Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Baltimore Applique and Williamsburg

As I prepared for my trip to The Applique Academy in Williamsburg VA, I began to think once again of the book by Dena Katzenburg, more a catalog really for an exhibit of beautiful quilts in the early 1980's. I have not seen any pictures of what's inside and do not for a moment think I have not tried. However if the block we have here is any indication of what is to come, I really want to own this book. It is called Baltimore Album Quilts by Dena Katzenburg. Soooo... if you don't care much for yours? Just kidding, I think I will eventually pony up the money it will take to be a proud owner of this wonderful publication. I would like to say that the reason I love my work for the Academy is that every student is there for the same reason. That is to share the love of the craft, see what others are doing, and seriously, every student listens to the teacher, does what she tells them to do when she tells them to do it and still likes the teacher. You laugh, but things can totally go in the opposite direction. You will have to trust me on this one. because the Academy is only a few blocks from Colonial Williamsburg, I also take the time every year to visit the Abby Aldridge Rockefeller Folk Art Museum which is in the Dewitt Wallace, a museum which is for the most part underground. There is almost always at least one album quilt on display and oh so much more. year before last, there was a beautiful display of eloborately quilted petticoats. Yum!
The quilt above is part of the collection of album quilts at the Maryland Historical Society. if you are reading this post with interest, I would suggest that you investigate their link. They have a wonderful collection of album quilts. In 1994, I entered my album quilt in The Baltimore Album Revival contest at The Quilter's Heritage Celebration in Lancaster PA. One of the activities was a trip to the Maryland Historical Society. They had on display 16 exquisite Baltimore Album quilts and when the exhibit was due to change a couple of months later, they displayed 16 more! I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how I might get myself back there in the fall of that year. Just did not happen. However the web sight has a great representation of their quilt collections in a kind of interactive slide show. I am happy to be able to tell you that my quilt won Best In Class and went on the win Best In Show at Pacific International Quilt Festival.

This is the best picture I could find of this monumental quilt. My own quilt a 25 block quilt with a border. As a top it was 102 inches square, and quilted down to ninety eight and one half inches. I haven't found information on how large this one but think it is safe to say that it is more than a bit larger than my own. There is an awesome 42 blocks in addition to a complex vine border. You might want to visit for another look at great quilts and articles.

This another Maryland Historical Society quilt which I selected for you to see because of the border. Many album quilts had no border at all, or perhaps several inches of a gorgeous chintz. This quilt indeed has an applique border. It is totally amazing to see this border where almost every square inch is occupied by flowers, stems and or leaves. I have seen this border on a couple of other quilts of the period and so am guessing the designer shared her patterns, or perhaps the design was perhaps the work of a professional quilt designer and maker. I especially like it that the block arrangement is definitely planned with corner placement consisting of similar designs, corner blocks in the row around the center eagle block are wreaths and the blocks in between are all baskets. This artist had a plan and followed it. It has an air of elegance, with a hint of folk art whimsey. I hope you enjoy this post and I will be thinking of you all while I am slogging through the snow in Williamsburg, given I even get to Williamsburg! Think of me.

3 comments: said...

Oh, I have been thinking of you! Are you "slogging" through the snow? Guess it would just be torture to tell you that it was 63* today. Beautiful blog post about the Baltimore Album Quilts!! Hope all went well in Williamsburg.


Margaret said...

I love my Dena Katzenburg book. This would be a perfect one for your collection. Thanks for posting the photos of the BMA collection. I hope they put the quilts back on display. I loved visiting them a few years ago.

Purple Pam said...

Thank you for sharing pictures of those beautiful Baltimore Album quilts. They are exquisite. Having seen your quilt, I know first hand that it is exquisite as well. Hope you stay warm and dry during your slogging adventure.