Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Hite Amish Quilt Collection Exhibit

The Henry and Angela Hite Amish Quilt Collection is on display currently at The Art Center in Grand Junction until January 23rd.  My daughter and I went today and I highly recommend going, if you haven't already!  Tuesdays are free, otherwise it's a $3 admission, and well worth it!

They gave me permission to take some photos, so I will share some, but nothing beats seeing them in person :)

Most of the quilts in the first room were made in the early 1900's and the hand quilting on these quilts is exquisite.  They are in great shape too, for as old as they are.

Information on the exhibit stated that the typical queen size bed quilt has between 40,000 and 50,000 stitches.

The exhibit information stated that Amish quilts were strictly utilitarian until about 1970 when Americans noted their beauty and they started to become valuable to collectors.
Producing quilts for the purpose of art collecting was a matter of controversy in the Amish communities, as art making opposes their doctrine of simplicity.  "Eventually the economic pragmatism of selling the quilts won out" and the Amish began producing the quilts for both purposes, "whether to place a quilt on the bed or the wall is the business of the owner."

This Center Diamond quilt was made in Pennsylvania around 1910 out of twill and serge fabrics.

Some of the quilting designs remind me of typical Sashiko designs, such as this one below and in the first photo, above.

This one was made of wool around 1945.

As I said, the quilting is amazing.  You need to go get up close and personal with these quilts!  The information said that once the technique of hand quilting was mastered, it didn't take any longer to quilt the decorative designs than straight lines, so this was considered acceptable even though it's "decorative".

Jacob's Ladder around 1950 - made of cotton.

Sawtooth Diamond made around 1930 in Pennsylvania, out of wool.

Double Irish Chain on Point made in Ohio out of cotton, around 1920.

  Lone Star - made in Ohio around 1925, out of cotton.

Bars made in Pennsylvania around 1930 from wool crepe.

Log Cabin Straight Furrow made in Kansas around 1880 from velveteen, wool, twills and silk blends.

In the next room were more current quilts (aside from the one above and another one near it), mostly made in the 1980's.  I found the workmanship on these newer quilts not quite as nice as the older ones.  I don't know if it is because they started "mass producing" them to sell to collectors and tourists or what....  But the fabrics didn't seem as nice and the piecing and quilting were just not quite as good as the older quilts - in my humble opinion :)

In the following pictures, you will see what I mean.  I also noticed the bindings - no mitered corners!  I went back and looked at the old quilts though and their corners are not mitered either, but they still looked a little neater.  This binding below is from one of the newer quilts.

Here is a binding on one of the older quilts - you can see it's stitched down nicer, not left open like the one above.

This was one of my daughter's favorites, made around 1935 of wool and rayon crepe, in Pennsylvania.

All in all a great exhibit with some fascinating history.  Go see it if you can!

There is a pottery exhibit there as well with some amazing pottery pieces.  I will share some photos of a couple of those tomorrow.  They are for sale too - if you're looking for some cool pottery :)

Have a Happy New Year's Eve!!

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