Jul 9, 2007

Explanations and more from Rosie Lee Thompson

My previous post came with out explanation- must have hit a button without meaning to! The photos you saw before this next grouping are the following works by Rosie, called Put-Togethers. They were quite interesting. The first photo showed her 1994 Put Together. It used cordury, velveteen, velour and upholstery fabrics. It also has cotton sheeting and rayon.

Photo #2 Is called Put-together With Half Squares and Bars and was made in 1996. It has velvet, velveteen, velour, faux fur and panne velvet.

Photo#3- Put-together,2003. Here again she used velvet, velveteen, velour, panne velvet as well as foil lame, polyester and double-knit. You will notice a small patch with an oval - this is a moleskin patch with beads, sequins and perle cotton yarn.

Photo #4 - Rosie's chair covers and jumper. The last photo is a close up of the jumper. The chair covers were embroidered and appliqued using silk, polyester, wool, velour and linen-blend neckties. They are dated 2002. The jumper is made from silk and polyester neck ties, poly double-knit and has mother-of-pearl buttons. You'll notice once again it is appliqued with religious symbols!

The following photos (are you all tired yet?) are of her Half-square pieces:

The piece above was made in 1986 and is called Half-squares Medallion. There is a theme in Rosie's fabrics- again it uses velvet, velveteen, velour and panne velvet. This one has faux fur added!

This (above) piece looks as if it shimmers, but in reality it is just the way the fabrics photographed. It is called, simply, Half-Squares and Four Patches. Dated 1986 it used novelty lame, brocade, polyester double-knit, metallic yarn knits (the bit of sparkle) and was backed with a lame knit and brocade.

Below is one of Rosie's jewerly hangings. These were done in the late 1990's and she would use wool flannel and add beads, rhinstones, and other "jewels". There would be wool, silk, velvets, cotton laces and yarns.

I hope you might be as intriqued with these works as I was. A very interesting exhibit, indeed.

The other exhibit at Shelburne was of comtempory Vermont artists. It was very nice and some of the quilts had hung at the Vermont Quilt Festival in years past. I also took some time to go thru the permanent collection that is on display. One day I'd love to take the conservation tour and see the fragile quilts that are not on public display. Now wouldn't that be wonderful!

Should I be able to get back on the computer later today I will give you a look at the antique quilts and the doll and crib quilts at the show. They were marvelous!! There was also a very moving exhibit of the Alzheimer quilt project entitled Alzheimer's Forgetting Piece by Piece. Ami Simms was the Curator, and you can see some of the quilts and get more information at her website. Having a step-father that suffered from this disease made the experience very touching and emotionally moving. Hard not to cry when you read the stories that accompany the quilts...the stories couldn't help by affect everyone who stood within this exhibit.

The "Put - Togethers"

Jul 8, 2007

Rosie Lee Tompkins

As promised, here is the first of my posts on the Rosie Lee Tompkins exhibit. Thompkins died in 2006 and "Rosie Lee Tompkins" is an assumed name as I mentioned in my previous post. She was one of 15 children born in southeast Arkansas and grew up picking cotton and helping her mother piece quilts from available scraps of cloth.
In a New York Times article about her, Rosie was quoted as saying: "I loved them so much that God let me see all these different colors".
As you'll soon see, Rosie was deeply religious and she felt that she was God's instrument and so her work was designed by Him.
My girlfriend and I were struck by what we found to be the choatic nature of Rosie's work. We commented on how genius borders a plane just this side of madness. I came to read that in the late 70's Rosie had a nervous breakdown and was hospitalized. She heard voices and believed her phone was tapped. She was never at peace and medication didn't help her. She turned to prayer and her needle. Here are just a few examples for now. Later I'll show you more:

Hit and Miss Strip, 1983:

String, 1985:

Ten Pillows (you'll notice the religious theme here in some of the small embroidered pillows), 1986

Santa Claus Hanging (red), 2004 and Embroidered and Appliqued Pot Holder (yellow), 2003

Embroidered and appliqued Jesus Curtain, 2006 (again a strongly religious piece)

More to come- the "Put-togethers".

Pictures, They Want Pictures!

