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Column #43

A Star Studied Event

Louise's Stars by Nancy Ostman

Mennonite Lone Star by Bobbi Finley

Eagle Medallion by Carol Godreau and Maureen Gregoire

When textile researcher, quilt historian, and Quilter’s Hall of Fame honoree Sally Garoutte started the American Quilt Study Group (AQSG) in 1980, her goal was “to preserve the story of quiltmaking—past, present, and future.”

By the time she died in 1989, the organization was well on its way to becoming one of the premier sources for scholarly examination of quilts and quilting in the world. Surely, Sally would have been especially pleased to see that legacy expand in a particularly tactile way in 2000, when the AQSG launched its first biennial Quilt Study.

AQSG members Penny Tucker, Bobbi Finley, Terry Clothier Thompson, and Terry Barnes came up with the idea to “replicate, either exactly or as an interpretation, a quilt of a particular style or period...[so that] members can learn from the textile the history, techniques, and perhaps something of the person who made the original.”

First, they challenged the membership to reproduce full-sized chintz quilts. They followed that up with two-color quilts, crib quilts, pre-1840 quilts, and red and green mid-19th century quilts, with each challenge drawing more participants.

When it came time to plan the 2010 Quilt Study, Penny and Bobbi, who had been overseeing the Quilt Study effort, decided that they were ready to hand the reins to someone else, and Greta VanDenBerg-Nestle (see the Suzy’s Fancy™ column “Vintage Stitching”) agreed to take on the task. Georgia Mildfelt Chiarella later joined her has co-chair.

“The theme for 2010 of 19th Century Star Quilts was selected to compliment the theme being planned for AQSG’s 31st annual seminar in Minneapolis, Minnesota,” said Greta. “I hoped that allowing quilts made throughout the 19th century would allow some variety in the types of star quilts used for inspiration.”

Each entry had to adhere to a set of published guidelines and had to include a photograph of the inspiration quilt as well as a written statement that described how the inspiration quilt was selected, the approach taken in constructing the resulting study quilt, and what the participant learned from making the study quilt. Study quilts were limited to a 200” perimeter and only AQSG members could participate.

Greta was thrilled with the response. “Every participant’s experience gained through the Quilt Study is unique and every one has a story to tell,” she said. “For instance, Nancy Ostman’s quilt, Louise’s Stars, is a perfect example of a study quilt inspired by the original, which is owned by The History Center of Tompkins County in Ithica, New York.  She took elements from the original quilt known as Treman Star, dated 1840-1857, and created a wonderful quilt of her own. Nancy was fortunate that her inspiration included information about the original maker, which gave her some possible clues regarding coloration of the original quilt.

“I personally view the Quilt Study as an opportunity to explore quilt history and research without the commitment required for an article or research paper. Participants are encouraged to explore some characteristic of their inspiration quilt and learn through the process of making a quilt of their own,” Greta continues. “Some participants are fortunate to have quilts with a known provenance, which allows them to look into the original quiltmakers’ lives.  Others may choose to explore some characteristic of their inspiration quilt, such as the design used in the quilt or the construction methods.  Participants are allowed to replicate their inspiration in its entirety or some portion thereof, or just simply be inspired by the original to create their own design that reflects some aspect of their inspiration quilt.”

The challenge produced 39 study quilts, all of which were displayed at the AQSG annual seminar. Each quilt, along with its story, can be seen by clicking here. The results were so spectacular that 25 of them were selected to tour the country to represent AQSG at various quilt-related events. In addition to having been shown at International Quilt Festival in the fall of 2010, the Star Quilts will travel to the following venues:

  • July – August 2011: New England Quilt Museum, Lowell, MA
  • September 17-18, 2011: Faithful Circle Quilters Show, Woodridge, IL
  • November 2011 – January 2012: Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum, Golden, CO
  • March 2012: Dallas Quilt Celebration, Dallas, TX
  • April – August 2012:
    International Quilt Study Center & Museum, Lincoln, NE

Moreover, a book of the quilts, Stars! A Study of 19th Century Star Quilts by the American Quilt Study Group, has been published by The Kansas City Star and AQSG. All proceeds will benefit the American Quilt Study Group. Sally Garoutte would be proud indeed!

