Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Legacy of Cuesta Benberry

The Legacy of Quilt Scholar Cuesta Benberry 

Photo courtesy of Michigan State University Museum

Michigan State University Museum Exhibit Shows Newly Acquired Quilt Collection
(Click here to see the story of the above quilt.)

In a new exhibition opening Dec. 6, the Michigan State University Museum will premiere the textile collections of the late Cuesta Benberry, one of the twentieth-century's pioneers of research on American quiltmaking and the forerunner of research on African American quiltmaking.

"Unpacking Collections: The Legacy of Cuesta Benberry, an African American Quilt Scholar" explores the production and meaning of collections and, for the first time, shows this new collection acquired by the MSU Museum in 2009. The exhibit runs Dec. 6, 2009 - Sept. 5, 2010 after which it will begin its national tour.

"Every collection reflects a point of view, a passion, a mindful purpose of the collector who made it," explains Marsha MacDowell, MSU Museum curator of folk arts and MSU professor of art and art history. "In literally unpacking a scholar's collection, a museum or an archive has a responsibility to care for, research, interpret, and make accessible the contents of the collection. It is when a collection—its parts and its whole—is figuratively unpacked, that we can learn more about the scholar and the subjects they researched."

Photo courtesy of Michigan State University Museum

Click here to read the story of the Black Families Series #1 by Carolyn Mazloomi.)

The Cuesta Benberry African and African American Quilt and Quilt History Collections contains 52 quilts (including family quilts and the only one Benberry actually made), notebooks, quilt kits and patterns, and scores of notes and clippings related to quiltmakers, quilts, and quilt exhibitions. A founder of the American Quilt Study Group in 1980, Benberry was also the author of several books about quilt history, including "Always There: The African American Presence in American Quilts" and "A Piece of My Soul: Quilts by Black Arkansans." See a "Quilt Treasure" web portrait of Cuesta Benberry here.

Photo courtesy of Michigan State University Museum

(Click here to see the story of the Shoe Quilt.)

Benberry had a long association with the MSU Museum, the home of the Great Lakes Quilt Center, and when she passed away in 2007, her family gave the Michigan State University Museum her collection of African and African American quilts and her quilt history. Then in 2009, the American Folk Art Museum in New York City transferred its Benberry collections to the MSU Museum so that the bulk of her work could be in one place where it could be more effectively accessed for research and educational uses.

Photo courtesy of Karen Alexander

(The same quilt as it hung at Cuesta's memorial service.)

Over the past year, MSU Museum staff, students, and volunteers have been "unpacking" — sorting through, cataloging, and re-housing Benberry's collection.

"In the process, these workers have been engaging in discussions of their observations about both the collection and the collector and the issues and insights that help make collections available for research, teaching and exhibitions," adds Mary Worrall, co-curator of the exhibition and Assistant Curator, MSU Museum.

The work is not complete with this exhibition, MacDowell says. With an Institute for Museum and Library Services National Leadership grant, the MSU Museum is now working to make selections of Benberry's extensive collections digitally accessible to a worldwide community of researchers and educators. Already the quilts from her collection have been added to the Quilt Index and selections from the rest of her collections will also eventually be available on the Internet.

A series of related educational programming, including lectures, workshops, demonstrations, and a symposium are now in the process of being planned and information on these will be announced in January and will be posted at .

The MSU Museum's Great Lakes Quilt Center has evolved from the sustained and significant quilt-related activities and resources at the Michigan State University Museum and the museum's long-standing interest in and commitment to preserving and presenting traditional arts history. Learn more at:

This exhibition is made possible by a Creating Inclusive Excellence Grant from the Office for Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives at Michigan State University with additional support from an anonymous gift.

The MSU Museum is Michigan's natural science and culture museum and the state's first Smithsonian Institution affiliate. The MSU Museum—accredited by the American Association of Museums—collects, preserves, studies and interprets cultural artifacts and natural science specimens, with collections numbering more than 1 million in four buildings on the MSU campus. One of the oldest museums in the Midwest, the MSU Museum is committed to education, exhibitions, research and the building and stewardship of collections that focus on Michigan and its relationship to the Great Lakes and the world beyond.

The MSU Museum features three floors of special collections and changing exhibits and is open seven days a week free of charge (donations are encouraged). Located on West Circle Drive next to Beaumont Tower on the MSU campus, the MSU Museum is accessible to persons with disabilities. Hours are Monday - Friday, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. -5 p.m.; and Sunday, 1-5 p.m. Visitor parking is available in front of the building and at metered spaces at the Grand River Ramp, one block away at the corner of Grand River Avenue and Charles Street. For more information, call (517) 355-2370 or see .

Additional links on Cuesta Benberry:

1) Quilt Treausres at Alliance for American Quilts
2) Watch video interview of Cuesta Benberry
3) "Remembering Cuesta" by Karen B. Alexander
4) New York Times article.
5) Washington Post article.

PS: You can read more of my quilt research by clicking here.

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Quilt Index and Merikay Walvogel

Our 2009 Honoree, Merikay Waldvogel, has been deeply involved in The Alliance for American Quilts for a number of years and has been especially active in helping with two of their projects: The Quilt Index and Boxes Under the Bed.

The Quilt Index is a collaboration of The Alliance for American Quilts, Michigan State University Museum, and MATRIX: The Center for Humane, Arts, Letters and Social Sciences Online. If you haven't yet browsed The Quilt Index, you are in for a treat.

(photo by Sue Jones)

Coinciding with the launch of the new and improved Quilt Index site is the launch of their Signature Quilt Project. You can now search to see if there is a particular name on a quilt or even a place name. However, most Signature quilts uploaded to the Index before the creation of the Signature Quilt Pilot Project do not yet have names transcribed. This will all take time.

Three blocks from a New York Signature Quilt

Transcription can be challenging if signatures are numerous or difficult to read, but it is very rewarding to make the effort. In the process be reassured, you are adding important information to women's history, quilt history and community history.

To read the behind-the-scenes story of one research project in progress on a New york Signature quilt, click here.

(Click on photos to enlarge.)

In addition, I have just finished transcribing 250+ names on a 1941-1942 Navy Signature Quilt now in the Quilt Index Signature Quilt Pilot Project.

I know Merikay Waldvogel—as well as our other Honorees—would encourage all of us to document all of our quilts but especially our Signature Quilts! You can download a form by clicking here and begin documenting your own quilts. If a museum or State/Regional Documentation Project wishes to enter a collection into The Quilt index, visit this link for guidelines.

In addition to quilts, The Index is also beginning to digitalize quilt ephemera beginning with The Quilt Journal - An International Review. You can now download individual issues of this journal as a pdf file by clicking here. Waldvogel is now assisting The Quilt Index with the digitalization of her own extensive quilt history ephemera collection.

Another exciting project to look forward to when completed — with NEH support, the Quilt Index project team andhe American Quilt Study Group (AQSG) have worked together to digitize abstracts for AQSG's journal, Uncoverings, and to develop a plan and budget for future inclusion of the journal in the Quilt Index.

The founder of AQSG, Sally Garoutte, is also an Honoree of The Quilters Hall of Fame as are several very early members of AQSG: Joyce Gross, Cuesta Benberry, Barbara Brackman and Bets Ramsey. You can read a short biography of each here.

Click here for an article by Merikay Waldvogel
about the AAQ Crazy Quilts contest.

Click here for Part 1 of an interview of Merikay by "The Collector's Weekly".

Click here for Part 2 about collecting American quilts by Merikay Waldvogel in "The Collector's Weekly".

Until the next TQHF update,

Karen Alexander
Click here to reach me by email.

PS: You can read more of my quilt research by clicking here.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Merikay Waldvogel Induction Celebration

Celebrating the Induction of Merikay Walvogel
and 30 Anniversary
of The Quilters Hall of Fame!


The event that officially kicks-off the Induction of a new Honoree into The Quilters Hall of Fame is the narrated walk-thru the Honoree conducts of her/his exhibit. Here we give you an overview of the exhibit as Merikay Waldvogel begins sharing her stories, followed by selected photos with accompanying exhibit notes prepared by the Honoree that appeared in the official commemorative program book.

Each new Inductee presents an exhibit of her/his choosing at the time she is inducted. Merikay Waldvogel chose quilts that reflected her 30-year journey as a quilt collector and quilt historian. All exhibit notes in this post in italics come from the TQHF 2009 exhibit notes written by the Honoree.

Photos in this report are courtesy of Merikay Waldvogel, Debbie Quinn, Barbara Brackman, Sue Jones and Rosalind Webster Perry. Please do not use without written permission from TQHF. )

(You can click on any photo to make it larger.)

A Quilt Career Begins

In 1980, I named my quilt business "Quilts Alive." I planned it as a side-line interest to my then full-time job as an English-As-A-Second-Language teacher. I would write about, lecture on, and research quilts. My business cards carried a line drawing of my first quilt—an oddly shaped North Carolina Lily quilt I bought in 1974. I had had an on-going conversation with that quilt. First it was, "Oh my gosh, that's a fabulous quilt!" Then when I owned it, I wanted to know more. I headed to the library. I networked with newfound quilt experts. The goal was to bring that quilt to life.

After all these years and long after I took on a full-time quilt career, the phrase "Quilts Alive" still encapsulate the joy I feel when studying quilts and quiltmakers. In a sense, I am bringing these historic textiles to life and giving voice to the women (and yes, men) who made them. This exhibit contains some of my favorite quilts: quilts collected for their fabrics or patterns; quilts made in Tennessee, my adopted home state; quilts that sparked a specific research project; quilts made by family and friends; and quilts I have made.

Here Waldvogel shares the story behind Milky Way Log Cabin made by Sara Frances Abernathy Smith circa 1900 of Pulaski, TN.

The quilt behind Merikay is a Basket Quilt - Maker Unknown, Knox County, TN, 1910s-1920s. To learn more about the Milky Way Log Cabin quilt, go to The Quilt Index here. When that page opens, click on "Search" at the top of the page and type in the name of the quilt or the maker's name.

(Coxcombe & Currants - left)

The Coxcombe & Currants quilt at the bottom is ca 1850s-1860s from an estate sale in Cleveland, TN. This is a pattern that must have originated in East Tennessee since I have found a dozen other quilts using this same large four-block wreath design with a historical link to the Cleveland area. This one is probably older than the other. It is more heavily quilted and the solid green fabric is typically found in 1850s quilts.

The Coxcombe & Currants at the top is similar in overall layout, but is less elaborately quilted and the green has faded to a beige color which often happens with green fabrics of 1880s quilts. The antique dealer was having the machine-stitched binding replaced with a hand-stitched one. I told her I would take it "as-is" since machine-stitching is an important clue to the date of the quilt.

Bird's Eye View of the Chicago World's Fair - by Richard H. Rowley, Chicago in 1933 (photo on right)

The Sears National Quilt Contest, held in conjunction with the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair, attracted over 24,000 entries probably because of the $1000 grand prize. There was a bonus prize of $200 if the grand-prize quilt was an original design commemorating the Fair’s theme—A Century of Progress. Unfortunately, the judges did not consider the original designs worthy of top regional prizes. Few reached the final round of judging.

In 1934, to calm the criticism, some of the originally designed quilts were displayed in the Sears Pavilion when the Chicago World’s Fair was re-opened for a second summer. This quilt with its entry tag clearly visible was photographed at that time by Sears. Barbara Brackman and I both tried to find “Mrs. Louise Rowley” and her quilt, to no avail for our book. We included only the photograph.

In 2001, I purchased the quilt at an antique auction in N. Georgia. The quilt came with a hand-written note saying, “This quilt was made by Richard H. Rowley, the son of Louise Rowley.” And there began another interesting research venture to find out more about Richard and why he made this quilt.

(You can see this quilt in the book "Patchwork Souvenirs of the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair" page 13.)

To the right, Jerry Ledbetter, Merikay's husband shares his quilt's story.
For Christmas one year, my husband asked people to make House Quilt blocks for his Christmas present. He hoped he would get enough to make a full-size bed quilt. With red solid and red print fabrics he gave them, some people did their own houses in appliqué. Others signed traditional quilt blocks that his mother made for them. As the blocks came in, he drafted a quilt layout with triple sashes. His mother, Virginia Ledbetter quilted it by hand on an old-fashioned quilt frame suspended from the ceiling.

This quilt was also exhibited at the National Quilting Association 1990 Show in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Sampler Quilt Top-only by Iora Almina Philo Pool, Morgan County, TN, 1870s-1880s. (Collection of Linda Claussen)

Bets Ramsey and I documented this quilt top in the mid 1980s and included it in our book Quilts of Tennessee. Nearly 25 years later, the quilt top appeared in an antique store in Chattanooga. Hearing of the news, Linda Claussen quickly made arrangements to acquire the quilt top. Jean Lester has been restoring it so that it can be displayed. This is its first public viewing. Bets Ramsey, writing about this quilt in 1986, surmised that the maker wanted “to make as many different blocks as she could. Having no regular set, the units flow into each other in happy medley.”

For more wonderful photos of this top, see: Ramsey and Waldvogel Quilts of Tennessee: Images of Domestic Life Prior to 1930 (Nashville: Rutledge Hill Press, 1986), 12 and 108 and Eva Earle Kent “The Tennessee Heritage Sampler: Reflecting Quiltmaking Tradition” in Quilters Newsletter Magazine #211 (April 1989).

Special friend Susan Salser had a bouquet designed to resemble the centerpiece applique bouquet of her grandmother Mary Gasperik's Indiana Wreath quilts. Salser and Waldvogel collaborated on the Mary Gasperik Quilt Index, the first private collection added to the Quilt Index. The bouquet designed by Carol and Randy Power of Marion, Indiana was a spectacular complement to both the induction banquet and the exhibit gallery.

To see Mary Gasperik's "Indiana Wreath" quilts, CLICK QUILT INDEX HERE. Then enter "Indiana Wreath" in the Search box.

Here it is — the North Carolina Lily quilt that got Waldvogel started!

Without any knowledge of quilts—new or old, I purchased this quilt one Saturday morning in the mid 1970s. I was looking for some artwork for my studio apartment in Chicago. The asymmetry of the patterning made me wonder about the maker and what was going on in her life. Unfortunately, I never found out.

I learned my first important lesson to always ask the seller for information about the quilt, the place it was made or the quiltmaker. Even without that key information (and maybe because of not having it), this anonymous quilt opened up an avenue of exploration that greatly enriched my life.

(Exhibited first: “A Patchwork Garden” at The Hunter Museum of Art, Chattanooga, TN April-May 1981. You can see a large photo of this quilt on page 62 of Quilt with the Best edited by Carol Cook Hagood (Oxmoor House, 1992). See the page with this photo in Quilt with the Best below in the display Waldvogel put together.)

A Small Side Exhibit:
Wandering Down Memory Lane

Books, photos, research notes, letters and other memorabilia from Merikay’s archives were nicely arranged in nearby display cases by Debi Shepler of Marion. This was an absorbing display of a busy researcher's challenges, accomplishments and humorous moments.

Waldvogel's collaboration with 2001 Honoree Barbara Brackman on Patchwork Souvenirs of the 1933 World’s Fair was a major contribution to quilt research.
Waldvogel also co-authored two books with Honoree Bets Ramsey and her own book Soft Covers for Hard Times added greatly to the knowledge of the revival in the interest of quilt making in the 1920s and 1930s.

The blue and off-white Square in a Square quilt in this cabinet was pieced by Waldvogel and machine-quilted by Shirley Greenhoe.

Waldvogel exhibit notes read: I made this quilt at a workshop led by Barbara Brackman at the Point Bonita Getaway in 2006. Started by [Honoree] Joyce Gross, the annual week-long retreat in California held in late January is now headed by Kathy Ronsheimer. Point Bonita is the time when I actually try to make quilts, but given its spectacular location on San Francisco Bay, I am more often out walking, hiking, and gazing at the sunsets.

Here you see Southern Quilts: Surviving Relics of The Civil War, one of her collaborative books written with Honoree Bets Ramsey.

Other Honoree Events

In addition to the special exhibit our Inductees present each year, they also presents a lecture and/or workshop depending upon their own specialty in the quilt world. This year Waldvogel organized a panel on quilt pattern collecting and presented a lecture.

Left to right: 2001 Honoree Barbara Brackman, Merikay Waldvogel and Connie Chunn of St. Louis, Missouri.

The two hour panel covered a lot of information. Barbara Brackman presented a humorous overview of collecting, sorting, and retrieving. She talked about how she originally compiled her pieced pattern encyclopedia and announced the forthcoming reprint of her applique encyclopedia.

Next Merikay Waldvogel showed how Round Robin pattern collectors compiled, listed, shared, and retrieved their patterns and in addition talked about the early newsletters and their impact on quilt pattern collecting.

