Monday, December 5, 2011

Quilting Out Loud at the Newark Museum

It was a "pinch me" week-end in the New York City area!  I flew in late Thursday and back home early Sunday, with every second in between filled with rich and wonderful quilt-related experiences...

I spent all day Friday in the Garment District visiting M & S Schmalberg Custom Fabric Flowers and my other must-stops to shop for treasure. Right after I got back to Newark, my friend Jodie Davis arrived at the hotel and we turned in early to be fresh for our big day Saturday, filming my segment of "Quilt Out Loud" at the Newark Museum.  Our reward for that was a party back in the City....

The Newark Museum is an unsung gem.  Among many, many other things, they have a huge quilt collection, most of which never sees the light of day.  But right now a fabulously curated show is up that gives a sampling of what they have. Included are some crazy quilts that have never been publicly displayed before now.  Have a look!  (All photos are posted with permission.)

This is the Hall Family Crazy quilt, completed in 1882 in Providence, Rhode Island.  It was a multi-generational family collaboration which I found fascinating.  Some of the makers could NOT get with the crazy quilting program and made traditional quilt blocks that they then embroidered.  Others simply embroidered their squares.  There are a few randomly pieced blocks but not many!

This block is amazing, as it was done by the great-grandmother.  She cross stitched her birth year, 1791!  The curator, Ulysses Grant Deitz (great great grandson of the president), believes that as a child she learned stitching on samplers, and carried that tradition through into her crazy quilting.  Isn't that cool?  I think he was right.

There were several crazy type blocks....

But more of them were strange hybrids like this one....

...and this one, which totally cracks me up.

The border is very fine though....

Beautifully rendered...

Ulysses said he didn't like the next quilt.  I'm glad that didn't stop him from including it...

....because I think it is awesome!  But I love fans...and have never seen them set like this.
The backing fabric is really neat too.

All of us were trying to imagine a whole dress made of this stuff.  I think it would have been fabulous but the guys weren't so sure.  We all decided it must have been fabric used as linings for mens' smoking jackets.

A later crazy quilt, from 1920, is from Louisiana.

This was made by an African American lady named Mrs. Barbeau.

I really enjoyed talking with Ulysses, whose official title I think is Curator of Decorative Arts.  He was really interested in the social context in which all these quilts were not only made, but donated to or purchased by the museum as well.  He had both knowledgeable and fresh eyes, and the exhibit is fantastic.

In the morning, Ulysses filmed a tour of the show that will be on Quilt Out Loud early in 2012.  In the afternoon, it was my turn to be on camera!

The crew was so good that my experience was fun and stress free.  Jodie and Mark are such pros, as were the sound and camera guys, the oh-so-gentle director, and the production assistant too.  I was in good hands.


It was fun watching them at work.....


...and it was fun being a part of it too.  My segment was shot in the weaving studio.  (All those looms made me so hungry to start weaving again.)  It will be aired in February 2012.

When we were all done and had hugged the crew good-bye, Jodie and I took the train into Penn Station and walked the few blocks to where our friend and fellow Alliance for American Quilts board member, Victoria Findley Wolf lives.  She was having her 4th Annual Girls Party and invited us!  There were two other Alliance board members there too, so we had a mini-reunion.

That's Meg Cox, me, Jodie, Marie Bostwick, and Victoria. 
Can you tell how much we enjoyed being together?  It's a night I will never forget....

And now it is good to be home after logging many miles of fall travel.  I've been a very lucky girl...  ;-)

17 comments :

Betty said...

Love it all!!!

Vicki W said...

It sounds like a fabulous adventure all the way around!

Debra Spincic said...

I agree that the fan quilt is awesome! So visually attractive!

Cathy K said...

What a great time you had, lucky girl! I am so happy for you!! The border on that family quilt is to die for and is an idea that I plan to use!! Hugs, Cathy

Anonymous said...

Belladonna said:

What an awesome post with awesome photos and great text. I am so excited for you, Allie! I agree re the fan quilt, but the best photo, for me, at least, was the one of all the "girls" having SUCH a fabulous time together! What could be better than that? Congratulations on your Quilt Network TV Debut. Also awesome!

Sandra said...

Congratulations on your filming and the great opportunity to see the Newark Museum quilts and meet Mr. Dietz. I got there with the American Quilt Study Group about 2 months ago for the quilt exhibit and a special showing. AB FAB!
Thanks for helping get the word out about this terrific museum.

Rebecca Grace said...

Wow -- all those years I lived in New Jersey, I never dreamed there was a quilt collection in a museum in Newark! I only went to Newark for the airport, and held my nose the whole way through the stinky town of Elizabeth! I'll have to check this out next time I'm up there visiting my sister.

Thanks for sharing these beautiful pictures. I actually kind of like the crazy quilt embellishment on the traditional quilt blocks. Hmmm... Ideas!!! :-)

Susan Elliott said...

Fabulous!!! The post, the quilts at the Newark museum, what you chose to wear ;) , the fact that you're on a SHOW (YGG!!), and that you were in NEW YORK at christmas time! I keep trying to find a way to get there...

You seem so happy and thrilled with your trip! I am SO glad....you deserve all the thrills you're getting.

Now...onto that Hall family quilt....it reminds me a bit of the Dear Jane quilt... I've always dreamed of making my own Dear Susan quilt...and after seeing that family quilt in your post, I will start in 2012...do you have any idea how big each individual square was?? I signed up for the CQ Journal project and these little squares will be perfect...And I like the idea of doing whatever I want to...using whatever needlework style....and telling whatever storyI cannot wait!

Thank you thank you for the inspiration and for sharing your beautiful trip. I hope to hear more about it! Joy and love and kisses...Susan

FredaB said...

It sounds wonderful all around. Hope we get to see this when it airs.

I too loved the fan quilt. Any fan quilt gets me excited.

Hugs

FredaB

kerrykatiecakeskeb43 said...

Oh Allie, what a dream come true this whole adventure must have been! I love that fan quilt, by the way! (scheming now to duplicate it! lol) I am so happy you had this wonderful time!

Ulla's Quilt World said...

Hi! Greetings from Finland! Your quilts are so fantastic! It's so nice to find other quilters all around the world! www.quiltworld2.blogspot.com
Yours, Ulla

Elizabeth said...

What ana mazing adventure !! Loved every minute of drooling over those quilts- studying old quilts is so fascinating- they have such stories to tell!! so glad that you got to go on such a wild and wonderful trip!! When do we see the collected treasure???????

Evy said...

These quilts former are fabulous, in particular the CQ, the moving pieces of lives of several generations, a beautiful division thank you!

Beautiful day

Barbara C said...

What a treat to see this beautiful quilts. I agree with you, the fan quilt is very special. It looks like you had a wonderful time.

Marianne said...

Congratulations and thank you for sharing! It was fascinating, love the fan quilt!

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susanm said...

Those are truly crazy quilts. Thanks for sharing with me. Hugs