It’s Quilt Index Awards Week… All this week, we’ll be featuring some our Facebook fans’ and Twitter followers’ favorite quilts!
Comes the Dawn
Commercial Source: Starry Night
Taylor’s Falls, Minnesota, 2002
Minnesota Quilt Project
Other Notes: This is her cancer quilt. It helped here get through her chemo treatments.
Week eight of our blog series on Quilt Index contributors profiles the Gasperik Collection.
The Mary Gasperik Quilts consist of more than 80 full-sized quilts plus numerous miniatures and studies created in Chicago between 1933 and 1967 by Hungarian immigrant and award winning quiltmaker Mary Gasperik. Nearly all the quilts are dispersed among her descendants, who generously supported this project spearheaded by grand-daughter Susan Salser. This online collection of all her existing quilts is the Quilt Index’s first private collection.
Mary Gasperik fits into a very important historic period of immigration, growth, and American experience. Mariska Mihalovits was born in Hungary in 1888. At the age of 16, she immigrated from rural Transylvania to the United States with her sister. She was recorded at Ellis Island as Mariska, the Hungarian form of the English name Mary. She remained in Chicago and became an American citizen. She married fellow Hungarian Stephen Gasperik in 1906, and raised three children: Stephen, Elsie and Elmer.
At the age of 45, Gasperik encountered quilts for the first time at the 1933 Century of Progress Exposition. With help from a local quilt club, she quickly adapted her already well-developed needlework skills to quiltmaking. She then devoted her life to that most American form of needlework – quiltmaking; though her quilts very much reflect her Hungarian roots. Thus, she left an incredible record in material culture at a time when few women left such records for study and research. These quilts and her story are not just important for quilt history, but also for women’s history and for American history.
The Quilts reflect her artistic development–from neophyte quiltmaker to prizewinning quilt designer. She sought out others for lessons and advice, she used commercial patterns for patterns and quilting designs, but she also ventured into making her own original designs. She entered contests and garnered the most praise from the Detroit News Quilt columnist Edith Crumb. She died in 1969, having made about 100 quilts.
The Quilt Documentation began in 1992, when Karen Finn and Susan Salser assisted The Amador Valley Quilt Guild in organizing an exhibition of Mary Gasperik’s quilts at the Ravenswood Historic Site in Livermore, California. Forty-five quilts were on display and information was gathered for the exhibition catalogue. The gathering together of these quilts and 22 others collected but not displayed allowed them to be professionally photographed under uniform conditions. In the ensuing 15 years, Susan Salser located or identified the remaining quilts and worked to identify every single quilt pattern, quilting design, or packaged quilt kit that her grandmother used.
The final result is not only the most complete photographic record of one woman’s quilts, but also an invaluable resource of period photographs, newspaper accounts, and quiltmaking ephemera.
– Merikay Waldvogel, July 2008
Financial support for this project was provided by the Salser Family Foundation. Merikay Waldvogel served as the major consultant, supported by Quilt Index staff member, Justine Richardson.
Many thanks to the Gasperik quilt owners: the daughters of Elsie Gasperik Krueger, the children of Elmer Gasperik, the daughters of Stephen Gasperik, and Attila Hajdu, the owner of the Gasperik quilt which Mary Gasperik sent to Hungary. Special thanks to The Los Angeles County Museum of Art for permission to use their photographs of Wedding Quilt, made for niece Mary Bruland.
Top by Marion Melody
Quilted by Clara Yoder
River View, Michigan, 1981
Michigan Quilt Project
Quiltmakers’ notes: I try to design quilts that are all different in feeling and design. Inspired by clothes pin dolls. My quilts are contemporary but have inspirations from the past. When I was at Amanda’s shop explaining how I wanted this quilt done – Clara was there with her two children – became interested and decided to quilt it. This was silk-screened several years ago. People commented that it should be for a child. After I decided I really wanted to develop the quilt as my statement. I wanted this one to have a fanciful feeling & decided to sew the silk streamers on to compliment the curvilinear lines undulating in the background & going through some of the clothespin dolls. Fantoccini is Italian for marrionettes or string puppets. Fun & color & lite = fanciful or fantoccini.
She Entered the Place of the Butterflies
Nancy Cougar Naranjo
Frederick, Maryland, 1986
Michigan Quilt Project
Began quilting 25 years ago, is doing more hand-dyeing and painting techniques with recent quilts. This quilt depicts the Pipe Woman entering the Place of the Butterflies; hand dyed background. Her Indian grandmother made Yo-Yo quilts.
Ellen Anne Eddy
Chicago, IL, 1993
Illinois State Museum
Construction: Machine Piecing, Machine Applique, Embroidery, Thread painting with perle cotton, rayon, metallic, irridescent and nylon threads.
