Q.S.O.S. Spotlight

Did you know that next year–2014–will be the 15th anniversary of the Q.S.O.S. Project? Over the past 14 years we’ve collected almost 1,100 interviews with quilters around the world! This week’s Q.S.O.S. Spotlight shines on one of the very first Q.S.O.S. interviews from 1999, Paula Nadelstern (who’s also one of many special guests at our upcoming Quilters Take Manhattan event!). Paula shared with interviewer Lorraine Jackson a bit about her kaleidoscope quilts, her family, and the unusual places she finds inspiration (like photographs of snowflakes from the 1920’s)!

Paula started by explaining a bit about the touchstone quilt she brought with her: Kaleidoscopic XX: Elegant After Maths
14-31-D8-1-qsos-a0a1b6-a_15370Each quilt that I’ve done has lead to the next idea, and the next idea. So, working in a series, creating a body of work in one series, has really stretched me as an artist. I mean, there are ideas in here that are rather simple that I didn’t think about in my first quilt, or my fourth quilt, or my tenth quilt. I love the idea that what might look very simple to somebody looking at this quilt, were very new ideas to me that I came to because I really stretched the one idea. So, there’s that sense of it. I started working with a lot of silks in my quilts, starting at about my fourteenth or fifteenth quilt, so there’s a lot of silk in this quilt. The “elegant aftermath,” the aftermath really relates to the fact that, this is really the result of understanding the sense of the kaleidoscope and the geometry that is involved in the kaleidoscope, that I know now how to make an image seem as if it’s fleeting and is spontaneous, and really give the sense of a kaleidoscope, using the methods and materials of quiltmaking. The fabric part of quiltmaking is very, very important.

And shared a bit about her studio and very patient family!
 I live in my two bedroom apartment in New York City with my husband and my daughter. She’s a college student and she’s twenty-one and beginning to move out and I’m still working on my kitchen table. I’ve never had a studio, though I’ll probably be able to start working in her room a little bit… They don’t mind stepping on pins in the living room. At this point, they are used to the kitchen table being my studio instead of the place where they, you know, have dinner, that sort of thing. They’re very supportive.

Inspiration for a kaleidoscopic quilt can start anywhere…
I’ve written two books one on group quilts and one on the kaleidoscope method. And a few other little things for Dover. And I’m now starting a book on snowflakes… Yes, actually a snowflake is really a six-sided image, in some ways it’s very much like the quilt we have in front of us. Except that basically I’ll use a blue and white palette. Not a very rigid blue and white palette, really stretching that but then also using it in the shape of a snowflake. I will be working in one sixth, designing the snowflake from that one sixth and then duplicating that six times. Photomicrographs of snowflakes were taken in Vermont in the 1920’s so we have these small, little images that I’ve used to identify the specifics of a snowflake. I’ve made one quilt like that and now I’m doing a book about it.
Interested in reading more about Paula? You can find her interview and more quilt stories at the Quilters’ S.O.S.- Save Our Stories page on the Alliance’s site!

EmmaParker

Posted by Emma Parker
Project Manager,  Quilters’ S.O.S.- Save Our Stories
qsos@quiltalliance.org

Plaid Fad.

On this day in 1975, the Scottish pop group the Bay City Rollers made their U.S. debut on the NBC’s variety program Saturday Night Live with Howard Cosell (the precursor to the still-running Saturday Night Live). Cosell compared the tartan-clad group to the Beatles, and while they did enjoy a brief success with preteen American fans dressed in plaid, the Rollers soon lost popularity to heartthrobs like Shaun Cassidy and Andy Gibb.

Lillian Hudson Griffin of Monroe, Louisiana machine appliqued and pieced and hand quilted this French Log Cabin, titled “Playing with Plaids on the Courthouse Steps,” in 1998 using plaid and striped fabric she had collected.  Griffin documented her quilt in 2001 during the Louisiana Quilt Documentation Project.

View this quilt on The Quilt Index to read more about its history, design and construction. Be sure to use the zoom tool for a detailed view.

