Okay, I had a fun time in Washington, DC this spring once I realized I could play I Spy and look for quilts. I think this is a good game that I should keep playing, and if you have a picture of a quilt in art — whether it be in a painting or a photograph in a museum — send it over and when I get a slew, I’ll do a post.
Okay, this isn’t technically quilting, but it’s stitching. This is a detail of Mending, by Isabel Bishop and hangs in the National Portrait Gallery. She writes “I have noticed regular denizens of [Union] Square [in New York City] who, sitting on the benches or on the fountain, easting, sewing or rearranging their worldly good in paper bundles, seem to be leading the most private of lives, entirely oblivious to the public character of the place. The not-beautiful forms of the fountain seem. . . to make a throne for the old man sewing his trousers; he is billowing old overcoat [becomes] a robe.”
This is a needlepoint stitchery in the gallery of the Washington National Cathedral that honors the 100 Most Famous Americans, all who have a red needlepoint pillow on a chair. Of course I was drawn to this one, honoring Elias Howe, inventor of the modern-day sewing machine. We ALL owe him a debt.
Sondra Freckelton’s Harvest is one of her still lives that capture “the quiet beauty of domestic, often feminized objects — quilts, garden implements, house wares, and fresh produce gathered from her own garden in the . . . Catskill Mountains.” I don’t know about you, but I was interested that a Smithsonian label-writer plopped in that phrase of “domestic, often feminized objects” when discussing Freckelton’s watercolor. Don’t tell our male quilters this.
And I knew she wasn’t herself a quilter, for who of us would plop down vegetables on top of this gorgeous appliqué quilt?
Mary Fletcher was born in 1940 and died in 1922, but her fine hand-pieced hexie silk quilt now resides in the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. We are all jealous!
I decided she had an amazing scrap bag to have so many beautiful silks to work with.
And lastly, Honore Sharrer’s Tribute to the American Working People, who employed the polyptych format of medieval paintings to pay homage to the working people of America.
And here’s the quilt–in the upper left panel: a lovely scalloped Dresden Plate.