Sometimes I need to view great examples of old quilts to appreciate how constant the elements of a really good quilt are. It doesn’t matter whether a quilt is traditional, modern, art or folk. A library book has been reminding me of this.
Quilts: Masterworks From The American Folk Art Museum is a 2010 coffee table tome that deserves to be admired on paper, not on a small screen. I did find 60 of the quilts included on the museum’s website, so you can view some of the quilts in the book. Trust me, the photos look better on paper.
The main drawback to this book is that background information about each quilt is minimal – maker (if known,) where made, when made, size, material, and donor. I was eager for some link to whatever information was known about each one, but none is offered. I did find more about some of the quilts pictured on the museum’s website, but that leaves about 140 with very little information.
In no particular order, here are some of my favorites. There are wonderfully quilted pieces in the book, but they just don’t show up well in a photo. And of course my taste runs to the graphic rather than exquisite applique. Where available, I’ve provided information about the quilts.
I love the blues and dusty purples set on a very dark (navy? black?) ground and enlivened with pinks, rose, greens, golds and white. This double wedding ring quilt was made between 1930-1940 by Mrs. Andy Byler in Atlantic, Pennsylvania.
Another crazy quilt set in order by the sashing and those wonderful gold/cheddar squares surrounding each cornerstone. It was made by Leah Zook Hartzler in Mifflin County, Pennsylvania, out of wool and cotton, and is dated 1903.
This quilt dated 1983 was made in Georgia by Jessie Telfair. According to the American Folk Art Museum, “[t]his is one of several freedom quilts that Jessie Telfair made as a response to losing her job after she attempted to register to vote.” It brought tears to my eyes.