Saturday, 12 February 2011

On go slow... and the American Folk Art Museum exhibit

Okay, things have slowed down a little over the past week as regards my Beyond The Cherry Tree album quilt and I am late getting my weekly blog entry up. I have been working on prepping some more blocks and I decided to go for some more complex ones, but somehow the fabric auditions are just not coming together and I am struggleling! I hope to get the problems resolved by this weekend, otherwise I will just have to put these particular blocks away and have a look another day.

This month's block is now up and it's a simple one, so maybe I will concentrate on that one , so at least I will feel I have achieved something over the past fortnight. I am also back into marking mode, so once the pile is out of the way maybe I will see a solution to my fabric audition problems

American Folk Art Museum

Yes... it's yours truly!

There has been some talk recently on one of the lists I belong to with a group of members meeting up to see the year long quilt exhibition at the American Folk Art Museum in New York City and it had me reminiscing. I was very lucky to visit the exhibit last November when a good friend of mine and I visited. I am glad she came because for all my experience of cities I became quite disorientated in New York... I would still be wandering the streets trying to find the museum, if it wasn't for her and yet it was only a 10 minute stroll away from our hotel, if that!
We spent the whole day viewing quilts that I had only seen in books and thought I would never see "in the flesh". One of the best things was that we were allowed to take photographs! I have hundreds of them!! So I am giving a little flavour of the exhibition below.

Hewson centre Quilt approx 1790 - 1810

Oh how I would love to reproduce this quilt one day. I love everything about it and of course it has my favourite block - the Ohio Star. The centre is broderie perse using fabrics designed by John Hewson. The red floral border I think finishes it, so will have to keep my eyes open!

The Dunn Album Quilt - 1852

Made by the sewing group of the Fulton Street United Methodist Episcopal Church of Elizabeth Port, New Jersey. It is so reminiscent of the Maltaville Quilt, which I talked about in a previous posting.

Embellished Applique Quilt 1825 - 1845

Now this is a fun quilt! I have never seen a pcture of it before, but I love its folksiness. It is made of wool, silk cotton etc and is highly embellished with embroidery and beads. It is thought to have come from New York.

The Bird of Paradise Quilt 1858 - 1863

Another folk art quilt, but this time mainly in cotton with some wool and silk and again embroidery embellishments. It is thought to have come from the Albany area of New York state. I have the pattern for this quilt produced by Corliss Searcy of Threadbear in Australia. Its on my one day to do quilt list!

Whig Rose Quilt 1857/58

Probably made by Abigail Hill of Indiana. I love red and green quilts, but I doubt I will ever make a quilt quite like this as I think I would find it boring to make, four blocks of the same design, but there again it would be a challenge just because of that alone.

The Reiter Family Quilt 1848 - 1850

Made from wool and cotton this Baltimore style album quilt features a great deal in many books on the style... and now I have been able to see it in all of its glory. It reminds a little of the Rachel Meyer style of quilts which are in the collection of the Baltimore Museum of Art.

Sunflower and trailing vine 1783- 1830
Attributed to Catherine Lowrence Newton from North Carolina or Georgia, this quilt had just been added to the museum's collection. It was laying on a slightly inclined board so was difficult to take a picture of it. According to the gift, the quilt was set together with Caroline's wedding dress. I love the muted colours - the stories it must be able to tell as it stayed in the same family for generations before it was gifted to the museum last year.
There are so many more photographs I could show you, including the Stars exhibit in the museum's satellite gallery on Columbus Square which I would dearly love to revisit - that exhibition is up until September. The exhibit at the main site is open until mid-April when it will change to show yet more quilts from the collection round until next November.
Have a good week!

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Kia ora tatou - Happy Waitangi Day!

Inside the meeting house on the Waitangi Marae

Today is Waitangi Day, New Zealand's national day and holiday, named after the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi on 6th February, 1840. The treaty was signed between the British Crown (Queen Victoria) and a number of Maori rangatira (chiefs) from the North Island of Aotearoa (New Zealand).

I lived for 5 years in New Zealand and worked closely with the Maori. I thoroughly enjoyed my time learning about their culture, their language and their arts and crafts. I sit here at my desk looking at a kauri bowl, my kete (a maori basket) and a kiwi.

I lived in Rotorua where I looked after a number people's summer houses or batch whilst they were either trying to sell them or needed someone to keep an eye on their property outside the holiday season. Many of the owners lived in either Auckland or Australia. The view above is from the garden of one those houses looking out across Lake Okareka - happy times!

Beyond the Cherry Trees Album Quilt

Block 3 is finished! I quite enjoyed this block and am especially pleased with the fabric I used for the pot. This block was already prepped and ready to go, hence the reason why it only took me a week (that, plus no marking!). But, I need to prepare some more blocks, so it could be 2 - 3 weeks before I finish the next one.

Sundial Quilt

I finally finished another set of 4 blocks - this time the Scallop Shell. I wonder why the original quilter chose this design, did she live by the coast? For me, the Scallop Shell has a special significance, since it is the emblem that was chosen by the pilgrims as they travelled the medieval (1290's) Pilgrims Way from Winchester to the tomb of St. Thomas a Becket in Canterbury Cathedral.

I have a long association with the Pilgrims Way, as I have at various points in my life lived and worked along the Way, and today it passes right outside my front door. In the summer we see a steady stream of walkers and cyclists walking through the village as they walk the Pilgrim's Way.

I finish this entry with a photograph of 90 Mile Beach, which is right up in the very north of New Zealand. The beach is long and nearer 50 miles in length, but it is part of Highway 1 so drivers have to observe the rules of the road! I took this whilst on a coach trip up to Cape Reinga, the northern most tip of mainland New Zealand. It is one of my most favourite photographs. I have added a Maori proverb which I think is very apt especially for quilters.