October 16, 2015

"19 Stars: Quilts of Indiana's Past and Present" - Indiana State Museum Celebrates Indiana's Bicentennial

A major quilt exhibition was hanging at the Indiana State Museum while members of the American Quilt Study Group were holding their annual Seminar in Indianapolis last month.  The exhibition featured nineteen historic star-patterned quilts in the Museum's collections and nineteen quilts of star-theme made by contemporary quilt makers, most specifically for the exhibition.  The purpose of the exhibition was celebration of Indiana as the nineteenth state admitted to the Union.

Exhibition staff were on hand to answer questions about the quilts, give permission to photograph the quilts, and hand out detailed descriptions of those quilts that were part of the Museum's collections.

The following are a few of the contemporary quilts on display.  All photographs are by Lynda Salter Chenoweth.

Bohemian Fireworks made by contemporary quilt maker Sandra Peterson.
 
The Culver Black Horse Troupe.  Makers: Judy Laval Morton, Lydia Stoll,
and Miriam Graber.
 
Tranquility.  Makers: Terri Degen Kolb and Cathy Franks.
 
Chicken & Stars.  Makers: Sherry McConnell and Linda Lupton.  A message
is placed on the lower right corner of the quilt.  It reads: "Eat more beef!"
 
Stars and Sparks.  Makers:  Judy Tescher and Elaine Reed.
 
Indiana Sunburst.  Makers: Judy Laval Morton, Lydia Stoll, and
Miriam Graber.  The portion of this quilt within the central red border appears
 to have been inspired by a quilt made by Mary (Betsy) Totten
Polhemus Williams (1781-1861) of New York.  The "Totten Quilt" is dated
 1825-1835 and is a holding of the Smithsonian National Museum of
American History (object number TE*T08153).
 
Encircled Stars.  Maker: Anita Hardwick.
 
 
There were two gallery spaces used for this exhibition - one for the contemporary quilts and another for the historic quilts.  Standing in the hallway leading to these spaces, there is a stunning view of Indianapolis through large glass walls with a crane protruding upward from an industrial exhibition on the floor below.
 
The second gallery room contained nineteen historic quilts that are holdings of the Indiana State Museum.  Here is a sampling of these wonderful quilts.
 
Eight Pointed Star pattern pieced comforter quilt, 1926.  Indiana State Museum,
Indianapolis, Indiana.  Museum ID No. 71.968.063.0520.
 
The name "C.F. Norris" with the date 1926 is embroidered on the upper right hand border of this quilt.  According to Indiana State Museum object records, the quilt belonged to the family of William F. Norris.  He was a druggist in South Whitley, Indiana, from 1901-1950.  Museum records include a family history and newspaper clippings along with information about Mrs. Norris's button collection.
 
Feathered Star pattern red/green pieced quilt, ca. 1840-1870.  Indiana State Museum,
Indianapolis, Indiana.  Museum ID No. 71.969.091.0057.
 
The maker of this quilt is unknown but the donor, Audra Rosemary Breedlove (Mrs. Bryan) Harris said that it was used by Elsie Myrtle Barlow Breedlove (1880-1962).  Elsie was born in Brownsburg, Indiana, and married Fred M. Breedlove on February 12, 1909 in Indianapolis.
 
Lone Star, Blazing Star or Star of Bethlehem pattern pieced quilt, 1880. Indiana
State Museum, Indianapolis, Indiana.  Museum ID No. 71.2010.068.0001.
 
This quilt was made by Anna Marie Arnold Clemmons for her husband Joseph T. Clemmons on the occasion of his thirty-fourth birthday.  They lived in Fountaintown, Shelby County, Indiana, at the time the quilt was made.
 
Detail of the Anna Marie Arnold Clemmons quilt.  The inscription, embroidered in red chain stitch, reads:
"J. Clemmon [sic] married A W Arnold March 22, 1866."  A second inscription on the right, bottom corner of
 the quilt reads: "Presented to J Clemmons on his 34 birthday by his wife."
 
Blazing Star pattern quadrant pieced quilt, 1860-1880.  Indiana State Museum,
Indianapolis, Indiana.  Museum ID No. 71.981.011.0001.
 
The maker of this quilt is unknown.  It was used in Tipton County, Indiana, by the donor's grandparents, Catherine (1848-1927) and William T. Carr (1848-1928).
 
Stars/Goose Foot pattern quilt, 1930-1940.  Indiana State Museum,
Indianapolis, Indiana.  Museum ID No. 71.989.01.401.
 
This Amish quilt was made by Sarah Miller Troyer in Goshen, Elkhart County, Indiana.  It is a reversible quilt with the back side displaying a Plain Quilt/Hollow Square pattern using a medium blue cotton sateen field with quadruple borders.  Attached to the back is an original David Pottinger muslin label that says the quilt was made by Sarah Miller Troyer for her daughter Ella (Troyer) Schmucker in Goshen, Indiana, ca. 1935.
 
The variety of star-themed quilts used for the Indiana State Museum's 19 Stars exhibition highlighted the creativity of both historic and contemporary quilt makers and produced an interesting and informative experience for all who attended.
 
The exhibition did not, however, contain only star-themed quilts.  Some of the contemporary quilts hung among the "stars" depicted or symbolized events in Indiana history. Two of these quilts, made by international fabric artist Penny Sisto, will be the subject of our next post.
 
Our thanks to the Indiana State Museum for permission to photograph the exhibition quilts and for the detailed object records cited here.
 
Sources:
 
Newell, Aimee E.  "More Than Warmth: Gift Quilts by Aging Women in Antebellum America."  In Uncoverings 2008, Volume 29 of the Research Papers of the American Quilt Study Group, Laurel Horton ed.  (The Totten Quilt is featured in this article along with a color photograph.)
 
Notes taken by Lynda Salter Chenoweth while viewing the exhibition.
 
Object records provided by the Indiana State Museum.
 
(c) Lynda Salter Chenoweth and Mary Holton Robare, 2015.

 




 
 
 
 
 
 
 

No comments:

Post a Comment