Amy Rispin and Friends: Quilt Potpourri

On  April 23, 2016, Amy Rispin,

*

Aja*

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.

*

Slide1

*

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.)

*

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.

*

Slide3*

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

*

Slide4*

Slide5*

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

*

Slide6*

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).

*

Slide7*

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).

*

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.

*

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.

*

Slide10*

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

*

Slide11*

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

*

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.

*

A1

*

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.

*

A1a*

Her second brought in piece was this one.

A2

*

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.

*

A2b*

A2e*

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

*

A3*

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

*

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.

*

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.

*

A3j*

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

*

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.

*

A4a*

A4d*

A4c*

A4b

*

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

*

Slide13*

Slide15*

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.

*

Slide14*

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

*

Slide16*

  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.

*

Slide17*

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

*

Ah*

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.

*

As*

B1 is an example of what is called Broderie Perse. 

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

 

*

BI

*

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.

*

B1c*

B1a*

B1d*

B1b*

B1e

*

B1h*

B1f*

B1i*

B1j*

B1k*

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

B2

*

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)

*

B2a*

B2d*

B2c*

B2g*

B2e*

B2h*

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

*

B3

*

B3*

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.

*

DSC_0281a*

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,

*

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.

*

DomesticSewingMachineOlder*

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

*

ModernSewingMachine

*

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

*

LongarmSewingMachine2*

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.

*

Slide2*

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

*

Slide3*

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.

*

Slide4*

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. 

*

Slide5*

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.

*

Slide6*

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. 

*

Slide7

*

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. 

*

Slide8*

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

*

Slide9*

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. 

*

Slide10*

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. 

*

Slide11*

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. 

*

Slide12*

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

*

Slide13*

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.

*

Slide14*

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.

*

Slide15*

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.  

*

Slide16*

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. 

*

Slide17*

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

*

Floris1sentafter

*

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.

*

DSC_0269a*

DSC_0270a*

DSC_0271a*

This was Floris’ second piece.

It was entitled “What Lies Within 3.”

F2

*

Floris2sentafter

*

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.

*

DSC_0274a*

DSC_0275a*

DSC_0276a*

This was Floris’ third piece was unusual.

F3

*

DSC_0304aa*

DSC_0336a

*

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.

*

BI1

*

BI1*

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.

*

BI1a*

BI1b*

BI1c*

Notice the quilting stitches.

BI1d*

BI1e*

BI1f*

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

*

BI3*

The quilting is very dense.

Details of BI3.

*

BI3a*

Color differences are due to camera and lighting.

*

BI3b*

BI3d*

BI3c*

The third quilt was contemporary.

BI2

*

BI2*

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

*

BI2a*

BI2c*

BI2d*

BI2e*

*

The next piece was a “penny quilt.” 

*

BI4

*

PennyQuilt1*

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.

*

PennyQuilt7*

Details of BI4.

*

PennyQuilt2*

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

*

PennyQuilt5*

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.

*

PennyQuilt6*

PennyQuilt9*

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.

*

Why Yo-Yo Dieting Doesn’t Work

*

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

*

Yoyo1*

Details of BI5.

*

Yoyo2*

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.

Yoyo5*

Yoyo6*

Yoyo4*

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

*

BI6

*

BI4*

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

Details of BI6.

*

BI4a*

BI4b*

BI4e*

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

*

BI4fback*

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

BI7

*

Q2*

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.

*

DSC_0713a

*

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.

*

Q4*

Q7*

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

*

Hat4*

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.

*

Hat3*

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.

*

Hat6*

Hat7*

DSC_0710*

Hat2*

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

*

JosephsCoatCompa*

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.

*

JosephsCoatDetail2*

JosephsCoatDetail1*

The last quilt of the day was this one.

BI10

*

DSC_0329a*

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.

*

DSC_0331a*

DSC_0332a*

DSC_0333a*

DSC_0334a*

Amy answered questions,

*

Ar*

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

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: