Wednesday, June 5, 2013

More about the past

I wrote yesterday about the book, "Erica Wilson's Quilts of America," documenting a contest that was held at the American bicentennial.  A few of the winning quilts were distinguished.  The top prizewinner was Jinny Beyer, who went on to fame and fortune as a teacher and author.

Interestingly, many of the photos in the book followed the old-style approach of showing the quilts draped over chairs or otherwise displayed in picturesque settings, rather than just pinned up on a neutral background for photography.  I've written about this trend in the past, because the Modern Quilting folks favor this method of documentation and I don't.  I got beat up bigtime a couple of years ago for suggesting that some of the Modern Quilting types were doing their own work a disservice by portraying it this way.  I thought this was a new and unpleasant trend, but apparently it is an old and unpleasant trend.

So here's the top prizewinner, artfully displayed on a driveway:

Jinny Beyer, Ray of Light

And some other quilts that I thought were interesting, but couldn't tell for sure because I could only see parts of them:

Despite the traditional tone of the entire show, it's clear that quilters in the mid-70s were experimenting with lots of new techniques.  The all-white quilt above was made from polyester knit.  (Reba White, the maker, said it was "a departure from the traditional, but it gave the whole thing a sculptural yet soft, squashy feel.")

The quilt immediately above was one of a genre that came and went in the 70s: a quilt-as-you-go technique in which you sewed one pre-composed strip to a backing fabric, then laid in some stuffing, folded the strip down to cover the stuffing, and sewed the next strip down.  This one, made by Lisa Courtney, looks pretty nifty and I wish I could see the whole thing.

I'll write more about this book tomorrow.


  1. This last quilt is sort of interesting to me as I'm working on a couple of ideas where the final piece is made up of many stuffed components or layered, stitched and reverse applique components that will then be put together to form the final piece. I don't consider myself a quilter per se but have a love of art quilts and have always incorporated hand stitching and some hand quilting in my work. Funny to see that this is not an original idea (I suspected as much!).--Julie

  2. Ah, the 70s - I made a stripey, puffy quilt-as-you go quilt from corduroy leftovers from the quilt made from jeans from thrift stores in Calgary -- happy memories but I no longer have the quilt, somehow the ex-husband got that one. I've used the technique several times since, for smaller pieces that haven't yet been finished - using some non-traditional things to stuff the tunnels - it's a technique with possibilities.