2005-07-15 / Columnists

From The Artists Studio

Rockaway Artists Alliance A Call For Quilters And Potters
by Susan Hartenstein

Rockaway Artists Alliance
A Call For Quilters And Potters

ARTSPLASH 2005 deadline for submission of entries has been extended to July 29. Visit: www.rockawayartistsalliance for full prospectus and entry form

Call to artists: the Rockaway Artists Alliance is presenting Sewn and Thrown: A Pottery and Quilt Exhibition of Juried Original Works , to be exhibited in sTudio 7 Gallery at Fort Tilden, Rockaway Center for the Arts from November 12 to December 18.

Event Eligibility: USA Quilters and Potters: Minimum 18 years of age. Quilt works: works submitted must be fabric and have the structure of a quilt, composed with at least two full and distinct layers, held together by hand or machine–made stitching. No kits, no “cheater cloth” or tied quilts, will be accepted. Work must be the artist’s original design, not a copy or variations of another artist.

Pottery: All works, sculptural, decorative and functional must be original, and be made primarily of clay. Ceramic sculptures will not be accepted.

All accepted works must be suitably prepared with proper supports, hanging devises and, if needed, clear instructions for installation.

NOT ELIGIBLE: work previously displayed in an RAA exhibition.

Deadline for receipt of entries: October 7. Visit: www.rockawayartistsallia nce for full prospectus and entry form or email:rockart116@aol.com or phone: 718 474-0861.

Some interesting facts about the history of quilting in America: The early English, Dutch and Welch settlers brought the craft to the new world. The earliest quilts in America were Indian chintz quilts and Palamplores. These were made of whole cloth or usually the expensive chintzes and calicos were cut into large pieces and appliquéd into Tree Of Life type designs for quilts, coverlets and bed hangings. The introduction of less expensive colorfast cottons at the end of the eighteenth century was responsible for the explosive growth of the American quilting tradition in the nineteenth century. “Sewing slaves” made clothing and quilts, in pre-civil war south, for the master’s house and for their own families. Sometimes, the mistress of the plantation also worked on quilting. The slaves used their African designs in their appliqué quilts. African colors and styles influenced their pieced quilts. They used worn clothes and scraps from the mistress of the house but made vegetable dyes to turn the scraps any color they wished. Few of these quilts survive because they were used until they wore out. Sale of these quilts in the North helped raise funds for the Abolitionist cause. Indigo and white were the prevailing colors of quilts in the late 1890’s and many of these quilts survive today. Many of them incorporated appliqué, but most were pieced.

Crazy quilts, which were very popular in the Victorian era and are finding popularity today, are not actually quilts. They were made to be parlor throws or piano scarves. They typically have no batting or filler and are tacked invisibly, not quilted. Crafted from scraps of dress silks, wedding gowns, silk souvenirs, cigar bands, they could take 10 years to complete. The embellishments included elaborate embroidery, beads and painted designs. A crazy quilt was a status symbol because it required much leisure time of the mistress of the house, found only in a prosperous household. Quilt making had a resurgence in the 60’s due to the “back to the earth” movement with its penchant for traditional crafts. But it was given an invaluable boost in 1971 by a major exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art of the Jonathan Holstein and Gail Van Der Hoof collection of antique American quilts called “Abstract Design in American Quilts.” It put quilt making “on the map” and gained for it the respect it deserved as both a craft and an art.

You will understand why when you come see Sewn and Thrown in the fall at sTudio 7 in RoCA@Fort Tilden.

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