Archive for August, 2016

Mike Tschebull on Zeikhur Caucasian Rugs

Posted in Uncategorized on August 24, 2016 by rjohn

On April 9, 2016, “Mike” Tschebull gave a Rug and Textile Appreciation Morning program on Zeikhur Caucasian rugs, here at The Textile Museum, in Washington, D.C.

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Mike, many readers will know, is a long-time student of Caucasian weaving. 

His early classic “Kazak” exhibition catalog is still referenced usefully.  He has written for what was once the Oriental Rug Review and has written, early, and on a continuing basis, for Hali. 

He has been active in the New England Rug Society and in 2004 curated an exhibition on transport and storage bags, entitled “To Have and To Hold.” (see link at the end of this post). 

Mike has lectured to a number of textile groups and at conferences, here and abroad, and has previously given a number of Rug and Textile Appreciation Morning programs here at the TM (again see links at the end).

Here is the description of Mike’s session in the Textile Museum announcement:

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“Zeikhur” rugs from the NE Transcaucasus have a very distinctive structure, plus complex and varied designs – taken from embroideries, other textiles, tiles, and large carpet designs.  Zeikhur indicators include a blue and ivory “running dog” border and tone-on-tone reds. Sumak Zeikhurs are fairly common. Slit-tapestry weaves and bags are not easy to identify.

Mike’s program consisted of a short lecture and then a number of rugs in the Zeikhur group that we had arranged to have brought in.

Here is his lecture.

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Mike started with this map.

Slide 2

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Slide 2: The Zeikhur weaving area is in the foothills of the Caucasus mountain chain, about 30 km north of the city of Quba, at an altitude where livestock raising would have been common. See the map detail in slide 3, colored in tan. The best known villages in the weaving area are Zeikhur and Alpan, but there were several others. The weaving area is spelled in English variously as Zeikhur and Zeykhur, but not “Seychour” or some version of that. The latter spelling is a German transliteration of the Turkic name. Old rugs from nearby Quba are a bit different, separated from Zeikhurs in time and space, which would not have been unusual in an era when transportation would have been by mule or donkey, and 30 km over rough paths and ravines would have taken a long time.

Here is a closer look at the map on the left (click image two or three times to get an even larger version)

Slide 2 left

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The red and blue arrows in Slide 2 right point to the area of interest and Slide 3 gives a closer detail (click on all of these images to get somewhat larger versions).

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And here is a detail that makes the specific areas of interest visible and readable.

Slide 3

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Slide 3: The map and village locations are from a friend in Baku, whose local knowledge is very much appreciated.

Ed:  In our treatment of the following rugs, we will begin with two rugs shown side by side.  This permits direct comparison.  Click two or three times on these two-rug slides to get a somewhat larger image.

Larger versions of the two rug shown in the two-rug comparisons are also repeated below it for ease of viewing.

Slide 4

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Slide 4: Reviewing three of the most interesting Zeikhur field patterns and their origins, the first is fairly easy to unravel.

It is a vase design derived from an Indo-Persian tradition, probably brought to the Transcaucasus from India by about 1800 via printed, painted and resist dyed cotton textiles like the example, right, that were imported into Baku.

The Zeichur rug, left, with a bisymmetrical design, has a woven date which is the equivalent of 1860.  The rug is a good dated example of how high the quality of dyes was when it was woven.

Here is a somewhat larger image of Slide 4 left.

Slide 4 left

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Slide 4 right

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Slide 4 right: Textile catalogued as from Burhanpor. Note that the highly stylized floral arrangement in the rug approximates that in the textile.

Slide 5

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Slide 5: The second Zeikhur field pattern, sometimes called the “Bijov”, probably a Russian corruption of the name of a nearby village called Bijo, has a long complex history.

The ascending design of three columns of palmettes with clasping leaves in the Zeikhur rug, left, seems to have started out on a group of 16th century Ottoman silk and metal thread textiles, sometimes used for kaftans.

The Ottoman design is fairly clearly tulip flowers with clasping leaves, all within an ogival lattice. In later versions, the lattice can fall away.

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Slide 5 right

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Slide 6

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Slide 6: Left, a Bijov Zeikhur with a border made up of rose forms, likely either due to Qajar or Russian influence.

Right, Ottoman kaftan back with tulip form, now palmette-like and the clasping leaves much larger. No more lattice. Stylization is not always linear.

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Slide 7

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Slide 7:  Zeikhur Bijov rug, left.

Anatolian pile rug, right, probably 18th century, with exaggerated clasping leaves and palmettes on stems. An example of further stylization, probably in a village context.

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Slide 7 right

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Slide 7 Right: The single column of ornaments fits well in a small format when the weaving technique is coarse.  May be a yastic.

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Slide 8

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Slide 8: Zeikhur Bijov, left, Anatolian pile rug, right, probably 18th-19th century.

In the right hand example, the single column design from previous slides has morphed into a three column repeat, at least in part because of the larger format. The clasping leaves are further stylized. A stiff version of the Ottoman textile lattice has reappeared.

