Thursday, September 23, 2010

Quilt History in Florida

Hello again! There are lots of quilty things going on in this area. I'd probably know these things a lot sooner if I made it to the local quilt guild meetings, but something always comes up at the last minute.

First off is the Pensacola Museum of Art, which has a new exhibit, "Quilt Art:International Expressions" that I plan to go to this Saturday. Can you believe I have lived here 6 years, and I haven't made it to any one of the local museums? Not once. And I LOVE art! It is supposed to rain all weekend, so a museum trip will be perfectly in order.

Secondly, there is going to be an exhibit starting the end of October in Tallahassee at the Museum of Florida History.  The 29th Annual Capital City Quilt Show: The Garden Party goes through January. There will be over 100 quilts on display. You can see some of the quilts from the book I am reading if you go to that page linked above.

To prepare for that trip (and to keep me busy while my machines are in the shop) I have been re-reading the book Florida Quilts, which covers the history of our state from the 1500s! and the women who lived here as pioneers, through the Civil War hardships, and the quilts they made. Quilts up to the 1980s are included too. The information on the early days of quilt-making here makes me feel like such a slacker. I cannot ever imagine living here in summer without air conditioning, but they did it, and in layers of petticoats and long skirts! They grew gardens year round to feed themselves and made their own quilting supplies. That includes the batting and cloth, people. When you read the stories and see their handiwork, you'll be in awe. This is a 1992 book, so libraries should have it.

I am a pioneer of sorts. The first I know of in my family to make quilts, so I don't know what it is like to learn from a grandmother, be part of a quilting bee, or hand piece or applique like they used to. Those are some of the most fascinating things about books like this. The pictures of women gathered around a quilting frame that is typically stored on the living room ceiling. Quilt that are so detailed - all made completely by hand. The stories of freed slaves who used only what was on hand to make and fill their quilts to keep warm in winter...this was not just a hobby to them. Yes, it was a creative outlet, but it was very necessary and they took the time to make beauty in the necessity.

I count myself very lucky to have not only piles of fabrics to chose from, but all the notions and comforts that make modern quilt-making a breeze.

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