Crossing the Atlantic Quilt by Quilt

Willis Stork Gallery

March 5 through May 15, 2016

triple X

Durham Triple X Strippy quilt, c. 1880. Maker unknown, probably County Durham England

Quilts are thought by many to be inherently American, but like numerous aspects of life in the USA, they actually arrived as “immigrants” from various countries. The United Kingdom has had a long history of making the distinctive layered, pieced fabric coverlets; their traditions and techniques arrived in the New World along with the early English, Scottish, and Welsh settlers.

This exhibit highlighted some of the similarities–and differences–of quilts that crossed the Atlantic, both literally and figuratively. More than thirty quilts from the collection of quiltmaker, curator, and scholar Maggi Gordon were on display. She is American; her husband David is British. Together they began collecting quilts in England in the 1980s, and when they moved to the USA in 2002, they began adding American quilts to their collection.

blue and white 8-point stars

Eight-point Stars, 1875-1900. Maker unknown, USA

Maggi is the author of numerous books on the history and technique of quilt making, and recently coauthored Red and White Quilts: Infinite Variety, a catalog of over 650 quilts (Skira/Rizzoli in association with American Folk Art Museum, 2015).

Interested in textile arts? Consider joining our Textile Arts Council.

Companion exhibition: Strings Attached: Tradition Meets Contemporary Woven Art