Wednesday, March 30, 2011

More Words . . . About the Infinite Variety Exhibit

If Joanna Rose's red & white quilts have captured your imagination, you might want to read what others have had to say:

Simon Schama in the Financial Times
James Barron in the New York Times
Katherine Clarke in the Wall Street Journal
Marlon Bishop on WNBC
Lizzie Crocker in The Daily Beast
Angela Riechers in Metropolis Magazine
Samuel Parker in The Last Magazine
Alice Dana Spencer in Handeye Magazine
Martha Stewart on The Martha Blog
Paddy Johnson on Art Fag City
James Andrew on What is James Wearing
BWW News Desk on Broadway

I believe the exhibit will turn out to have an important impact on quilts and quilt exhibits, both because of the wonderful exhibit design and the treatment of these sometimes quite simply made quilts as art.

Speaking of exhibit design,  since I've been home, I've read that the circular nature of the pavillions created as part of the exhibit are a nod to the quilting circles and bees, also more literally represented by the chairs, draped with quilts at the center of the show.  I like that idea.

Red & White quilts on chairs

Words on Quilts

I love words on quilts and, apparently, so does Joanna Rose, as there were many quilts with words as well as signature quilts from her collection in Infinite Variety.

Red & White quilt

Many people stood looking up at this quilt for a while, puzzling out it's meaning ... happily satisfied when they saw the names, pieced from small hexagons inside the larger ones.

Red & White signature quiltHere are a couple more of my photos of a couple of the word quilts and signature quilts from the show (as usual, click for a larger image)

On the redwork quilt on the left, names are embroidered on the embroidered blades of a fan–just like one you might have had as a child (I did).

On the detail photo of the "signed" schoolhouse quilt below right, it was interesting to see how some blocks only had a few names and others, like you can see, were covered with names on both the red and white areas of the block.

Red & White quilt Red & White Signature quilt detail 

I think all the young, modern quilters must have especially loved all the "hexie" quilts in the collection.  The quilt below was constructed completely from itty bitty hexagons, even the big white background areas.

Red & White Hexagon quilt 

(last photo from the iPhone app, because I had to include it ;-)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

How They Did It

If you are curious about how the display for Infinite Variety was created, the American Folk Art Museum has photos–of which this is one–posted on Flickr here:  "Infinite Variety" Installation Shots

As you can see in the foreground of this photo, each "row" was hung and then the quilts were raised and the next "row" added.  Notice the crane being used in the background, too.

It must have been amazing to watch this all come together.


It's Here

I just installed the iPhone app.

It looks and works just like the HD version available for the iPad.

It's free and I can't imagine a quilter or quilt appreciator who wouldn't enjoy it.

There are individual photos of all the quilts in this amazing show–I know, I know, I promise to stop gushing about it soon ;-)

The individual quilt pages look like this.  You click the image to make it full screen and can zoom in further using standard iPhone/iPad gestures.

I'm thinking with this on my phone, I will never be bored standing in line again . . .

To find it, go to the iTunes store and search for Infinite Variety.

Your search results will include this:

We did ask the techies at the show and, sorry, no plans to produce a version for android devices :-(

I wish I thought of it ...

This photo, isn't one of mine.  I found it on the Park Avenue Armory website. 

I wish I had thought about laying down on the wooden floor of the Armory and looking up like this ... and taking a photo, of course ;-)

Tomorrow is the last day of the exhibit.  If you can go, GO.  It's worth the trip.

Flour Sacks!

It is probably because I am working on my own quilt from patterned, vintage feed sacks, Road trip to the 1930's, that this quilt really caught my eye at the Infinite Variety show.

Red & White Flour sack quilt

In this redwork quilt, each block is made from a flour sack with the company name and logo, carefully embroidered by the quiltmaker.

Red & White Floursack quilt detail Red & White Floursack quilt detail 

I thought it might be fun to try a couple of these as designs myself, so I took a few detail photos of my favorites. 

Red & White Floursack quilt detail Red & White Floursack quilt detail

Red & White Floursack quilt detail Red & White Floursack quilt detail

Do you recognize any of these brands?  My friend says that Carnation is still using this logo.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Look Up

Red & White quiltAt the Infinite Variety exhibit, you saw a lot of people that were looking up, just like the man that stepped into my frame just as I was taking this photo. The quilts were arranged in cylinder-like pavillions, hung back to back, 3-5 quilts high, with enough space between them, that you could also see the quilts beyond in other pavillions.

Here is a view, from the inside of one pavillion, looking up.

Red & White quilts 

Red & White quiltsYou could walk around the outside of these large cylinder shapes to see the quilts on the exterior and then go inside to see the interior quilts.

There were no labels, no quilt names, no quilters' names (except as they appeared as part of the design), no artist statements. Only the quilts.

It was interesting to notice the taste of the collector.  For example, although these quilts spanned three centuries, there were very few political or patriotic quilts--my non-quilting friend kept looking for a "flag quilt."  

I will be blogging about some of my favorites in the next few days.  You can see my photos in the flickr photoset Infinite Variety.

If you have an iPad, grab the (free) Infinite Variety app.  It has individual photos of all the quilts. There is also an app for the iPhone which hasn't yet been released to the app store.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


If you saw the promotional postcard, did you think they were really going to hang the quilts ... like this?

From the entrance

This is the view as you walked through the doors of the exhibit space at the Armory on Park Avenue in NYC. It was the most inventive, creative, AMAZING display of quilts I've ever experienced.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

How Green is my ... Design Wall

I haven't made time to quilt in so long, so National Quilting Day seemed to be a good reason to dip into my scraps and get busy.

Green Blocks on my Design Wall

First, I cut and sewed triangles and made more scrappy stars in shades of the designated color for March, green. I want to make more, but the five star blocks on the left side are a start.

Then I pulled out my cream/tan scraps and made six inch 9-patches and two inch 4-patches and some strips to put them together into single chain and knot blocks–alternate blocks for a sampler quilt that I am now almost ready to put together.

Then I cut more green and cream scraps, combined them with some other colors and made some sample blocks for the April Block Lotto ... which I can't share until April 1.

I hope I'll find time before the end of the month to make more stars, more crumb blocks and . . . maybe make green and cream doll quilt.

Edited to add ... it's all Julie's fault.  I saw the leftover green bits on her wall and started playing with mine.  It's 11 inches square right now ... I'm not sure if it's done (mug rug?) or if it will grow into that doll quilt.


Right now, I'm thinking it could be interesting on-point with some applique setting squares and more--yes I have more leftover--4 patches.

What is on your design wall? Check out more design walls at Judy Laquidera's blog Patchwork Times.
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