Thursday, July 3, 2014

Quilts and Color

Recently I was blessed to be able to take a trip up New England. It was one of the best vacation trips I've ever taken and I cherish each day. One of the highlights of my trip was a visit to the Quilts and Color exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston with my aunt & uncle and friends.


Here is a short narrative from the museum introducing the exhibit, "Quilts and Color presents more than sixty graphically bold American quilts from the Pilgrim/Roy collection, one of the finest and largest collections of quilts in the world."

Wow! How to describe this was amazing...inspirational...and gave strong evidence to how the roots of quilting are really not so very different than what quilters are making that traditional, contemporary, and even modern style quilts. 

We had no idea the collector, Gerald Roy, was going to be leading a narrated tour of the exhibit that day...what a treat! I tried to get a picture of him, but flash photography was not permitted and none of my photographs of Mr. Roy turned out. 

Here is just a small sample of the beautiful quilts on display at the museum:

Bunches of Grapes. Ohio about 1875

In this Bunches of Grapes applique numerous design elements {Optical Illusions} come and go from your focus on the quilt: The individual blocks with four bunches of grapes, the green circles formed by the leaves, and the large off-white diamonds created by the negative space. When I look at this quilt my eyes are in constant motion all over the top and don't really find one individual spot to settle down on.

Thousand Pyramids. Amish; Holmes County, Ohio, about 1930

Many of the featured quilts, such as Thousand Pyramids, exhibited sophisticated use of color and design {Harmony}. Mr. Roy pointed out that these quilts were made by accomplished women who understood the intricate details of fine design such as selecting a mix of fabrics that stand out or recede, and careful attention to placement. In our day and age these same women would probably be accountants, doctors, architects, and engineers (his words, not mine.)

Center Medallion Tied Child's Comforter, Missouri, 1910

Looking at this wool medallion quilt (note the bold orange ties!) one would think it was straight from an Instagram, flickr, or blog feed, and yet it was made 104 years ago! This quilt happens to be my favorite from the exhibit and falls into the {Singular Vision} grouping. This grouping features quilt makers who..."audaciously employed unconventional colors, materials, or techniques to make their individual statements." I can guess that this particular quilt was quite unconventional for 1910 both in the color choices, the design of the top, and the color choice for the ties. It's brilliant!

I hope you enjoyed this mini tour of the Quilts and Color exhibit. If you find yourself with the opportunity to go see this exhibit be sure to seize it :o)

~Quotes come from the Quilts and Color museum program. 


  1. I love love love that last one with the ties!! I tied one quilt and really liked the result. I thought I'd probably never tie another, but now I want to!

  2. What fun! And to take a tour with the collector - cool. I especially like the triangles!

  3. Thanks for sharing! I would have loved to see this exhibit. From all the photos I've seen floating around, I just had to buy the book. And experience the collection vicariously. :)

  4. Boston is on my bucket list. What a great trip!

  5. What lovely quilts! This sounds like it was a great trip!

  6. I really loved to read this, and am now browsing for more information on this exhibit, thank you!


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