Source:
http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/the-bay-city-rollers-make-their-us-debut-on-saturday-night-live-with-howard-cosell


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Posted by Amy E. Milne
Executive Director, Quilt Alliance
amy.milne@quiltalliance.org

Twigs from the ’50’s.

On this day in 1949, English supermodel and fashion icon Lesley Hornby (later nicknamed Twiggy) was born in the northwest London suburb of Neasden. Twiggy was known for her slim figure, androgynous look, large eyes with long lashes and short hair. Her mother, a factory worker in a printing firm, taught her to sew as a child, and she used the skill to make her own clothing.  Recently, Twiggy launched a clothing line and blogs for HSN.

This “Bird on Twig” quilt was hand pieced, appliqued and quilted in Michigan in the 1950’s by an unknown quilter. The owner, an antique dealer from Eastpointe, Michigan who purchased the quilt, documented it during the Michigan Quilt Project.

View this quilt on The Quilt Index to read more about its history, design and construction. Be sure to use the zoom tool for a detailed view.

Source:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twiggy


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Posted by Amy E. Milne
Executive Director, Quilt Alliance
amy.milne@quiltalliance.org

Love from Sweden.

On this day in 1905, Hollywood silent film star Greta Lovisa Gustafsson (Garbo) was born in Sodermalm, Stockholm, Sweden. “Garbo” began life as a shy daydreamer in a impoverished family of five in a working class slum. After studying acting in Stockholm, she was recruited by Louis B. Mayer, vice president of MGM to come to New York at age twenty. Young Garbo, who spoke no English at that point, was wisked away by the studio to a dentist and a weight loss specialist. Garbo went on to become one of Hollywood’s cult stars, nominated three times for an Academy Award and in 1999 the American Film Institute ranked Garbo fifth on their list of greatest female stars of all time.

Margreta Larson Lindberg, also of Swedish descent, made this one patch quilt with wool batting between 1876-1900 in Cambridge, Minnesota. Lindberg was a farm wife and mother of four who made two or three quilts in her life according to the Quilt Index record, contributed to The Quilt Index during the Minnesota Quilt Project.

View this quilt on The Quilt Index to read more about its history, design and construction. Be sure to use the zoom tool for a detailed view.

Source:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greta_Garbo
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Posted by Amy E. Milne
Executive Director, Quilt Alliance
amy.milne@quiltalliance.org

The Oprah Effect.

On this day in 1996, American daytime talk show host Oprah Winfrey launched her television book club. Oprah’s Book Club surprised the publishing world that did not anticipate the “Oprah effect,” the entertainer’s ability to promote and sell products she recommended on her show. Many of her picks reached over 1 million copies sold.

The Quilting Queens, a group made up of volunteers at the Hurricane Relief Center in Minden, Louisiana, made this portrait quilt for Oprah Winfrey to thank her for the donations she made to rescue workers during the 2005 storms. The quilt was made from leftover clothing donated to the relief center. The group chose purple clothing in reference to Oprah’s role in the movie The Color Purple. Local third-grade students helped to piece the quilt, and local artist Larry Milford designed and executed the center portrait of Oprah. This quilt’s history is preserved thanks to the Louisiana Quilt Documentation Project.

View this quilt on The Quilt Index to read more about its history, design and construction. Be sure to use the zoom tool for a detailed view.

Source:
http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/oprah-launches-influential-book-club
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Posted by Amy E. Milne
Executive Director, Quilt Alliance
amy.milne@quiltalliance.org

Road to Recovery.

On this day in 1908, William Durant created General Motors in New Jersey. Durant, a high school dropout, made his fortune building horse-drawn carriages and hated the noisy, smelly and dangerous automobile. Despite this lack of passion, his company dominated the American auto industry for decades. Durant went bankrupt during the Great Depression and spent his final years managing a bowling alley in Flint, Michigan.

Hungarian immigrant and award-winning quilter Mary Gasperik made this original quilt, “Road to Recovery,” for a contest commemorating the 1939 New York World’s Fair, titled “Better Living in the World of Tomorrow.” The theme of the fair was transportation, perhaps explaining Gasperik’s decision to depict a road with a traveling car.  Gasperik’s quilts were dispersed among her descendants, and grand-daughter Susan Salser spearheaded the work of documenting and sharing the Gasperik Collection on The Quilt Index.

