In addition to the quilts themselves, the exhibit will feature historic advertisements, swatch books, and catalogs from menswear companies, dating from the 1880s through the 1950s, including several items from the vaults of Brooks Brothers, the chief sponsor of the exhibition.
Today, the tradition revives in memory quilts made from old T-shirts and clothing that has personal sentiment. Recycling these materials is now considered environmentally aware, adding further appeal to their inherent design potential. Contact the New England Quilt Museum for programs and more info. Photos courtesy of Laura Fisher
For Andi Reynolds interview info go here. It's happening this Monday evening, 5 PM Pacific, 7 Central, 8 Eastern.