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Archived blogs:

Column 139: Passage Quilts
Column 138: Home of the Brave Quilts
Column 137: The Story of Fabric Yo-Yos
Column 136: Christmas in July
Column 135: Trifles
Column 134: Deaf Initiatives—Communicating Through Quilts
Column 133: My Betty Boop Quilt
Column 132: Maura Grace Ambrose
Column 131: All You Need Is Love
Column 130: Chicken Linens
Column 129: The Quilted Chuppah
Column 128: Patchwork Around the World: Yoruba Dance Costumes
Column 127: The Bowers Co-Op Quilts
Column 126: Fon Appliqué and Haitian Voodoo Flags
Column 125: The Quilt Garden at The North Carolina Arboretum
Column 124: Harriet Powers and Handful’s Mauma
Column 123: Quilters de Mexico
Column 122: An Appliquéd Surprise
Column 121: Matisse’s Fabric Stash
Column 120: Soogan—The Cowboy’s Quilt
Column 119: The Ron Swanson Quilt
Column 118: HClarkdale, Georgia—A Thread of History
Column 117: How WWI Changed the Color of Quilts in the United States
Column 116: Wagga—The Bushman’s Quilt
Column 115: All in the Family
Column 114: The Alabama State Quilt
Column 113: Balloon Quilts of Albuquerque
Column 112: The Family That Quilts Together, Stays Together
Column 111: Two Rivers, Three Sisters
Column 110: Quilters Helping Quilters
Column 109: Community Cookbooks and Fundraiser Quilts—Parallel Histories
Column 108: Quilting to Freedom
Column 107: National Quilting Day
Column 106: The Airing of the Quilts
Column 105: A Call for a National Juneteenth Commemorative Quilt
Column 104: Dominoes
Column 103: 1936 Texas Centennial Bluebonnet Quilt
Column 102: Helen Blackstone, A Texas Quilter
Column 101: Montana CattleWomen Anniversary Brand Quilt
Column 100: 100th Suzy's Fancy Column!
Column 99: Montana Stockgrowers Anniversary Brand Quilt
Column 98: The Tobacco Sack Connection
Column 97: Meet the Sisters Who Are State Fair Quilting Queens
Column 96: The connection between fairs and quilts.
Column 95: Her Mother Pieced Quilts
Column 94: Rebecca Barker’s Quiltscapes
Column 93: The Thread and Thimble Club Mystery
Column 92: The Ballerina Quilter
Column 91: Grandmother's Flower Garden Comes Alive at Texas Quilt Museum
Column 90: Leitmotif for a Lifelong Love Affair
Column 89: Quilting in The Bahamas
Column 88: Joan of Arc: A Quilter's Inspiration
Column 87: Home Demonstration Clubs and Quilting
Column 86: Linzi Upton and the Quilted Yurt
Column 85: A Bounty of Quilts
Column 84: Desert Trader
Column 83: Quilts and the Women’s Liberation Movement
Column 82: Replicating the Past: Reproduction Fabrics for Today’s Quilts
Column 81: Why So Many Quilt Shops in Bozeman, Montana?
Column 80: Southeastern Quilt and Textile Museum
Column 79: 54 Tons of Quilt
Column 78: Ollie Steele Burden’s Quilt Blocks
Column 77: Quilting with AMD
Column 76: Maverick Quilts and Cowgirls
Column 75: The Modern Quilt Guild—Cyberculture Quilting Ramps Up
Column 74: The Membership Quilt—Czech Quilting in Texas
Column 73: Maximum Security Quilts
Column 72: Author: Terri Thayer
Column 71: The Christmas Quilt
Column 70: New Mexico Centennial Quilt
Column 69: Scrub Quilts
Column 68: “Think Pink” Quilt Raises Funds for Rare Cancer Research
Column 67: Righting Old Wrongs.
Column 66: 100 Years, 100 Quilts - More on the Arizona Centennial.
Column 65: Arizona Centennial Quilt Project
Column 64: Capt. John Files Tom’s Family Tree
Column 63: The Fat Quarters
Column 62: Quilt Fiction Author: Clare O’Donohue
Column 61: Louisiana Bicentennial Quilt
Column 60: The Camo Quilt Project.
Column 59: Thread Wit
Column 58: Ralli Quilts
Column 57: Preschool Quilters
Column 56: The Story Quilt
Column 55: Red and Green Quilts
Column 54: On the Trail
Column 53: Quilt Trail Gathering
Column 52: True Confessions: First Quilt
Column 51: Quilted Pages
Column 50: Doll Quilts
Column 49: More Than a Quilt Shop
Column 48: Las Colchas of the Texas-Mexico Border
Column 47: Literary Gifts
Column 46: A Different Way of Seeing
Column 45: Sampling
Column 44: Hen and Chicks
Column 43: A Star Studied Event
Column 42: Shoo Fly Pattern
Column 41: Awareness Quilts
Column 40: Tivaevae
Column 39: UnOILed UnspOILed Coast Quilt Project
Column 38: Katrina Recovery Quilts
Column 37: Quilted Vermont
Column 36: The Labyrinth Quilt—A Meditative Endeavor

See other archived columns here

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