Connie Chunn prepared a powerpoint presentation that detailed her findings about the people behind Ladies Art Co. of St. Louis, Missouri and showed examples of their numerous catalogs and patterns, sharing how she used the internet to purchase items for research. She also used the traditional methods of research including: genealogy, library reference materials, and other archives.

Waldvogel wrapped up the afternoon with a presentation of her kit quilt database and shared a handout on the data she has compiled to date. Then an audience member thrilled everyone by sharing a Tree of Life Progress 1369 kit quilt in the original brown envelope. By all reports, it was a rare find and very exciting to see in person!

In the Honoree lecture Merikay shared some of the fascinating stories behind her research on the 1933 Chicago World's Fair Contest.

Improvisation is the name of the game when unexpected things happen in life. When a projector bulb blows during a lecture, you punt so Waldvogel called in the troops. Fortunately she had brought large photo blow-ups of a number of pictures she had planned to project as slides and, of course, had some great quilts to share as well. Family members and friends had no idea that they would become a part of the show, but perform they did! Thank you one and all for your part in helping the show to go on!

The Autumn Leaves quilt behind Waldvogel in the above photo made by Edith Tessman Snyder won third place in the Philadelphia region of the Sears Contest and was one of only 30 final round quilts shown at the Chicago World's Fair. Merikay invited the quilt maker's daughter Pat Sittler of nearby Silver Lake, Indiana to bring the quilt and share her mother's story.

(Click on the following photos to make larger.)

The Official Induction Ceremony

At the official Induction Luncheon on Friday July 17, TQHF President Joyce Hostetler presented Merikay Waldvogel with her official Honoree medal, a tradition begun by TQHF founder Hazel Carter in 2004 when the Marie Webster House opened as the official headquarters of The Quilters Hall of Fame.

Next Waldvogel receives her Wild Woman doll pin, a tradition begun by Past President Karen Alexander in 2006 for Honorees and for those who have volunteered for at least 10 years.

And third, Merikay Waldvogel is presented with the official Honoree plaque that will hang permanently at The Quilters Hall of Fame in the grand parlor of the Marie Webster House.

In truth, this story could continue but for now we'll end with the simple but heart-felt sentiment seen in Waldvogel's commemorative brick in the restored Marie Webster garden pathway.

Merikay, may you continue to research, write and lecture and add to this illustrious body of of work you have produced in the past 30 years. We're all counting on it!

Comments or questions? Contact the author Karen Alexander by clicking here.

PS: You can read more of my quilt research by clicking here.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

More TQHF Information!

Click here to go to the TQHF website now. Our website contains additional information. Once on the TQHF website, hit the back backbutton at the top of your screen to return to the TQHF blog.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

2009 Quilt Challenge Winner!

"Marie's Roses" by Rose Marie Werner

TQHF is pleased to announce that Rose Marie Werner of Dundas, Minnesota won the Founder's Award for her beautiful rendition of Marie's Roses. Those readers who attended Celebration 2008 will recognize Rosie, as she is known to her friends, as the one who lead a kit quilt workshop and presented a lecture on Ruby McKim last year. Rosie is also a member of the American Quilt Study Group (AQSG).

Click here to see the complete story and more photos.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Merikay Waldvogel 2009 Honoree

Help us celebrate the induction of Merikay Waldvogel of Knoxville, TN, as our 39th Honoree, July 16-19, this summer! To access the CELEBRATION REGISTRATION FORM, CLICK HERE.

Merikay Waldvogel, one of the key players in the late 20th century quilt history revival, has served on the board of directors of both the American Quilt Study Group and The Alliance for American Quilts (AAQ). She has been a key player in building The Alliance’s online Quilt Index and has also taken a key role in the Quilt Treasures, two of the four programs that are the major contributions of AAQ to American cultural history. Waldvogel is a fellow of the International Quilt Study Center (IQSC) at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where she has worked with graduate students and has built an important database of quilt kits.

In 1983 Waldvogel began her collaboration with TQHF Honoree Bets Ramsey to co-direct the Quilts of Tennessee project through its mission of documenting the quilts of that state. Together they wrote the book Quilts of Tennessee: Images of Domestic Life Prior to 1930, and put together a traveling exhibit, one of many exhibits Waldvogel has curated over the years.