Artist sees insects and other animals as metaphors for the human condition. Insects, like women’s bodies, are full of beautiful differences. In this quilt, mantises and beetles, dragonflies and crickets dance to the rhythms of life in acceptance of their separate and lovely selves., See book: Thread Magic: The Enchanted World of Ellen Anne Eddy, 1997.
Heritage Kit Quilt
Commercial Source: 1942 LeeWard’s catalogue, named “Heritage”
East Central Ohio, c. 1940s
Michigan State University Museum collection
With the exception of some brown embroidery floss on a few cheddar flowers, this is an exact duplicate of the Rosa Parks quilt. It probably came from East Central Ohio and is one of an identical matched pair.
Week seven of our blog series on Quilt Index contributors profiles the Hawaiian Quilt Research Project.
The Hawaiian Quilt Research Project (HQRP) documented pre-statehood (pre-1959) Hawaiian quilts and patterns from both private and public collections. Over 1,200 quilts and 1,500 patterns were registered and photographed on the islands of Hawaii, Kauai, Lanai, Maui, Molokai, and Oahu between 1990 and 2003.
As HQRP data and images reveal, Hawaiian quilters evolved a unique quilt style combining Polynesian cultural sensibilities with western design ideas. Best known are the vibrantly colored, boldly graphic designs of Hawaiian applique and flag quilts that have come to define what is a Hawaiian quilt. Other styles, such as crazy quilts and Redwork (outline embroidered designs worked in red cotton thread), were relatively short-lived while patchwork quilts continued to be made.
Origins of the Hawaiian Quilt Research Project
Elizabeth A. Akana and Elaine Zinn founded the Hawaiian Quilt Research Project in 1990 under the auspices of the Kalihi-Palama Culture and Arts Society, a non-profit organization in Honolulu, Hawaii. HQRP achieved independent non-profit status in 1995. HQRP was among the first quilt projects across the nation to begin computerizing collected data. Complete text and graphics database records are maintained for all registered quilts and patterns. Registration forms, slides, negatives, patterns, and related ephemera have been housed in archival materials in preparation to donating the collection to a publically accessible archive. Data collection on the history of quilting in Hawaii continues.
Credits and Acknowledgements
Volunteers spent countless hours helping with the registration process during publicly advertised Quilt Days, including members of:
Kapolei Hawaiian Civic Club
Pearl Harbor Hawaiian Civic Club
Hawaii Quilt Guild
Hawaii Stitchery and Fibre Arts Guild
Ka Hui Kapa Apana O Waimea (Waimea Hawaiian Quilting Club)
Special recognition is given to professional photographer, Albert H. Y. Chang (1928-2008) who volunteered his time and expertise in photo documenting both quilts and patterns, and never missed a Quilt Day. He also donated his copyrights for the photographs to HQRP.
HQRP registered quilts and quiltmakers have been the focus of a number of Hawaiian quilt exhibitions at the Mission Houses Museum in Honolulu. Topics ranged from the history of Hawaiian outline-embroidered (Redwork) quilts to the richly diverse interpretations of breadfruit (ulu) designs. Other exhibitions showcased the work of particular quilters such as the Houghtailing sisters (early twentieth century) and contemporary quilter, Margo Armitage Morgan.
Publications with HQRP Findings
Brandon, Reiko M., and Loretta G.H. Woodard. Hawaiian Quilts: Tradition and Transition. Honolulu: Honolulu Academy of Arts, 2004.
Hackler, Rhoda E.A., and Loretta G.H. Woodard. The Queen’s Quilt. Honolulu: Iolani Palace, 2004.
Woodard, Loretta G.H. “Communities of Quilters: Hawaiian Pattern Collecting, 1900-1959.” In Uncoverings, ed. Joanna E. Evans. Lincoln, NE: American Quilt Study Group, 2006.
______. “Quilts.” In Finding Paradise: Island Art in Private Collections, eds. Don Severson and Mike Horikawa. Honolulu: Honolulu Academy of Arts and University of Hawai`i Press, 2003.
______. “The Houghtailing Family and Their Hawaiian Quilts,” Blanket Statements (Spring 2000), American Quilt Study Group, 1, 3-4.
Spring Bouquet Floral Applique
Top by Bessie Evans Carruthers
Quilted by Mrs. J. E. Peal
Crystal City, Texas, c. 1942
Texas Quilt Search
The quiltmaker was born in 1886 in Marble Falls, Texas; she attended school through the 7th grade. She and her husband had three children and adopted a fourth; but her husband died and left Mrs. Carruthers to raise at least two of them on her own. She worked as a cook and as a seamstress to support her family. According to her daughter-in-law, “Bessie spent many hours doing handwork of all kinds. I’m sure it was her therapy as she was alone, raising two children, and there were no ‘freebies’ from Uncle Sam in those days.” Bessie Evans Carruthers made her first patchwork quilt as a child living near Mertzon, Texas. , current owner of the quilt states that it was used and enjoyed and that washing has faded the design.