NYC & Quilts

Barnaby and I arrived in New York a few days ago. We’re on our way to Egypt and Jordan, and are happily breaking up the long flights with a few days in New York at both ends of the trip. We were very lucky to arrive after the big Christmas blizzard and are enjoying relatively balmy weather for this time of year. There’s still snow piled up in the street but the temperatures have been in the 30s and 40s — very pleasant for walking.

Our friends Dave and Carolyn from Tucson joined us for a couple of days. We all fly to Amman tomorrow and meet up with the rest of our group. Carolyn is an avid quilter so she and I spent the afternoon at the American Folk Art Museum enjoying their current quilt show. I learned so much from Carolyn and have an even greater appreciation for this special art form.

This quilt isn’t complete: it’s a quilt top (it doesn’t have the batting or middle layer, or the backing — so it hasn’t actually been “quilted’), perhaps because it was made in anticipation of a wedding that did not take place. Notice there’s no man next to the woman at the top. It contains many symbols of fertility: the pairs of animals, the nesting birds, and fruit and flowers. From 1860 to 1863 local ads advertised Hannibal the elephant (identified here as “Hanibal”), as performing in traveling circuses in New York City and throughout the Hudson Valley, so the quilt is thought to have come from Albany, New York, and is dated 1858 – 1863.

Detail from Bird of Paradise quilt

Another of my favorites is this beauty by Isabell Bester.  Strip piecing is a primary construction technique in West African and Caribbean textiles.

I admit I am drawn to the less traditional quilts — though they are all quite stunning. Here’s a photo of Carolyn. Notice the size of the quilts. Except for a couple crib quilts they were all large.

I’m sorry my photos aren’t in better focus — they were all taken with my iPhone using no flash.

Okay — one more. This is a Log Cabin Quilt, Barn Raising Variation from Connecticut 1875 – 1885. This one is made of silk and was probably intended for decorative use and removed from the bed before sleeping. The detail was spectacular.

Detail from the Log Cabin quilt

Since I miss my dogs already, here’s a photo I took last week on our drive down to Palm Desert the day after Christmas. The desert was completely socked in with clouds — a sight I have never seen before. We stopped at a view-point and I took a couple of photos.

Happy New Year!

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About Anne Finch

Anne Finch is a housewife living in Idyllwild, California. She and her husband Barnaby love to travel. They also love their hometown. View all posts by Anne Finch

One response to “NYC & Quilts

  • Catherine Holliss

    Whit’s mother is an avid quilter and has created some pieces of amazing art within the form. I will try to get some photos when we go visit her this weekend. Have a fantastic trip (don’t you always?) and keep the stories coming! xc

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