The basic three column version of this design for pile rugs has been established.

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Slide 8 left

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Slide 8 right

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Slide 9

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Slide 9: Left, a “Shirvan” rug, 19th century, with a field design based on “Bijov”, but a bit different.

Right, partial view, Zeikhur Bijov.

The same village rug designs  were interpreted differently in different parts of the Transcaucasus.

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Slide 10

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Slide 10.  Another version of the Ottoman original.

Detail from a Shirvan “shield” rug, left, probably 19th century. The “shields” are pretty clearly a stop on a path of continued stylization of the tulip design. Clasping leaves are almost unrecognizable.

Right, the same design, probably late 19th century, photographed in a mosque in Zakatal, in the NE Transcaucasus.

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Slide 11

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Slide 11: Inwoven dates: left, 1202/1787, the earliest dated Zeikhur Bijov (see top of the larger Slide 11 left image below). But is the date accurate? It doesn’t look like it has been fiddled with, but the rug could easily have been woven at a later date.

Right, Bijov palmette detail with date, 1297/1879 plus an unreadable inscription. From dated examples, it is clear that some real good rugs and kilims were woven late, but generally, earlier times meant better weavings, especially when dye use/color sensitivity is considered.

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Slide 12

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Slide 12: The third Zeikhur field design of interest is based on a tile design, probably originally unglazed floor tiles, as in the right hand slide (two large images below).

The orientation of the slide helps make clear the comparison of the long hexagonal tiles to the diagonal cartouches in the rug, left; the repeat medallions in the rug are represented by the diamond-shaped tiles.

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Details of Slide 12 right

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Slide 13

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Slide 13:  The tile design is to be seen in Isfahan, on vertical columns. But is picked up in the Transcaucasus on silk embroideries, see right hand example.

All the rug elements are present in the embroideries, just that the rugs have more straight lines, reflecting structural limitations. The claw-like elements on the ends of the diagonal cartouches are more complex and curvy in the embroidery.  

Zeikhur rugs and the embroideries were likely produced in the same region, and probably had some time overlap, but the embroideries are generally considered to have been earlier.

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Slide 13 left: This fragmented rug has a bottom border sewn on, which was taken from a later piece with some synthetic dyes; the rug has less disciplined drawing than the previous example. This may reflect age, or maybe not.

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Slide 13 right

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Slide 13 right: Sinuous lines are made possible in fine embroidery.

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Slide 14

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Slide 14: Tile design Zeikhurs rarely have multiple columns of ornaments. This old somewhat battered example on the left, is Transcaucasian, or from NW Iran.

It apes a slightly different embroidery style on the right.

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Slide 15

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Slide 15: Zeikhur weavers also produced floral and sometimes quite abstract designs, on the left, probably at first for a Russian market.

Stylized roses on the right were a favorite.

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Slide 16

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Slide 16: The reasonably reliable identifier for Zeikhur weaving is the pair of borders, left, especially the two-toned inner one. It seems likely that border conventions changed over time.

The inner border concept may be derived from the type of rug seen, right. 

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 Slide 16 right

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Slide 17

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Slide 17: There are contemporary versions of old rugs, like this Bijov, woven in the Caucasus with handspun local wool and natural dyes.

They are based on existing rugs. Is a good reproduction as interesting as an original?

It depends on the buyer.

(This is the end of Mike’s illustrated lecture.)

We had arranged for a number of rugs in the Zeikhur group to be brought in and Mike moved to treat them next.

(Click three times on images below to get a larger version)

(Identifying numbers are not always consecutive)

BI1

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Comment on BI1: Zeikhur cross design rug, meant to be a repeat design. Charlie Ellis thought the design was Ukrainian in origin. The floral borders are not traditional, probably as a result of export market demand.

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Details of BI1:

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BI1c

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BI2

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Comment on BI2: Cross design with traditional borders. Sometimes these rugs have ivory fields.

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Details of BI2:

BI2a

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BI2c

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BI3

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Comment on BI3: An unusual cross design rug with end borders with different background color.

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Details of BI3:

BI3a

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BI3b

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BI3c

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BI4: The lion may be European origin, but also exists in ME art.

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Comment on BI4: A short vase design rug. It looks almost like a sampler.

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Details of BI4.

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BI5

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Comment on BI5:  An unusual field design for a Zeikhur. The border on green is rare and quite sophisticated.

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Details of BI15:

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BI6

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Comment on BI6:  Standard Zeikhur borders, but with unusual dark wool warps and dense structure. Field design is taken from a class of Transcaucasian kilims.

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Details of BI6.

BI6a

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BI4a*

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BI6

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Comments on BI6:  Palmette design on dark brown, which is almost all corroded away. The field design is taken from large carpets, but simplified.

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Details of BI6:

BI6a

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BI15e*

BI6b

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BI15f*

BI6c

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BI6d

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BI7 Finishes are intact, colored pile is unworn, which shows the power of dark brown dye corrosion.

