One of the best ways to get some inspiration for your next quilt project is to see vintage or antique quilts in person. Even if you don’t think of yourself as a “repro” quilter, the designs and craftsmanship on display in these works of art are not to be missed.
If you find yourself near New York City this season, make a point of visiting the American Folk Art Museum to view the exhibit “War and Pieced: The Annette Gero Collection of Quilts from Military Fabrics.” This is the first exhibit in the U.S. to focus on soldier or convalescent military quilts that not only were made exclusively by men, but that were made with wool fabric taken from 19th-century British military and dress uniforms associated with the Crimean War and conflicts in other regions of the British Empire.
The spectacular pieced quilts, which often incorporate thousands of patches no larger than one-inch square, are exhibited along with earlier pictorial inlaid, or intarsia, quilts made with felted wool, some of which date back to the mid-18th century. Many are on public display for the first time.
There are some interesting events being held at AFAM in conjunction with the exhibit that seeks to examine the quilts in relation to when, where and how they were made. On September 8, there will be an evening of presentations featuring Dr. Gero, as well as noted quilt historians and collections Jonathan Holstein and Sue Reich.
On September 28, art historian Julia Bryan-Wilson will discuss the military quilts on view in the War and Pieced exhibition as well as modern counterparts and will explore the relationship between textiles, gender, and war.
And on October 26, AFAM will host an introduction to intarsia patterning workshop taught by woodworker and quilter Lesley Gold, in which participants will learn the fundamentals of geometric patterning that leads to the concept of an individual quilt design through fabric piecing.
The “War and Pieced” exhibit is at AFAM through January 7, 2018, and will be on display at the International Quilt Study Center & Museum in Lincoln, Nebraska, May 25 through September 16, 2018.