Sunday, 8 December 2013

USA 2013 - Part 1

I've just got back from, at times, a very eventful trip "across the pond". My itinerary included Washington DC, New York, Indianapolis, Shipshewana and then back to Washington DC. As usual, it all went far too fast, but I had a wonderful time filled with quilts, textiles and visiting friends (not to mention my numerous trips to the fabric stores!). 

Theresa, my friend in Indianapolis had offered me a suitcase she had found in clearing out the basement, before I had left the UK, and I was determined that I would not need it for all my goodies - well, you can guess the rest!

I had a rather difficult flight to Washington DC when I developed a severe on-board migraine - which I have feared for many years. The assistance I received was wonderful and I cannot praise the British Airways cabin crew highly enough, but unfortunately, it meant I spent the first day in bed recovering. The next morning I went up to the hotel restaurant for breakfast. 

An early morning view out to Foggy Bottom
The restaurant has a spectacular view of Georgetown and Foggy Bottom right round to Watergate and the reason for this is because it is on the...17th floor - which I have no problem with until the fire alarm went off just as I sat down to a bowl of melon and pineapple - yep, we had to evacuate from the 17th floor - not a pleasant experience believe me, but was hugely relieved when a message came up the stairwell, whilst I was negotiating the 15th floor that it was a false alarm.

A very wet welcome to New York
The next day, I flew up to New York to visit the Interwoven Globe 1500 - 1800 exhibition which is on at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art until 5th January 2014.

This exhibition charts the development of the textile trade around the world from the Incas in Peru across to Indonesia and all points in-between. There were some wonderful pieces of both textiles and embroidery including Inca designed tapestries for use back in the Spanish Royal Palaces, beautifully embroidered garments from the 18th century, brightly coloured palampores from India and Indonesia, a heavily trapuntoed (corded) cotton quilt from Southern Europe which was very, very similar to the one I saw in Williamsburg three years ago, although that one is silk with cotton cords and there is another similar cotton corded quilt in the Lovely Lane Museum in Baltimore, Maryland - it is often referred to as the Mayflower Quilt (I have photographs somewhere - with somewhere being the operative word!), but in the meantime...

Silk with cotton cords trapuntoed quilt c.1600
Williamsburg, Va
Close-up of lower right corner
The original printed John Hewson coverlet from the Winterthur from which Windham Fabrics based their collection 2 years ago was also hanging and finally, for me the piece de resistance - the original Phebe Warner Coverlet - which is much, much bigger than I had ever realised. The photographs especially on the front cover of Quilts of America by the Orlofskys' do not give it justice - how I wish I could have taken photographs, but the museum have a very good website where you can view the coverlet close up. 

Phebe Warner Coverlet - probably made by Sarah Firman Warner Williams c.1803
The Winterthur Museum have another coverlet made by Sarah - she certainly had a very distinctive style and like that coverlet the one above has a lot of silk embroidery on it with many of the pieces applied using buttonhole stitch.

If you are in New York, I would highly recommend the exhibit and the catalogue is well worth the $65.00 - it is cloth bound and has very good photographs of each exhibit with more detail about each piece.

After 3 hours in the exhibition I had absorbed just about as much as I could! It was a beautiful day and so went for a walk in Central Park, there was still a lot of autumn colour on the trees...

Central Park
Wonderful shading

There's more to come...!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Fiona! I went to the exhibit at the Met earlier in Nov as well. I thought it was very interesting too. So glad you had a chance to get to it. I travel to NY area every couple of months to visit family and was happy to get to this exhibit. There were others I wanted to see too but as you said three or so hours at a time fills my head and takes a toll on my body.