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Comments on BI7:  Treated in lecture above.

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Details of BI7:

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BI7a

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BI16a*

BI7b

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BI16d*

BI7c

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BI7d

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BI8

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Comment on BI8: Treated in lecture above.

Details of BI8:

BI8a

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BI14a*

BI8b

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BI14d*

BI8c

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BI14c*

 

B19

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Comment on BI9:  Apparent older tile design rug with design elements looking closer in style to embroideries, but old style does not always mean the rug is older.

Details of BI9.

BI9a

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BI9b Note partial intact end finish

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BI9c

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BI10

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Comment on BI10: Zeikhur tile design with palmettes introduced. These weavers could often could innovate.

Details of BI1o.

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BI10b

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BI10c

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BI11

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Comment on BI11:   Fragment of a tile design rug, with strong color but one synthetic, which helps date it.

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Details on B11.

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BI22a*

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BI14

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Comment on BI14:  Fragment of a European inspired field design, but with some local design input.

Details of BI14.

BI14a

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BI14b

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BI14c

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BI15

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Comments on BI15:  Zeikhur-like rug with sumak bag-derived field design

Details of BI15.

BI15a

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BI15b

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BI15c

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BI16

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Comment on BI16:  European market design called “French Rose” in translation. Reflects market demand for these weavers.

Details of BI16:

BI16a

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BI16b

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BI16c

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BI17

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Comments on BI17:  May be a Zeikhur, with an unusual field design.

Details on BI17.

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BI17c

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BI18

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Comment on BI18:  Typical Quba with mini ascending palmettes. Joe McMullan had a similar rug in his collection that is dated the equivalent of 1856.

Details on BI18.

BI18a

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BI18b

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BI18c

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BI19

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Comment on BI19:  Zeikhur cross rug. This was a very popular style in this weaving area.

Details of BI19.

BI19a

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BI19b

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BI19c

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BI20

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Comment on BI20:  Diamond-shaped forms. May be from a bit further north than Zeikhur.

 

Details on BI20.

BI20a

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BI20b

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BI20c

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BI21

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Comment on BI21:  Bijov in a short format. A very stable design, surprising because it is so complex.

Details on BI21.

BI21a

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BI21b

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BI21c

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BI22

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Comment on B22:  Another Zeikhur rug design that can be traced clearly to an embroidery pattern.

Details of B22.

B22a

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B22b

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B22c

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B22d

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A last rug was a little off-topic, but too good not to treat.

BI12

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Comment on BI12:  Terrific Persian Herati design Shirvan. Note that the border varies from the original Persian workshop model. Probably this rug was woven under controlled conditions. 

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Details of BI12.

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BI12d

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Mike took questions

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and adjourned his program.  The usual movement to the front of the room began.

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Mike has been interested in and investigating Zeikhur rugs for a long time.  He wrote a very substantial article on them in 1992 in Hali, 62, pp. 84-95.  It’s worth looking at. 

At the beginning, I also mentioned Mike’s curating of a New England Rug Society exhibition “To Have and to Hold.”  You can enjoy an on-line version of this exhibition using this link: http://ne-rugsociety.org/gallery/bags/index.htm

I want to thank Mike for designing and presenting this program, and for considerable subsequent work in preparing this virtual version.  Thanks also to Jim and Connie Henderson.  Jim took and provided me with many photos, and Connie took notes.

I hope you have enjoyed this authoritative look at this interesting group of quality Caucasian rugs.

Regards,

R. John Howe

Alan Donaldson on “The Natural Idea”

Posted in Uncategorized on August 14, 2016 by rjohn

On June 18, 2016,  Alan Donaldson,

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gave a Rug and Textile Appreciation Morning program entitled “The Natural Idea.”

Alan is a retired professor of Textile Design at the North Carolina State University.  His early training in textiles was in Scotland.  He then worked in the textile industry in the U.S.  He is a skilled photographer and a weaver who works with both traditional hand looms and electronic Jaquards.  He has had a wide experience in a number of fields related to his textile design work too extensive to detail here (for example, he was a resource for a while to the Xerox Corporation).

(Note:  You will be able to see larger images of those in this post by clicking three times on them and are encouraged to do so.)

Alan began:

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Throughout the history of product decoration, images from nature have been used more than any other source of pattern and design.

This is especially true in the world of textiles – whether it be pictorial or in textural form, as is seen in the 400 year-old Jacobean fabric below.

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I am going to present you with a series of nature photographs I have taken.  In each case, I will also show you a textile I have woven that was inspired by a given photograph.

Here is the first pair and example.

On the right below is an image of some flower heads.  On the left is a fabric of silk, wool and Reindeer hair, that is modeled after them.

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Here are a closer image of the flower heads,

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and, below, the unusual fabric of fabric of silk, wool and Reindeer hair.  The properties of these three materials work to  let the fabric simulate the flowers.

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Here is the next example. The Fuchsia heads on the left were the inspiration for the fabric on the right.