View this quilt on The Quilt Index to read more about its history, design and construction. Be sure to use the zoom tool for a detailed view.

Source:
http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/william-durant-creates-general-motors


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Posted by Amy E. Milne
Executive Director, Quilt Alliance
amy.milne@quiltalliance.org

Q.S.O.S. Spotlight

In just under 2 weeks, the Quilt Alliance will headed to New York City for our Quilters Take Manhattan event. We’re busy preparing for the event, so we’re definitely in a New York state of mind! It seemed only fitting that we shine this week’s Q.S.O.S. Spotlight on New York Beauty quilts. There were a number of Q.S.O.S. interviews that featured a quilt made with New York Beauty blocks and even more that had a story about tacking this beauty of a block!

Jeri McKay shares a  red and white New York Beauty made by her great-great-grandmother. It’s both a stunning quilt and a symbol of Jeri’s life as a New Yorker!
ImageOkay, that was made by my great great grandmother Edna Frances Sanders Carrell. And it was passed on to me by my aunt who had a few of her quilts. I’m the only one now that has one of her quilts in the family. We never knew what happened to the others. She gave them to friends, but not to family at the time. It’s a New York Beauty and I found that I was given that in California, where I was born and raised. But the New York Beauty was not in a state that any of my family ever lived in. And it turned out that I lived the last half of my life in New York. And so it was really quite amazing how certain quilt patterns I have picked through my life, which I’ll probably mention later have turned out to be very portentous in what has happened in my future.

New York City might be bustling, but it was the natural world that inspired Jean Wells Keenan’s New York Beauty!

14-31-78-1-qsos-a0a0r8-a_15370

“Well I am kind of obsessed with gardening at the moment. I love to garden and Ihave always been a real outdoor person and like hiking and all of that and have been tuned into nature so I think most of my quilts have a feeling coming from nature because that is where I get inspired from. And I think what has happened with me personally is that you see things in nature that you might not be able to think up yourself like color combinations because it works there then it is going to work in a quilt so I really let that be my guide. And I don’t think I could have done this quilt had I not been a gardener and really tuned into the subject matter that inspired me.”

 Lucinda Mayan combined a 19th century pattern with a celebration of the upcoming 21st century:
14-31-22-1-qsos-a0a0j2-a_15370“It’s called the “Millennium Beauty.” It’s a New York Beauty design. I think that’s where all those little points get their name. It has eight millennium prints throughout the quilt. In the center the fabric has “Millennium” in fourteen different languages. It was just a way of expressing the year 2000 and it’s coming. I can’t believe it’s the year 2000, but it is. I quilted for a long time, and it was challenging. I wanted something that would challenge me. I like the traditional quilts, especially when you look at some of the older quilts. They have so much work and detail. I’m amazed at what they did years ago. You can still look back at them and appreciate what they did. I don’t know that we’ve gotten any better at what we’re doing. We’ve gotten faster. We’ve gotten more accurate ways of making our pieces, but what they did was just wonderful. As soon as I saw this one I thought, ‘Oh, I’d like to make that.’ When the challenge came I thought, ‘Well, this is what I want to do.’ I love fabric. I appreciate it. So I wanted a design where you could appreciate the fabric and what the artist did to design it. I just took the 2000 theme and went with it.”

Interested in reading more? You can find more quilt stories at the Quilters’ S.O.S.- Save Our Stories page on the Alliance’s site!

EmmaParker

Posted by Emma Parker
Project Manager,  Quilters’ S.O.S.- Save Our Stories
qsos@quiltalliance.org

The Keys of Creativity.

On this day in 1814, Francis Scott Key wrote a poem that was later set to music and, in 1931, became America’s national anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner. Key’s inspiration was a lone U.S. flag flying over Fort Henry after bombardment by the British during the War of 1812: “And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air, Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.”

