March is Women's History Month, a time when we reflect, appreciate, and celebrate the contribution of women in all areas of life. One very important contribution women have made to our shared history is telling stories using needle and fabric. Crystal King (our resident historian :) has pulled together some beautiful quilts and a little about the women that made them! If this doesn't motivate you to label your quilts, I don't know what will! Haha!
Quilts have a history of their own. Quilts created warm bedding when textiles were expensive and scarce. A quilt commemorates a special event like a new baby, a marriage, or an important event in someone's life. During wartime, quilts helped raise funds to support the troops. After WW2, quilts became a form of artistic expression as women had more time and resources.
Women from all walks of life recorded their life journeys in the quilts they made. Whether slaves, housewives, or wives of prominent men, we can get a small glimpse of the lives they led and the things they cherished. These are just a few of the women who contributed their quilts to our shared history.
This hand-stitched star quilt was made by the wife of a local architect in Hillsborough, N.C. The star is made of red, green, and yellow calico, with white backing quilted in a floral pattern.
The Jane Stickle Quilt has 169 five-inch blocks, each has a different pattern, and totals 5,602 pieces surrounded by a unique scalloped border. It's displayed at the Bennington Museum. Jane was a simple farmer's wife, but she made a quilt of immense beauty and
and quilters come from all over the world just to see this quilt. This quilt is commonly known as "Dear Jane" now.
Harriet Powers, a former slave emancipated after the Civil War, is considered to be one of the most accomplished quilt makers of the 19th Century.
"Powers’ strength as an artist lies in what she was able to transmit through the fabric: her religious faith. Powers weaved her spiritualism into her quilts which is easily perceived through the individual blocks depicting biblical stories, local events, and celestial occurrences." Daily Art Magazine
Velvet and taffeta with feather stitching and embroidery. A young man engaged to Rebecca's Mother was ill with tuberculosis. He made suggestions of what to put on each square: flowers, strawberries, dates of his birth and college graduation, his fraternity pin, and his initials. His fiancee, sister, and Mother made the quilt. After he died, his Mother gave the quilt to his fiancee.
Marion Clark’s Aunt made this quilt to honor more than forty service members from Orange County, NC serving their country. The names are written on the stars separating each nine-patch block.
Florence Peto is described as a "spirited lady with a passion for quilts." She was an author, collector, historian, designer, lecturer, and quiltmaker inducted into The Quilters Hall of Fame in 1980.
“Now the quilt is finished and should it happily escape the ignominy of being locked away in a chest (use a quilt and love it!), it will bring cheer to the best bedchamber and perhaps acclaim for its creator."
No longer simple bedcovers, quilts help preserve our stories and demonstrate the creativity and resilience of women.
I hope you enjoyed this little trip through history celebrating a few of the women who left a legacy through their quilts.
For more quilt history, check out these previous blogs:
Happy Sunday, everyone!
The Quilted Life
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