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Here are larger images of this comparison.

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The next example asks you to work a bit.  What is the “secret, hidden” element in this photo that gives it life? (click three times on this image to get a larger version)

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Give up?  I think it is the small vertical highlight shown in the blown-up image below (start at the bottom).

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I felt that this feature of this photograph was critical and so worked it into the fabric of my woven piece.

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Alan took us into his next comparison.

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The inspiring nature photo is of a ripe wheat field, near Whitekirk Church, in East Lothian, Scotland –

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full of rhythm, and repetition of shape and color.

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And, below is the woven permutation.

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A larger image of the twill.

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Next, a simple wayside weed that inspired the fabric for a wedding dress.

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Below are larger images of the weed and the wedding dress fabric.

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Even the humble Goldenrod, below,

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metamorphoses into this shimmering silk.

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Sometimes words are not much needed.

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Again, two inspiring photos of Thistledown.

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And a resulting pile fabric.

 

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This close-up shot of a budding Maple, reminded me

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so much of Velvet.

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Larger inspiring image.

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and the resulting favorite textile.

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“Seasons of Mists and Mellow Fruitfulness…”  (Keats)

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But, can anything really best the ultra-spectacular New England fall?

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Weaving inspired by these images.

First “Autumn Glory” (House of Alain LaLonde, Paris)

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A New England ‘study.’

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Below, “Spanish Mosaic” my professional tour-de-force, in 100% pure lana virgen.

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Floral source,

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interpreted for a high-class men’s suiting fabric.

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The brilliant colors, up-close, fade to rich, blue-grey from a distance.

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A knot in an old door in the image below

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inspires this Jacquard textile.

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A close look at this Jacquard fabric.

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Sometimes, I’ve been attracted to pictorial renditions of inspiring nature photographs.

This is photo I’ve entitled “The Red Hot Tree.”  It is one I took in East Lothian, Scotland in November, 1964.

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And this is my Jacquard representation of this same scene.

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Here are three photos of restless water,

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ever flowing, constantly moving,

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finding its destiny.

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And this is a textile such images inspired.

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Two photos of bubbles,

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Mighty-Fine!

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And here is a textile they inspired,

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chosen for a cover in December, 1971.

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There are a lot of old castles “Over There.”

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This one got me weaving.

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Of Castles and Cathedrals!

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Close-up (below) of a high-class men’s suiting fabric interpreted from the great stained glass window (above) in Exeter Cathedral, England.

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But there is also Mother Nature’s unbelievable stained glass window!

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That inspired my own compartment-ed textile version.

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I’ve done it more than once.

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Larger image of the Jacquard.

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The sun takes a long time to go down in these northern climes…

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The old photograph, below, was in the house where I was born and is here, still.

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And here is my recent Jacquard interpretation.

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The sun is still sinking in the western sky,

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but gives plenty of time for contemplation and new ideas.

JOY

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Created for the 150th anniversary of the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology, 1974

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Here, I’m watching the ripples at the water’s edge, looking

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for yet another fabric challenge.

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…to interpret these soothing, ebbing, overlapping wavelets in the dying sunlight.

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that is almost gone.

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This was the end of Alan’s lecture, but he had brought a number of pieces he had woven into the room.  Let’s look at a few of them.

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This is one of Alan’s pictorial textiles from the image above.

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Next was a pictorial textile that seems nearly a photograph.

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You’ve seen some of these fabrics during the lecture, but they are worth seeing again.

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The pictorial Jacquard weaving, below, that was the last piece Alan showed, is really for another session. 

Let me say here, only, that it is Alan’s version of an astounding silk textile that was woven on the basis of a famous painting and etching of the signing of the American Declaration of Independence.

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You will only be able to appreciate what an achievement it and the original, were and are, when we tell the whole story, something we’ll try to do in another post.

As we were setting up before Alan’s lecture,

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I asked him whether he had woven the material from which his vest was made.

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He confessed that it was one of his fabrics and that his tie had been knitted by his wife, Betty.

I want to thank Alan for bringing us this presentation that gives us a look at both his accomplished photography and the impressive textiles they have inspired.  Thanks, also, for his permission to fashion this virtual version of his program and for his editing of it.

I hope you have enjoyed this look at the work of a skilled photographer, textile designer and weaver.

Regards,

R. John Howe

 

 

 

Amy Rispin and Friends: Quilt Potpourri

Posted in Uncategorized on August 7, 2016 by rjohn

On  April 23, 2016, Amy Rispin,

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and three of her friends, gave a Rug and Textile Appreciation Morning program “Quilts Potpourri.”  Amy talked about some aspects of her continuing interest in Amish quilts. Barbara (Bobble) Korengold talked about her recent work with applique quilts. Floris Flam reviewed some recent trends in art quilts. And Pat Reilly, a quilt collector, herself, facilitated.

Amy began with a Powerpoint-illustrated lecture.