They later collaborated on the book Southern Quilts: Surviving Relics of the Civil War. In the Southeast, she is known for her writings about Southern women and their quilts in Appalachian Life and Smokies Life magazines. She also lectures frequently to quilt guilds, historical societies, and museums in the area.

In 2003, Rosalind Webster Perry and Waldvogel co-edited the first book of articles about the honorees, The Quilters Hall of Fame.

In addition to serving quilt history organizations, Waldvogel is recognized as an expert on quilts of the twentieth century quilt revival.

Her own book Soft Covers for Hard Times: Quiltmaking and the Great Depression is the key work on mid 20th century quilts and quiltmaking.

Her collaboration with 2001 Honoree Barbara Brackman on Patchwork Souvenirs of the 1933 World’s Fair was a major contribution to quilt research.

Left: examining a quilt made from a kit.

Waldvogel has labored over the creation of a Kit Quilt data base for a number of years, collecting images and manufacturing dates as well as other pertinent data.

Waldvogel's Uncoverings
articles for AQSG on the WPA Milwaukee Handicraft Project (1984), on Southern Linsey Quilts (1987), the Anne Orr Studio of Nashville (1990), Round Robin Pattern Collecting (1994), and the early history of Mountain Mist patterns (1995) were all groundbreaking research.

Waldvogel has written for Quilters Newsletter Magazine, McCall’s Quilting Vintage Quilts, American Patchwork and Quilting, and Quilting Today/Traditional Quiltworks.

Her latest book Childhood Treasures: Doll Quilts By and For Children highlights Lincoln, Nebraska quiltmaker Mary Ghormley’s extensive doll quilt collection.

Come join us in Marion to induct Merikay Waldvogel into The Quilters Hall of Fame!

Merikay Waldvogel is a graduate of Monmouth College in Monmouth, IL and the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. She was raised in St. Louis, Missouri, but now resides in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Comments or questions? Contact the author Karen Alexander by clicking here.

For additional information about The Quilters Hall of Fame's Celebration, July 16-19, 2009, send a postcard or letter to CELEBRATION 2009, P.O. Box 681, Marion, IN, 46952 or click here to Email us.

PS: You can read more of my quilt research by clicking here.

Sunday, May 3, 2009


The Quilters Hall of Fame is located in the restored historic Marie Webster House in Marion, Indiana, just northeast of Indianapolis.

We are celebrating Marie Webster's 150th birthday as well as the 30th anniversary of the founding of The Quilters Hall of Fame in 2009. Come visit us in 2009 and help us celebrate!

We hope you'll use this portal to keep up with current events, annual Celebration plans, contests, exhibits and one of a kind opportunities at TQHF.


The National Register of Historic Places is featuring Marie Webster in May. CLICK HERE to go to their website and see the article they wrote.

Thank you, National Register of Historic Places, for your coverage of Marie Webster and The Quilters Hall of Fame!

Baltimore Applique Society Donates Quilts for TQHF Auction!

The Baltimore Applique Society voted in 2008 to make some 30-50 one-block small finished quilts for our 2009 July 17 auction to raise funds for The Quilters Hall of Fame. They have used Marie Webster’s patterns from Rosalind Webster Perry's books A Joy Forever and Marie Webster’s Garden of Quilts and are stunning!

A big THANK YOU from The Quilters Hall of Fame to the Baltimore Applique Society for their on-going support of TQHF and the Marie Webster House over these many years!

Click here to visit the BAS website. Then click on the TQHF Auction link in the top left corner to see photos and to bid. Browse the BAS website while you are there and learn more about the wonderful work they are doing with applique quilts and their history.


Karen B. Alexander
The Quilters Hall of Fame
Public Relations
Past President
926 South Washington Street
P.O. Box 681
Marion, IN 46953
click here to Email us.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Baltimore Applique Society Supports TQHF

Two "Wayside Rose" quilts made by members of BAS in 2000.

The Baltimore Applique Society has provided great support for TQHF in the past. They made and donated 2 quilts in Marie’s "Wayside Roses" pattern in 2000. (See one block of "Wayside Roses" above.) One quilt was donated as an opportunity quilt and raised over $5,000 for TQHF. The other became a part of the TQHF permanent collection and is often displayed in “Marie’s Studio” in the Webster House.

In 2007 and 2008, BAS donated $1,000 to help with our expenses. BAS members also had quilts on exhibit at TQHF from March-July 2008. We are excited and very grateful to the BAS members for their past support and for undertaking this latest project for us.

