Star Arcturus-Century of Progress

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Pattern Names: Star Arcturus-Century of Progress
Commercial Sources: Nancy Cabot/Chicago Tribune: Star Arcturus Century of Progress QuiltING patterns Q403 and Q504 (Hubert Ver Mehren Home Art Studio) were used in the blocks. Q403 (side portion only) used in border. Q504 (transformed for use as an applique two-color pieced star).
Top By: Gasperik, Mary
Quilted By: Gasperik, Mary
Period: 1930-1949
Date: 1933-1934
Location Made: Chicago, Illinois (IL) United States
Project Name: Mary Gasperik Private Collection
Contributor: Gasperik Collection
ID Number: 048
Brackman Number: 3713
Layout Format: Block pattern
Quilt Size: 77 inches x 91 inches
Fabrics: Cotton, Solid/plain
Colors: Blue or Navy, Orange, Yellow
Construction: Machine Piecing, Hand Applique, Embroidery
Quilting Techniques: Hand quilting
Purpose or Function: Commemorative, Unknown
Description: This quilt probably made early in her career in 1934, incorporates a Nancy Cabot (Chicago Tribune) pattern that honors the 1933 Century of Progress Exposition.
Other Notes: A clipping of the original October 22, 1933 Nancy Cabot newspaper column which presented the Century of Progress rocket-star pattern is pasted into Mary Gasperik's album of quilt patterns. This Nancy Cabot pattern was published in The Chicago Sunday Tribune, Part 6, page 2. It was later reproduced by The Quilters Journal No. 27 pp 10-11 in 1985. Mary transformed the plain spacer blocks proposed by the October 22 pattern into blocks containing smaller appliqued 6-star versions of the comet block's 6-pointed star. The central star in her 'spacer' block nests inside a quilted wreath and is smalerl than the Comet star, but larger than the tiny stars appliqued into the corners of the 'spacer' block. This is probably Gasperik's own invention but may have been inspired by the Nancy Cabot block pattern called 'Evening Star' which was published in The Chicago Tribune on October 23, 1933, the day after the comet block quarter-quilt-section was published. The Cabot 'Evening Star' shows a center 6-point star executed in two different solid colors (like the Arcturus comet star) with four small diamond appliques in each corner. Instead of copying the diamonds, Gasperik made miniature stars, each composed of 6 miniature diamonds, a much more challenging job. The corner moons (not part of the Cabot pattern) were perhaps inspired by the moon cutout at Chicago's Riverview Park. The family has a circa 1945 photo of Gasperik's granddaughters Karen, Linda and Susan Kruger, wearing matching Gasperik red, white and blue pinafores (one of these survives), seated on the amusement park's photo booth cutout. There is also a photograph of Mary and Stephen Gasperik seated on the moon. Gasperik sent 3 pattern tracings of her quilt border and two sample blocks (with attached fabrics) to a fellow Detroit News Quilt Club Corner member in Sturgis Michigan named Emma Zawatski. In 2007 granddaughter Susan miraculously happened to find the Zawaski materials for sale on e-Bay and purchased them. The fabrics and patterns exactly match the Gasperik quilt. Re-reading a list of names and addresses shakily hand-written by Mary Gasperik (probably a list of potential inviteees to Gasperik's 50th wedding anniversary celebration in 1956) Susan saw the name Emma Zawatski with a Sturgis Michigan address on that 3-page list, confirming that Mary Gasperik and Emma Zawatski knew each other, probably having met at the first Detroit News quilt show Mary Gasperik attended, in October 1935. The Gasperik Star Arcturus quilt is probably among the quilts Gasperik sent to be exhibited at this (3rd) Detroit News quilt show, her first appearance in Detroit. She attended and sent quilts to every subsequent Detroit News quilt show. The Detroit News quilt club and show editor, Edith Crumb wrote about Gasperik for the first time in the October 22, 1935 newspaper. In the Feb. 1936 Detroit News Crumb devoted a whole column to Gasperik and the Gasperik quilt (one of Gasperik's Double Feather Star quilts) which arrived too late to be exhibited at the October 1935 show. Although Star Arcturus IS based on a published pattern it should be stressed that Gasperik made major creative revisions with her star-studded spacer blocks and corner moons. Also, the Cabot pattern ignores the subject of quiltING and Gasperik's fine quiltING is a major design element in ALL of her quilts. Arcturus is no exception, even though it is a very early Gasperik quilt and is so clearly associated with a commercial pattern. , Mary Gasperik sent three pattern tracings of this quilt's border and two blocks (the Star and the five-star block) with attached fabrics to Emma Zawatski in Sturgis, Michigan, another quilter she met through the Detroit News column. Susan Salser purchased the tracings at an online auction site in November 1907. She found Zawatski's name on an invitation list Mary Gasperik had compiled for her 50th wedding anniversary. These tracings show that Gasperik shared her own designs with others at an early stage of her quilting career.
Inscription: "Star Arcturus/A CENTURY OF PROGPESS 1934 M.G."
Related Items/Publications: Barbara Brackman, Making History Quilts & Fabric From 1890-1970, C & T Publishing, 2008, page 78 photograph of Gasperik Star Arcturus. Merikay Waldvogel and Barbara Brackman, Patchwork Souvenirs of the 1933 World’s Fair, Rutledge Hill Press, Nashville, Tennessee, 1993, pp 102-103, photographs and text discussion. "Patchwork Souvenirs of the 1933 Chicago World's Fair" by Barbara Brackman and Merikay Waldvogel, published in Quilter's Newsletter Magazine (July/August 1994), offered readers a pattern for making the moon Mary Gasperik put in the four corners of her Star Arcturus quilt. "The 1933 World's Fair Quilt Contest and its Aftermath" in Piecework magazine (July/August 1995), pp. 71-77, presented a color photograph of the quilt and a pattern for making a bib using the star and rocket motif. Family photos show this quilt, and other Gasperik quilts, airing on a clothesline. Yellow paper exhibit tag (Tuley Park show) reading: Arcturus Star Quilt by Mrs. M. Gasperik
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