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Slide1

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Following the Palatine wars in the seventeenth century, many German-speaking people settled in Pennsylvania (in Lancaster and Montgomery counties) an d later in Maryland (in Baltim ore, Frederick and Washington counties).  They brought with them tools, guns and clothing, typically decorated with German folk designs.  Some early quilts and cabinetry made by these settlers reflect these folk patterns, for example, the pinwheel design on the appliqued quilt made by Mary Eby of Frederick County in  1759, and the spice cabinet.  (Here, the pinwheel design is reversed.)

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Slide2*

Pennsylvania-German frakturs are illuminated texts, typically birth or marriage certificates, or biblical excerpts, which demonstrate local design practices from these settlers’ home regions in Europe.

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They are characterized by symmetrical patterns featuring birds and flowers.  Hearts are frequent design motifs, and red and green color schemes may predominate.

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The fraktur above features feather-like arrays of nested leaves.  Note also the strong bilateral symmetry in  the design.

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This red and green Washington County fraktur, above, is a birth certificate for Magdalena Schmitt, born in 1781 (the red and green are much more definite than those in this image).

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Quilt squares were used as patterns and were passed from person to person.  This red and green quilt square was made between 1858 and 1878 in Washington County, Md. (the colors in the image above are actually red and green).

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Slide8*

This red and green appliqued quilt, above, was probably made in Pennsylvania between 1860 and 1880.  Note the wavy vine-like border design, which also appears on Pennsylvania-German plates and cabinetry.  The distinctive colorfast red color was called Turkey red, although the process originated in India.

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Slide9*

Settlers took their quilts and quilt patterns with them when they migrated West.  This appliqued quilt is from 1889 and was made in Marion County, Ohio.  Although the quilt was appliqued using red and green fabric, some green dyes used in the latter half of the nineteenth century were fugitive and changed to tan.

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The 1874 quilt, above, is appliqued and pieced; the pieced design is called North Carolina Lily.  The green has faded to tan

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The flowers on the red and green mid-nineteenth century quilt, above, are pierced, an d the curved stems and leaves are appliqued.

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Slide12*

In the mid-nineteenth century Pennsylvania quilt, above, red and green predominate. 

 

Amy had brought in four quilts that exemplified the red-green combination she had accented in her lecture.

Here is the first one.

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A1

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A1*

The piece, above, probably dates from the 1920’s and was never meant to be quilted, but rather was used as a blanket cover, with a plain green backing.  The design is North Carolina Lily.

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A1a*

Her second brought in piece was this one.

A2

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A2*

This is an appliqued quilt, probably made in Maryland or Virginia, and features some of the quilt designs we have just seen.  Some of the dye has corroded the fabric.

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A2b*

A2e*

Amy’s third green-red quilt was this one.

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A3*

The appliqued design here is a variant of Whig Rose and features the pinwheel patterns, both is the applique and the quilt stitchery.

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A3c*

This quilt was made using red and green fabric from different dye lots.  As you can see, most of the green has faded to tan.

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A3b*

A3f*

A3i*

This quilt was owned by Flora E.Gunt, who obtained it from Susan Byerly Brannow.  We believe we have traced Flora E. Gunt to Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania.  Ms Glunt lived from 1869 – 1957.  The quilt may date from 1860.

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A3j*

Amy’s fourth green-red quilt was this one.

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A4*

This quilt was pieced in 2015 by Magdalena Stoltzfus and quilted by many of her daughters and daughters-in-law.  The colors are a psychedelic array of reds, pinks and greens.  Much of the piecing shows her expertise gained from the log cabin patterns.  Quilt stitchery shows feather-like swirls.

Details.

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A4b

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Every year, the old order Amish community in Southern Maryland holds a quilt auction on the Sunday just before Thanksgiving.

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Most quilts sold at this auction feature colorfully printed cottons, designed to appeal to “English” or non-Amish buyers.

The quilt, brloe, came from the quilt auction and could have been made for use by an Amish family.

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Magdalena Stoltzfus has a grandchild being treated for a rare genetic disorder at Dr. Morton’s Clinic for Special Children.

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  Magdalena surpassed herself last year when she created this Mariner’s Compass quilt, which fetched a superb price for the clinic at auction there last September.

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 Pat Reilly, also a quilt collector, with a relationship with Magdelina Stolzfus,

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introduced Barbara (Bobbie) Korengold, who has shared her minutely constructed, simply astounding applique quilts with us in some other RTAM sessions.

Applique quilts are made by cutting out pieces of fabric and assembling them on a background, similar to collage, to make a design.  This is different than patchwork, which is the process of cutting pieces of fabric and sewing them together like a jigsaw puzzle, to make the design.  There are many different styles and techniques of applique in use today.  Barbara talked about three different styles.

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B1 is an example of what is called Broderie Perse. 

It was made by Judy Bankson, formerly of Bethesda, and now Gaithersburg, Maryland. 