Mary Tayloe Lloyd Key, wife of Frances Scott Key, hand pieced, hand appliqued and hand embellished this 109” x 109” counterpane titled “Mariner’s Compass and Chips and Whetstones” between 1835-1850. The quilt is now in the permanent collection of the DAR Museum.  The quilt was included in an exhibit titled “Quilts from a Young Country” at the 2008 International Quilt Festival in Houston, Texas.

View this quilt on The Quilt Index to read more about its history, design and construction. Be sure to use the zoom tool for a detailed view.

Source:
http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/key-pens-star-spangled-banner


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Posted by Amy E. Milne
Executive Director, Quilt Alliance
amy.milne@quiltalliance.org

New Love in Newport.

On this day in 1953, Senator John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts married Jacqueline Lee Bouvier, a photographer for the Washington Times-Herald, at St. Mary’s church in Newport, Rhode Island. Wedding guests numbered over 750 and another 3,000 onlookers waited outside the church. Kennedy was elected U.S. President seven years later, the youngest man to ever take this office.

This Kaleidoscope quilt top was made around 1919 in Newport, Rhode Island.  The owner discovered the quilt and others in an old sea chest in his family home, and documented in the Rhode Island Quilt Documentation Project in 1992. From this record: “Owner is unsure of who made this and other quilts found with it, but believes it to be one of three women: Pamela Albro-owner’s great grandmother, Fanny Albro Barker-owner’s grandmother, or Rebecca Barker Dennis-owner’s aunt.”

View this quilt on The Quilt Index to read more about its history, design and construction. Be sure to use the zoom tool for a detailed view.

Source:
http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/jfk-marries-jacqueline-bouvier

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Posted by Amy E. Milne
Executive Director, Quilt Alliance
amy.milne@quiltalliance.org

Jinny Beyer: Looking Out Windows

Today on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, I’d like to share video footage of the Quilters’ S.O.S. – Save Our Stories (Q.S.O.S.) interview with pioneering fabric designer, quilter, teacher and entrepreneur Jinny Beyer conducted by eQuilter.com co-owner Luana Rubin at our Not Fade Away conference held July 20, 2013.

Q.S.O.S. is the Quilt Alliance’s oral history project about quiltmakers. Volunteers all over the U.S. and abroad have interviewed more than 1,200 quiltmakers for this project since 1999. The collection is presented via written transcripts and photographs on the Quilt Alliance website and is permanently archived at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. On occasion, we videotape Q.S.O.S. interviews to demonstrate how powerful these interviews are how important the project is. Watch these interviews along with other stories of quilts and quiltmakers on our Quilt Alliance Youtube channel.

All Q.S.O.S. interviewees are asked to bring with them a “touchstone” object (usually a quilt) that has a special meaning to them. Some people choose to bring their first quilt, some bring their first award-winner, and others choose quilts associated with life events–celebration, comfort, love and loss. Jinny’s touchstone quilt, titled “Windows,” is a large hand-pieced and hand-quilted mosaic quilt made from fabrics she designed, inspired by Italian floor designs and in response to the terrible events of 9/11.

Jinny Beyer with her quilt, “Windows,” on July 20, 2013 at the Not Fade Away conference in Herndon, Virginia.

On the morning of September 11, 2001, Beyer was packing for a trip to Italy to gather inspiration for a quilt to be shared at her annual quilt seminar when a friend phoned to let her know of the attacks. Her trip was canceled and Beyer learned that a good friend had been lost in the Pentagon crash. Regrouping, she began to design a mosaic quilt that would feature the colors and icons that become so prevalent in media coverage of the events–the ash and dust of the wreckage, and the American flag. Jinny shares the story on her website here.

Watch the Q.S.O.S. interview to hear Jinny’s story.

Anyone can download the Q.S.O.S. manual and interview a quiltmaker in their community. Volunteers work independently to add interviews to Q.S.O.S. sub projects, including 43 state projects, 14 organizations (museums, institutions, regional quilt groups), 8 guilds and 9 country projects.

qsoslogo500wide_noURLorlog

Amy Milne headshot

Posted by Amy E. Milne
Executive Director, Quilt Alliance
amy.milne@quiltalliance.org