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Column #76

"Maverick" Quilts at the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame

Whirling Ninepatch, c. 1900, maker and region unknown. Photo by Jean Demeter.
Whirling Ninepatch, c. 1900, maker and region unknown. Photo by Jean Demeter.

The National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame in Fort Worth, Texas, whose motto is, “The Women Who Shape the West…Change the World,” is hosting the world premiere exhibition of 35 unusual American quilts entitled, “Off the Wall: Maverick Quilts” through March 31.

Organized by Julie Silber and Jean Demeter of The Quilt Complex in Albion, California, “Maverick Quilts” demonstrates the ways that different individuals interpret the same traditional quilt patterns in dramatically dissimilar ways. The delightful results, according to the Museum, show quilts that “range from the elegant to the primitive, from predictable to wildly inspired. These antique quilts are moving and amusing, formal or funky. And all stops in between.”

The exhibit, which spans almost two centuries of quiltmaking, features mostly utilitarian quilts, although some of the pieces are very well crafted.

The Quilt Complex notes that all the quilts share “an unusual twist on the ordinary, a verve and a gritty individuality rarely found in more studied and self-conscious quilts. We do not know if the techniques or patterns they employ were the result of misunderstandings of the normal way of quiltmaking, or a conscious rejection of it.”

“There are many obvious ties between quilts and those very women we honor in our Museum,” notes Diana Vela, associate executive director of exhibits and education. “Many of our honorees were considered ‘mavericks’ in their time—doing things that were out of the ordinary, and going against traditionally prescribed roles. This exhibit nicely complements our mission to speak about those women who shaped the west and changed the world.”

The 10-year-old Museum was founded not only to preserve cowgirl history, but also, according to founders, “to share…the colorful stories behind these Western women who lived from the mid-1800s to present day—the pioneers, the artists and writers, the tribal leaders, the entertainers, the social activists, the modern ranchers, the rodeo cowgirls.”

Augmenting the Maverick exhibit are two special quilts on loan from the Texas Quilt Museum: The Barrel Racer by Susan H. Garman and The Mighty Oak by Mary Huntington. These pieces also hung in the Museum Rotunda, and dovetailed with the 2013 Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo earlier this year, which brought many visitors to the Museum.

Also corresponding to the quilt exhibit, the Museum accepted submissions of “Boots” quilt blocks intended to create community quilts.

The Quilter’s Guilds of Plano, Dallas, and McKinney, Texas are among those who are helping with the community quilts, along with additional participation from individual quilters and area shop owners. Depending on the number of quilts made, one or more may remain as part of the Museum’s permanent collection and others may be raffled off to raise funds for the Museum’s educational projects. The Museum welcomes any quilters who have the time to donate to assemble their quilts or participate in some way.


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Archived blogs:

Column 145: Suzy on Carolyn Mazloomi's Groundbreaking Quilt Exhibit
Column 144: Texas Community Marks Juneteenth Sesquicentennial with History Quilts
Column 143: Maya Embroidered Patchwork
Column 142: Huipil Patchwork Quilts
Column 141: Tom Korn’s Military Medal Quilts
Column 140: The Return of Double Knits!
Column 139: Passage Quilts
Column 138: Home of the Brave Quilts
Column 137: The Story of Fabric Yo-Yos
Column 136: Christmas in July
Column 135: Trifles
Column 134: Deaf Initiatives—Communicating Through Quilts
Column 133: My Betty Boop Quilt
Column 132: Maura Grace Ambrose
Column 131: All You Need Is Love
Column 130: Chicken Linens
Column 129: The Quilted Chuppah
Column 128: Patchwork Around the World: Yoruba Dance Costumes
Column 127: The Bowers Co-Op Quilts
Column 126: Fon Appliqué and Haitian Voodoo Flags
Column 125: The Quilt Garden at The North Carolina Arboretum
Column 124: Harriet Powers and Handful’s Mauma
Column 123: Quilters de Mexico
Column 122: An Appliquéd Surprise
Column 121: Matisse’s Fabric Stash
Column 120: Soogan—The Cowboy’s Quilt
Column 119: The Ron Swanson Quilt
Column 118: HClarkdale, Georgia—A Thread of History
Column 117: How WWI Changed the Color of Quilts in the United States
Column 116: Wagga—The Bushman’s Quilt
Column 115: All in the Family
Column 114: The Alabama State Quilt
Column 113: Balloon Quilts of Albuquerque
Column 112: The Family That Quilts Together, Stays Together
Column 111: Two Rivers, Three Sisters
Column 110: Quilters Helping Quilters
Column 109: Community Cookbooks and Fundraiser Quilts—Parallel Histories
Column 108: Quilting to Freedom
Column 107: National Quilting Day
Column 106: The Airing of the Quilts
Column 105: A Call for a National Juneteenth Commemorative Quilt
Column 104: Dominoes
Column 103: 1936 Texas Centennial Bluebonnet Quilt
Column 102: Helen Blackstone, A Texas Quilter
Column 101: Montana CattleWomen Anniversary Brand Quilt
Column 100: 100th Suzy's Fancy Column!
Column 99: Montana Stockgrowers Anniversary Brand Quilt
Column 98: The Tobacco Sack Connection
Column 97: Meet the Sisters Who Are State Fair Quilting Queens
Column 96: The connection between fairs and quilts.
Column 95: Her Mother Pieced Quilts
Column 94: Rebecca Barker’s Quiltscapes
Column 93: The Thread and Thimble Club Mystery

See other archived columns here

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