Special thanks to Marylou McDonald for initiating the latest BAS one-block quilt fund-raiser project on behalf of TQHF. Be sure to browse the BAS website to see some of the work of their members. Also visit the Maryland Historical Society here, the home of many outstanding Baltimore Applique quilts.

I hope many of you will be attendance at the auction in Marion, Indiana come July and bid. If you have ever seen the quality of applique work that BAS members produce, you will know why! You will want to own one of these Triple Anniversary mementos!

PS: You can read more of my quilt research by clicking here.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Honoree Bets Ramsey in the News

Congratulations to Bets Ramsey our 2005 TQHF Honoree!

Tennessee Governor’s Arts Award Recipients Announced

Awards were presented to eight recipients on April 14, 2009, at an invitation-only reception in Nashville for Tennessee’s highest honor in the arts. These eight were selected because they exemplify the state’s finest cultural traditions. Established in 1971, the Governor’s Arts Awards was presented by Governor Phil Bredesen and First Lady Andrea Conte in a special ceremony produced by the Tennessee Arts Commission.

Recipients were selected from 56 nominees to receive awards in three different categories: The Folklife Heritage Award, the Arts Leadership Award and the Distinguished Artist Award. The Distinguished Artist Award recognizes artists of exceptional talent and creativity in any discipline, who over the course of a career, have contributed to the arts and have helped guide and influence directions, trends, and aesthetic practices on a state or national level.

The three outstanding Tennessee artists presented the Distinguished Artist Award were: John Baeder of Nashville, one of America’s most admired realist painters; Cherry Jones, born and raised Paris, Tennessee, one of the foremost theater actresses in the United States who currently portrays the first female president on the Fox television series 24; and Bets Ramsey of Nashville, who has a long distinguished career in the quilt world in many roles as a curator, educator, historian, writer, project director, organization founder, and award-winning fiber artist.

Comments or questions? Contact the author Karen Alexander by clicking here.

Click here to read more about Bets Ramsey.

PS: You can read more of my quilt research by clicking here.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Windham Fabrics Launches Marie Webster-Inspired Line

Windham Fabrics Celebrates Marie Webster

Click here to see a sneak-preview! Run, don't walk, to your nearest Quilt Shop and ask them to order the Marie Webster/TQHF line!

The Quilters Hall of Fame is excited to announce the launch of a Marie Webster inspired line of fabric by Windham Fabrics. With the launch of their Marie Webster inspired line, Windham Fabrics is honoring an early 20th century quilt designer known for her elegance and simplicity.

Over eighty years ago the public was electrified by the new design concepts and colors in Marie's appliqué quilts, which were inspired by nature and reflected Marie's belief that beauty should be combined with practicality. It was The Ladies Home Journal that introduced Marie's quilt designs into the mainstream of the world of home-decorative arts in 1911. The pastel coloration and unique rendering of repeat motifs lend an inviting overall sense of unity to her quilts.

Marie’s thirty-year career of designing, writing, lecturing, judging quilt contests and conducting a thriving cottage industry was a remarkable undertaking for a woman of 52 years of age. She was a pioneer in numerous ways of many quilt-related entrepreneurs that would emerge in the late 20th century. Marie lived in Marion, Indiana until 1942 when she retired from her quilt pattern business. She spent her last years with her son's family in Princeton, New Jersey, where she died on August 29, 1956.

The majority of Marie's original floral patterns were done in solid colors but in this 150th anniversary salute to Marie Webster, Windham Fabrics has ventured into a collection of small prints inspired by Marie’s overall quilt designs, in addition to the four solid colors offered.

Be sure to ask your local quilt shop to order the Marie Webster line from Windham Fabrics. Then make something to celebrate Marie’s 150th birthday and send us a photo.

With the opening of The Quilters Hall of Fame in 2004 in Marion, Indiana, in the restored Webster house, people can now visit Marie's studio where her quilts were designed and the first book dedicated solely to quilt history was written.

Please help us celebrate this remarkable woman’s life by asking your quilt guild or women’s group to throw a 150th birthday in her honor! You can see the details of the contest by clicking Marie Webster Birthday Party Blog.


Comments or questions? Contact the author Karen Alexander by clicking here.

PS: You can read more of my quilt research by clicking here.