 

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BI

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B1*

In the 16th century, printed cotton textiles were being imported from India to Europe, and were used as bed coverings and wall hangings.  These were what became known as chintz.  They began to be produced in England and France, and eventually in America.  Needleworkers started cutting the motifs of these fabrics apart, and assembling them in new arrangements on a background fabric, creating appliqued quilts.  Soon, chintz fabrics were being manufactured specifically for this purpose. 

Judy has taken modern fabrics to make her “Bethesda” quilt.  Some of her fabrics are reproductions of old designs.  Eight of the blocks have inked line drawings of Bethesda landmarks surrounded by floral designs. 

The great challenge in making this kind of quilt is to take disparate, unrelated fabrics and find a way to combine them so that they make an agreeable, cohesive finished product. 

Details of B1.

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B1a*

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B1e

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Bobbie said that her second quilt, B2, was “in progress.”

B2

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B2*

This quilt is based on very traditional Baltimore album quilt designs.  The patterns for the center basket, and the four rectangular baskets are from a very well known antique quilt in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum in New York.  The four small bunches of flowers tied with ribbons in the corners are adapted from other old quilts.  The inner and outer borders were designed by Barbara using motifs taken from the blocks. 

Barbara uses the needleturn method for her applique.  This involves placing each colored piece of fabric on the background and turning under a narrow seam allowance as it is stitched in place.  Barbara has also done a great deal of embroidery to embellish the applique.  This came about because a friend gave her a collection of silk embroidery threads that she had brought back from China, and Barbara felt compelled to use them.  So, the name of this quilt will be “Carol’s Gift”.

Details of B2.                                                                                         (color differences are do to lighting and camera action)

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Bobbie said that her third quilt, B3, was of a type that she doesn’t do very well, but she’d share it anyway.

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B3

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This small wall hanging was made using a method that is very popular today: raw edged, fused applique.  It is still applique, because it is pieces of fabric placed on a background to create a picture.  Products are available today that are heat activated glue on paper.  The glue is ironed onto the back of the applique fabric, the paper peeled away, the fabric then cut into the desired shape, and ironed on to the background.  There is no seam allowance, the raw edge of the fabric is visible.  When the piece is quilted, the quilting stitches help hold the pieces in place to reinforce the glue. 

Pat now introduced Floris Flam, a local art quilt designer and maker, who has also spoken at The Textile Museum before.

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Floris took us into the current world of machine-made quilts.  This is Floris speaking:

I’m going to show some examples of recent quilts that use a variety of machine quilting approaches.

First, a bit of history.

There have sewing machines of sorts since the 1750s, but Elias Howe is generally given credit for inventing one, in 1845,

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Elias_Howe_sewing_machine*

that marked the beginning of machines that could be used in the home.

Sewing machines first became popular with consumers in the 1860s. 

The DAR museum owns a fruit basket quilt its donor says was made prior to 1850 that is machine and hand pieced and appliqued, but was machine quilted using one of the earliest treadle sewing machines in Texas.

Prize-winning quilts were generally hand-quilted until the late 1980s.  In 1988, Lois Smith was the first to win best in show at the Houston Quilt Festival for a machine-quilted piece, Golden Memories of Christmas.  Carol Bryer Fallert’s top prize at the American Quilter’s Society show in Paducah, KY, in 1989 for Corona II: Solar Eclipse, aroused outrage at the time.

In recent years, most art quilts have been primarily machine quilted. For our purposes here we need to distinguish “domestic” sewing machines from “long-arm” machines often used now in quilting. 

Here is an older domestic machine.

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DomesticSewingMachineOlder*

And this is what more recent domestic sewing machines can look like.

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ModernSewingMachine

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“Long-arm” sewing machines are a more ambitious “animal.”  They vary a great deal, but here is just one.

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These machines can do wonderful things, some say, things that cannot be done by hand.  They can, also, be expensive.  A little search will reveal some that cost $10,000 and more.

Long arm machines are used now by many quilters.

With that introduction, I’m going to move to show you eight quilts, that illustrate a variety of quilting styles and approaches.

Very dense quilting has become popular.  We see a lot of straight-line quilting, either done with a walking foot or free motion.

Betty Ford moved to the outskirts of Silver Spring in 1966, while the area was still fairly rural.

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Orchard 8 was inspired by a nearby orchard, abstracted in this quilt. 

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Her work is fused collage and she does dense straight-line quilting on her domestic sewing machine.

Cynthia Corbin also uses dense straight line quilting in her current work, but she uses a long-arm machine.

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Weathering Out incorporates a piece of white fabric Cynthia folded, weighed down with a flower pot, and left in her back yard in Seattle all winter.  The pot left a mark and bugs ate into the cloth, leaving a lacy texture. 

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She used dense machine quilting to hold the weathered fabric to her background.  Cynthia’s work is abstract, but she feels her recent interest in weathered and weather-beaten surfaces reflects her own experience of aging.

Lois Smith takes a very different approach to long-arm quilting in her work, here using radial and circular stitching lines to reinforce the shapes in her quilt.

