One of the things that greatly contributed to a wonderful show by the Arizona Quilters Guild were the free one hour lectures offered all day long. What a great idea for a show. I could have parked myself in the Auditorium for two days just for that. I really enjoyed Lenna DeMarco's lecture on How To Read A Quilt/ How to find the stories in antique quilts. I asked Lenna if it was permissible to take pictures and share parts of her lecture with you, and she said "Absolutely!" Please forgive if the pictures are a little grainy. I was out in the audience and these were taken from a distance without the best of lighting. Lenna shared "By examining the style, fabric, patterns, construction and condition of an antique quilt we can determine many things about the quilt maker, her life and the life of the quilt- even if we don't know who she is. We will look at antique quilts from the 19th through the 20th centuries to discover the stories within." I love a great story. This first quilt is from the 1840's-ish, when fabric became more affordable. Women knew how to fussy cut! Many times women would share scraps from their rag baskets with their neighbors. This quilt includes the Chimney Sweep pattern, also called the Album block. (I gave you a link if you would like to make this block) "…the blocks of the 'Chimney Sweep', made of brick-shaped patches and squares, have a not unduly far-fetched resemblance to the opening at the top of the oldest type of American house-chimney." Ruth Finley 1929 The 1840's also introduced red and green quilts, often with a little cheddar. Like today, woman followed fashion trends in color, too. The best quilts were brought out when the preacher came. The Whig Rose came at a time when woman were not allowed to vote. Often they expressed their political points of view through their quilts. The Whig party dissolved in the mid-nineteenth century and was a precursor to the Republican party. The intense quilting signals that this quilter had a lot of free time on her hands.
From an era when women were often defined by their needlework.
*I'll be sharing more from this lecture in the next few days.