21 June 2015

"Wonder of Wool" exhibit at the American Textile History Museum

Coverlet, Pennsylvania, late 19th - early 20th century, detail.

From May 20 through December 31, 2015, the American Textile History Museum features a special exhibit, the Wonder of Wool: Ancient Fiber to Modern Marvel.

The show displays quite a variety of sheep- and wool-related objects illuminating the romance, and science, of this protein (animal-derived) fiber.  One highlight is a "please touch" wall of yarns as well as woolen fabrics, both woven and knit.

Adorable exhibit free bookmark - take several home. I did.

View of the Stevens gallery.

Tactile delight!

The image below is a wall collage of Green Mountain Spinnery mohair-blend yarn, from our neighboring state of Vermont. Luscious colors.

Wool takes dye beautifully.

The exhibit featured fashions old and new, including a late 19th-century catalog, and ladies undergarment, from "Dr. Jaeger's Sanitary Woolen System Co."  The British apparel company Jaeger was founded to produce long-johns based on the hygiene theories of German physician Gustav Jaeger (1832 - 1917.)

Before there was Victoria's Secret.

Up-to-date fashions.

The exhibit of modern apparel trumpeted wool's continuing role in high fashion, in part aided by the sustainability movement - sheep regrow their fleece each year.  Although I recognized some of the names represented, such as Massachusetts native Joseph Abboud and, of course, Pendleton, discoveries include newer labels Wool & Prince and Ramblers Way Farm.

After touring the exhibit we wandered into one of the educational spaces within the museum.  We were delighted to encounter the work of weaver Antonia Kormos on the classroom walls.

Classroom with looms.

Work by master weaver Antonia Kormos.

The Shepherd Boy, unknown artist, 1840's.

Although the information presented in the Wonder of Wool exhibit will be familiar to most textile mavens, it was still a treat to encounter 19th-century sheep-themed ephemera, such as this hand-colored wood engraving, from a design by an unidentified artist and sold by Boston vendor J. Fisher.   Note to the museum shop: I would happily buy a reproduction of this charming image if one were available.

15 June 2015

Quilters' Connection Quilt Show

Circle Game/What Was I Thinking? Karen Swiech.

The end of May brought an end to a chapter in the saga of my quilt guild, Quilters' Connection. Our annual show blanketed the walls of the Arsenal Center for the Arts for the last time. After ten years in residency, the guild has decided to up sticks and move to a convention center at Bentley College, in Waltham.  Here, for the last time, are scenes from the Arsenal Center.

Quilts at the entry.

There are no visitors in these images as I took them the day before the show opened as part of my duty as assistant quilt show photographer. The show featured a good variety of quilt genres again this year - traditional quilts, landscape creations, figurative work, etc. - as well as apparel and fashion accessories. 

The quilts in this blog post are simply ones which spoke to me, but all the quilts and wearables will be on view on the guild's Flickr site soon.

Quilts line the walls.

Spider-Spun Beach Balls, Carol Anne Grotrian.

The non-juried guild show is very egalitarian, as the work of nationally-recognized artists, such as Carol Anne Grotrian and Nancy Halpern, hangs in neighborly relation to artwork by folks like me, for whom quilting is the continuation of a family tradition, or who simply find joy in the act of creating something unique with their hands (and sewing machines.)  Enjoy, and remember that each image can be enlarged by clicking on it.

New Goose on the Block, Nancy Halpern; quilted by Ruth McDowell.

Time in a Bottle, Diane French Chait.

Pool Pleasure, Deborah Rocha.

Fear the Beard, Rosemary Bawn.

Low Volume Tiles, Michelle Gallant.

Batik Neighborhood, Margaret Rolph.

Slot Canyon at Tent Rocks, Susan Stemporzewski.

View of the Bridge, Kathleen Walsh.

Love in a Daze, Elizabeth Chamberlain Habich.

Although it's unclear whether the guild will be able to mount a show at Bentley, I certainly hope we continue this tradition of sharing our work with each other and with the wider world.