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This is Woodpile. She says that her neighbor on Chincoteague Island has a woodpile that she sees when she looks out her window.  She says “I love the ancient and weathered gray patina of each piece. 

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Assuming that the “logs” originated from local trees, I mused  at the history each could  reveal in its rings and other delicate patterning. “   Woodpile incorporates this imagery using hand-dyed and commercial fabrics.

The rest of my examples were quilted using domestic sewing machines.

Karen Schulz makes abstract pieced work and uses dense machine quilting, both straight-line and patterned. 

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She also incorporates line in her quilt by couching rayon ribbon, using an open zigzag stitch to hold the ribbon in place. 

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While Karen’s work often starts with a small sketch and not from a story or an emotion, she finds that sometimes a narrative appears.  This is Girl in the City with Blue Hair. After finishing this quilt, Karen realized that it is about her daughter, who moved to the city when she was 17 and who, at the time, had bright blue hair.

Dominie Nash does machine applique.  Her work is a collage of cotton and silk fabrics she makes using various surface design techniques. 

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The fabrics are joined and quilted at the same time, not the more usual process of making a top, then layering it with batting and backing and quilting it. 

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The stitching both holds the fabrics in place and adds visual interest. This piece, Stills from a Life 32, one of a series of quilts abstracted from the objects that surround her in her studio and her home.

Diane Doran does her collages in Photoshop, prints them on fabric, then machine quilts them on her domestic machine.  California Dreaming is composed from several photographs she took while on vacation with her family in Florida and California. 

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The three pelicans represent her three sons, ages 15, 13, and 10, flying free and enjoying themselves, testing out their wings. 

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She stitched repeatedly over the lines of the yellow flowers to add some weight to those areas.  The lavender and purple flowers are completely created with thread.

Susan Callahan is a professional chef. She incorporates her love of food and kitchen equipment into her quilts.  Homage to Downtown Abbey is an homage to the beautiful tables in great houses.

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This quilt uses hand-dyed cotton.  It was machine pieced and quilted.  Her stitching here represents culinary vignettes and candelabrum at each end of the piece.  The flatware was painted after the piece was quilted.

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I’ve rotated the detail image 180 degrees to make it easier to see the stitched candelabra.

My final images are of Judy Hooworth’s Rainy Day Dora Creek #12.  

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Judy is an Australian who used to live in Sydney.  Several years ago she moved to a more rural area.  She often walks along Dora Creek and has incorporated abstract images of the creek in her work.  This quilt is made from four squares of cotton fabric that she discharged, a process that involves using a chemical to remove some of the color in the fabric. 

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She has used dense free motion zigzag stitches in the center area of the quilt to change the apparent color of the fabric and used heavy white thread to emphasize the direction of the lines in the fabric.

Size:

I didn’t want to clutter the narrative, unduly, as we went along, but, for interest, here are the sizes of these eight quilts.

Betty Ford Orchard 8 30.5 x  29.5

Corbin Weathering Out 41 x 61

Callahan Homage to Downton Abbey 27 x 60 

Doran California Dreaming 24 x 60

Hooworth Rainy Day Dora Creek #12 40 x 40

Nash Stills From a Life 32    27×27

Schulz Girl in the City with Blue Hair 32 x 59

Smith Woodpile 60 x 60

Next Floris moved to three pieces she had designed and quilted herself.

The first was entitled “Windows 5.”

F1

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Comment on F1:   Windows 5 was pieced using cotton fabrics Floris dyed and was quilted on her domestic sewing machine. Like much of her work, it’s abstract, but suggests architecture.

Details of F1.

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This was Floris’ second piece.

It was entitled “What Lies Within 3.”

F2

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Comment on F2:   What Lies Within 3 is the third quilt in a series that used the same shapes but different colors to explore the effect of color in how the shapes are perceived.  Floris quilted it with both straight line and free motion stitching.

Details of F2.

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This was Floris’ third piece was unusual.

F3

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Comment on F3: 

It was one of her card cases.  These are collaged and stitched as one would make a tiny quilt.

Members of the audience brought pieces in.  The first of these was striking.

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BI1

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This quilt is green and pink, color characteristic of the 1915-1920 period.

It was found in an estate sale in Falls Church, Virginia, of things said to have been in the same family for five generations.  This particular piece was made by the grandmother of the audience member who brought it in.  Poppy design.  The face is applique. 

Amy said that both this quilt (BI1) and BI3 below, have thin batting, indicating that they were meant to be “best” quilts.

Here are some detail images of BI1.

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Notice the quilting stitches.

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The second brought in piece was a traditional quilt also bought in the same estate sale as BI1.  Again the colors are pink, green and white.  Palette suggests this piece was made in 1915-1920.

BI3

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The quilting is very dense.

Details of BI3.

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Color differences are due to camera and lighting.

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The third quilt was contemporary.

BI2

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This quilt was by T. Rusella, who decided, about ten years ago, to focus on color and texture.

This piece is entitled “Painted Desert.”  Each section has different texture.