"Pictures! Pictures, we want to see pictures!!" This was the cry from both Dawn and Libby (maybe someday I will learn how to link their blogs to mine!) after my return from the Vermont Quilt Festival. Since I am planning to have a somewhat quiet morning I decided to give the girls what they asked for, and will start with the Shelburne Museum's newest permanent exhibit, called Stars and Bars. This exhibit was a gift of Amish Quilts from Barbara and Michawl Polemis to the museum, and they are simply put- beautiful. Shelburne was a half day (off site) trip sponsored by the Vermont Quilt Festival, and my quilting friend and I decided it would be a nice way to spend Friday morning. Now for the pictures before there is mutiny (*smile*).
The first photo is a beauty. Set on the bed as it was, this quilt made me want to make a quilt of simplicity. All of the quilts did! I love the cheddars in old quilts and the colors in this star quilt really drew my eye.

As pretty as I found this bed quilt, when I half turned and saw this lone star on the wall I must have gasped outloud!! Now this is absolutely stunning! I am not sure I'd ever execute something like this. I started little lone star blocks last year, and they sit waiting for me to muster up more courage. They are very demanding, and right now I will just be happy with the memory of this fabulous beauty.

I apologize for the blurriness of this black and blue star quilt. I was experimenting with my new camera and even with the museum setting (we were not allowed to use flash in the rooms at the Hat and Fragrance Textile Gallery) I couldn't get a good shot of this one. I think you will be able to enjoy it enough, and I had to include it. I loved it!

Next, on to the bars. I'm partial to red so this stunning red and black bar quilt was probably my favorite quilt to view. I would love to make my own bar quilt, but I think I might like to use more colors in the bars rather than a two color quilt. Simple people, simple quilts...and all very stunning.

This next photo is an example of a quilt I'd love to make. Simple bars but I really love the colors- the purple, magenta, green.

After the "guided tour" ,which left a bit to be desired, my friend and I returned on our own to the gallery and took our time looking at the quilts close up. Truly works of art. The hand quilting made each and everyone of them masterpieces in their own right.

In my next post I will show some of the photos from The exhibit Something Pertaining to God- The Patchwork Art of Rosie Lee Tompkins. Some of her work reminded me of the quilts of Gee Bend. I think that many African American quilters have a different take on quilting, and Ms. Tompkins (whose real name was Effie Mae Howard) was no different. She loved color and was not afraid to use them. Interesting exhibit. Interesting woman- and quite the contempory artist. There was a newspaper article about her, and the photo showed her clothes sitting on a chair in human form- she so hated having her photo taken, she arranged her outfit for the photographer, but would not sit to be photographed!

Jul 6, 2007

A New Friend

I thought I'd start my adventure at the Vermont Quilt Festival in the middle! Good as any place to start really, since it seems I made a new friend quite easily! On Friday I took a side trip to the Shelburne Museum. There were three quilt exhibits being featured, one a wonderful small permanent exhibit of Amish quilts. This particular exhibit was at the textile building which is at the bottom of the hill near the duck pond. On the way down a mother duck and her sweet family was ambling across the road to the pond. Naturally I had to stop and pull out my camera as all I could think was "make way for ducklings"!
As they hit the grass one little guy (girl?) turned and looked me straight in the eye and exclaimed "Peep! Peep?" I had no idea what the chat was about but decided to peep back. That is when we became fast friends. This little sweetie just waddled right up to me and peeped back...and we continued to peep and walk together for a bit. If anyone saw me they would most likely have thought I'd lost my mind, but we were having fun.

Then momma noticed jr. was missing! Being the good mom, she charged the offending human (that would be me!) and gently nudged her baby back to the fold. !

Back with the fold, peeper made it to the edge of the pond and without looking back he dove in under the water and surfaced a short time later happy as could be. Family- it is a wonderful thing! Just made me smile to stand and watch the antics a bit.

I had almost forgotten how lovely Shelburne can be. Later I shall show you some of the quilts I got to see. Right now I need to start my day, or I shall be terribly late! Oh to be a little duck swimming merrily along in a nice cool pond- eating what I like best and eyeing the lillies. A chat with a human or two...especially the ones who talk back, now wouldn't that be fun!

Jul 4, 2007


Happy Fourth From My House To Yours!
It isn't the best of days, but we will spend it with family and friends which is always special! It seems as if it has been forever since I've last added anything to my blog, and I hope to remedy that soon! I've just returned from a restful week at the Vermont Quilt Festival (5 days really, but for me that makes a week!) and am still trying to play catch up. I hope everyone has a wonderful day- sit back, eat a hot dog (or hamburger) and enjoy the fireworks! We have much to be thankful for in this country of ours.
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