Red and White Quilts, 1860-1950, Eastern United States

As a young woman, Joanna Rose began collecting the red-and-white quilts which were made up and down the East coast of the United States from the mid-eighteenth century.  By the 1950’s and ’60’s, they were folded up in corners  of old houses and used for the most mundane purposes.

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Most of the quilts were made primarily after 1868 when red madder dye was replaced with a cheaper red aniline dye and red cotton became affordable along with patterns for this kind of quilting.

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In March 2011 for her 80th birthday, Joanna Rose’s husband leased the Armory on Park Avenue, New York for six days to display the 650 quilts which she is donating to the American Folk Art Museum in NY.

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Entry was free.  People came from near and far.

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The quilts were mounted back to back on circular steel towers so that you felt enveloped in soft red and white light. 

 

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Thousands of years of work and decades of community built stitch by stitch to functional and aesthetic ends.  Devotion and skill layered for one hundred and fifty years. 

To be there was the greatest pleasure.

4 thoughts on “Red and White Quilts, 1860-1950, Eastern United States

    1. This was one of the most memorable exhibitions I have ever seen. Within a week of the start of the show, someone presented themselves at a small Ahmedabad (India) textile and embellishment concern to ask if these quilts could be duplicated!

      Good news travels fast.

  1. Your varied postes are bringing new experiences, opening new worlds to those not lucky enough to be able to experience them on their own. You’re doing a fantastic job !

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