Details of BI2

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The next piece was a “penny quilt.” 

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BI4

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Such quilts do not have the usual face, batting, and back levels, quilted together.   Instead, three different size pieces are sewn together, concentrically, and then that assembly is sewn to a backing.  But penny quilts are often classified with quilts.  One thing more: they are entirely of plain-color felt, usually wool.

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Details of BI4.

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You can see that there are texture aspects of penny quilts, but they are mostly about color.

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Penny quilts have been made for a long time, but this one is not old.  Its owner said that it has a tag that indicates that it was made in India for a U.S. firm in Georgia.

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The next piece was another textile rather marginally a quilt but also often classified with them.  It is called a “yo-yo” in reference to what is now a vintage toy.

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Why Yo-Yo Dieting Doesn’t Work

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Yo-Yo textiles are made in all sizes (the owner of this one said that he owns one for a king-size bed).  But this is a miniature, only 15 by 11 inches.

BI5

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Details of BI5.

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Yo-yo’s are made by bringing the edges of a circular piece of cloth forward and toward the center, then stitching it to produce a texture medallion.  Then these medallions are sewn together top, bottom and sides so the connecting stitches don’t show.

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Its owner said that the next quilt was an example of what you can buy, readily, at your local flea market.

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BI6

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Its owner said that he started as a Turkmen collector and so is a sucker for red.

Details of BI6.

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BI4b*

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The quilting stitches in this piece are functional rather than decorative.  Here is a close-up look at its back.

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We don’t see many Chinese quilts but the next piece was one.

BI7

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As you can see, it features day-glo colors of the sort that would make a natural dye aficionado cringe. 

In the center of each of the compartments is a 3-D device sewn on and hanging out.

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Here’s what an authority on Chinese textiles said about it:

“It is typical of the type of work done in Shaanxi Province, notably the area around Xian, which is where it was probably purchased originally. I would guess that it is either contemporary or at most 25-30 years old. It may have been made as a baby or small child’s quilt, or it could have been made to sell to the large number of tourists in the Xian area. The design is based on the “Five Poisons”. These were 5 or more dangerous creatures shown together and meant to protect the wearer, especially during the holiday “Duanwu” or dragon boat festival which falls on the 5th day of the fifth lunar month. That would be around mid-July when illness and infection were most likely. You can find information on both the holiday and the 5 poisons in various sources including on-line.

“In the rondelles I can see the tiger (with wang on forehead) which, as the greatest protector, is usually shown somewhere with the five poisons. The five poisons themselves include frog or toad, scorpion, spider, lizard and snake. So all of them are represented either in the rondelle or in various squares on your quilt. As far as I can see, no cranes in the rondelles. The butterflies, deer and rabbits in the rondelle do symbolize longevity although in my opinion, that is not the main message on this piece, and I think in this context, it more likely that they were just decorative elements.

Details of BI7.

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Amy Rispin had a Chinese child’s hat that had quilt-related features. It is not actually quilted, but it is included because it is a wonderfully delicate example of applique which is featured in many quilt faces.

This is a tiger face child’s hat with silk floss embroidery over metallic paper.  The tiger, as we noted with the Chinese quilt above, is a Chinese symbol of great protection.   This hat is estimated to the late Quig Dynasty (1643-1911).

BI18

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During the Quig Dynasty, it was customary for a child to receive a special hat created by his mother or grandmother.  This hat would have been worn on special occasions, such as, birthdays or holidays and was designed with two purposes in mind: to protect the child from evil spirits and to offer wishes for future success and a happy life.

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Embroidered by hand and covered with Chinese characters and emblems symbolic of all good things, a special hat like this made any child a little emperor or empress.

Here are a few more details of it.  Melons auger many children, and the crickets, high position.

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With the pentultimate piece of the day, we returned to traditional quilts.  This piece is called a “Joseph’s coat” quilt, a Biblical reference.  Joseph’s coat was one of “many colors,” and this quilt has them.

BI9

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Amy Rispin said that she thinks it was made by the Amish.   It was bought in southwest Ohio, near some Amish communities.

The quilting pattern used is not elaborate but is typical of Joseph’s coat quilts.

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The last quilt of the day was this one.

BI10

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The owner said that this is in her series of canyon quilts, made using pleated fabric.

She further said “My inspiration often comes from nature, or from the materials with which I work. The fabrics I collect allow me to work intuitively, letting them inspire me to create new designs and images.

“My recent series is also inspired by the the rocks and canyons of the American southwest and other natural images, such as the rocky coast of Maine.

“My current technique involves cutting curvy strips from hand dyed fabrics, pleating them and using them to create a collage which is then quilted.”

Details of BI10.

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Amy answered questions,

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and brought her session to a close.

There was a lot of material to get your hands on.

I want to thank Amy, Bobbie and Floris for giving me permission to fashion this virtual version of their program and for their considerable assistance in doing so.

Hope you’ve enjoyed this eclectic look at quilts.

Regards,

R. John Howe