11 April, 2012

AQSG Quilt Study - 2010

 This was my entry for the AQSG Quilt Study in 2010. 

'Homespun Star'
36" x 36"
Participants are asked to write a brief statement about our study projects that includes the following information:

1) Why you selected your inspiration quilt.  Was there something about that quilt in particular or the style that caught your interest?   

2) What approach you took in constructing your quilt.  Did you opt to replicate the original or did you find inspiration from the original to create your own?   How involved was your design process? 

3) What you learned from the process of making your study quilt.  What similarities or differences are there between you and your quilt and the maker of the original?  Did you get any sense of connection with the maker of the original quilt?  How did your experience differ from what you anticipated, or did it?  Why? 

My statement for Homespun Star reads:

Initially, I planned to use a quilt in my own collection as inspiration for the Quilt Study until this long-time favorite jumped off the page of my well-loved copy of Treasury of American Quilts, by Cyril I. Nelson and Carter Houck. As Co-chair of the AQSG Quilt Study project I reasoned that changing my original plan would give me an opportunity to do what other participants were being asked to do: seek permission to use images of the inspiration pieces used for the Quilt Study.
My only disappointment in the process came when I learned from the Museum of American Folk Art, the current owner of the ‘Center Star Quilt’, that there is very little provenance available for this amazing bedcover. After reviewing what is known, it became obvious the information had evolved as quilt historians learned more about identification of fibers used in early whole cloth quilts. For example, the fabrics in this quilt are identified as linsey-woolsey in one publication and wool in another. The confusion about early fabrics gave me just the inspiration I needed; I decided to investigate the process of how ‘home’ spun and woven fibers used in early quilts would have been produced.
My journey started with the purchase of a 19th century spinning wheel. I had never spun any type of fiber before. I found the process VERY challenging in the beginning, initially believing I would never be able to produce a yarn consistently fine enough to actually create fabric. However, with a pound of perseverance I succeeded in spinning enough wool to weave all of the fabrics in my quilt. The front is 100% wool from sheep raised near my home in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. For contrast I opted to create ‘linsey-woolsey’ by weaving a wool weft through a purchased linen warp for the back of the quilt.
As a result of making ‘Homespun Star’ I have a genuine appreciation for the industrial revolution that helped relieve women of the responsibility to create the fabrics needed by their families and in their homes. Notwithstanding the hours required to create a few inches of genuine homespun fabric, I am inspired to spin all of the wools and linens to make a whole cloth bed quilt the old fashioned way.
The spinning wheel and rigid heddle loom
I used to make Homespun Star

If you are interested in seeing and reading about all 39 quilts that participated in the 2010 Quilt Study, click on the words "AQSG’s 2010 Quilt Study of Star Quilts".  Twenty-five of the quilts are included in a travelling exhibit that is being exhibited at museums and quilt shows throughout the United States.  The travel schedule is being extended into 2013 and possibly into 2014, so check for updates at http://www.americanquiltstudygroup.org/QS%20Exhibit%20Schedule.asp.

We are in the final stretch of the 2012 Study of Colonial Revival Quilts of the Early 20th Century, but there is still time to participate and space available.  You can review the guidelines at http://americanquiltstudygroup.org/Quilt%20Study.asp.  If you are interested in joining us please feel free to contact the AQSG Quilt Study Committee at AQSGQuiltStudy@yahoo.com or email me directly. 

P.S. - I owe a debt of thanks to my good friend Betty Clarkson, proprietor of Little Pine Traditional Crafts in Lancaster, PA for helping me learn the skills necessary to complete this project.  The shop carries everything a new or experienced spinner, weaver, and dyer of wool could ever need; and Betty's expertise and kindness is unsurpassed!

No comments: