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.
6 thoughts on “Quilts and Stitching in Art”
I like that I Spy game!!! I will have to keep my eyes open. That silk hexie quilt is amazing.
The silk hexies look to be in great shape. How gorgeous. She must have been well to do : )
It’s amazing what a quilter will pay attention to. For example, in my daughter’s copy of Goldilocks, the quilt on Papa bear’s bed is a … bear paw pattern!
How ca Mary Fletcher be born in 1940 and die in 1922? Was she born in 1840?
A great game to play. Love the applique quilt in the photo and you can see the vegetables seem to be washed, so not to worry. I invite you to link to Hexie Weekend to show off that great hexie silk quilt.
Now that I am newly a quilter, so much that I see seems like a pattern just waiting to be figured out. Not by me, not yet. But still, I love how the ordinary is transformed. The artists you chose, Elizabeth, see in a transforming way. I’m amazed at how Mary Fletcher’s blue plaid has the black ribbons weaving around the center. It would be so easy to walk past that quilt and miss the details.