October 1, 2016

The American Quilt Study Group Seminar in Tempe, Arizona

Members of the American Quilt Study Group (AQSG) met in Tempe, Arizona, September 14-18 for their thirty-seventh annual Seminar.  We gathered at the Tempe Mission Palms hotel near the Arizona State University campus to enjoy what-turned-out-to-be moderate weather for this time of year and a lovely, Southwestern setting.

All photographs by Lynda Salter Chenoweth.
Inner courtyard at the Tempe Mission Palms.
The purpose of Seminar each year is to present original research related to quilt studies and related topics.  This year's presenters included:  Jonathan Gregory who presented a paper titled "Why Ernest Haight Made Quilts"; Colleen Hall-Patton who shard her research on "Protofeminist Thought in Mid-twentieth Century Magazine Articles"; Diana Bell-Kite who spoke on the topic "Memorials of Satin: Funeral Ribbon Quilts in Context"; Peggy Hazzard who presented "What the Eye Doesn't See, Doesn't Move the Heart: Migrant Quilts of Southern Arizona"; Sandy Staebell who introduced us to "The Godey Quilt: One Woman's Dream Becomes a Reality"; and, Susan A.D. Stanley who shared her research on "Mary Catherine Lamb: Lady of Perpetual Garage Sales".  All of these presentations are published in Uncoverings 2016, Vol. 37 of the Research Papers of the American Quilt Study Group.  This publication can be ordered using a form that is available on the AQSG web site at www.americanquiltstudygroup.org.
The keynote address this year was given by Carolyn O'Bagy Davis who introduced us to "Goldie Tracy Richmond: Indian Trader and Quiltmaker".  Goldie was legendary in Arizona for her magnificent applique quilts, the trading post she operated on the Tohono O'odham (formerly Papago) Indian Reservation, her grit surviving in the Sonoran desert, and for her larger-than-life persona. Several of Goldie's quilts were on display for close examination after the talk.
Examining quilts by Goldie Tracy Richmond that Carolyn O'Bagy Davis arranged to present.
Another Arizona quiltmaker was highlighted by our Saturday luncheon speaker, Janet Carruth.  She presented a talk titled "Emma Andres: Little Sister to America's Quiltmakers".  Andres lived in Prescott, Arizona, and produced many unusual quilts that influenced leading quiltmakers throughout the mid-twentieth century.  Some of her quilts were also displayed for close-up viewing.
This year provided several interesting tours for Seminar attendees.  One could choose between a tour to Mission San Xavier Del Bac and the Arizona Historical Society Museum in Tucson, a tour to the Tempe History Museum for a special exhibition of Territorial-era quilts, a tour of the Sharlot Hall Museum and Smoki Museum in Prescott, or a tour of the Desert Caballeros Western Museum in Wickenburg, an historic Western town north of Phoenix.  Lynda chose the Mission San Xavier Del Bac and the Arizona Historical Society Museum tour.
Mission San Xavier Del Bac first founded in 1692 by Father Eusebio Francisco Kino.  The
current structure was begun in 1783 by Franciscan Father Velderrain.
Detail of mission entrance.  The mission is situated on the Tohono O'odham Reservation and
 flies the flags of Spain, the United States, and the Tohono O'odham Nation.
A trip to the Arizona Historical Society Museum followed lunch in Tucson.  The visit included a bed-turning of some of the Museum's quilt collection, a trip into the storage facilities to see nineteenth-century costumes, and a general tour of the Museum.
Historical Society Curator Lorraine Jones conducted the bed-turning at the Arizona Historical
Society Museum.
Viewing nineteenth-century costumes at the Arizona Historical Society Museum.
Seminar attendees had a wide variety of Study Centers to choose from this year.  Topics included:  Pagtinabangay: The Quilts and Quiltmakers of Caohagan Island; From Samplers to Lacing Boards: The Evolution of Children's Sewing Cards; The Ladies Art Company of St. Louis, MO; Arpilleras, the Cloth of Change;  Quilts in Transition 1866-1875;  What WAS She Thinking?;  Early Quiltmakers of UNIQUE San Juan County, New Mexico; Mid-century Mid-Atlantic Friendship Quilts;  Buckshot, Dog Food, and Car Parts: 100 Years of Textile Bags;  Baltimore Album Quilt Designs; 20th Century Quilt Kits: An Overview; Regional Quilt Patterns and Styles of the 19th Century; and, Portraits of a Past Imagined: The Influences of the Colonial Revival on Quilting.  (Definitely something of interest for everyone.)    
If all of the foregoing was not enough to keep Seminar goers busy over four days, the event also provided several excellent meals, three hanging quilt exhibitions, a silent auction of donated quilts, books, textiles and other objects, a book sale of publications by AQSG authors, a live auction featuring quilts and coverlets, and outside vendors whose booths were replete with beautiful and historic quilts to purchase.  The following photographs are of stunning quilts offered by two different vendors, Kathryn Liston of Lafayette, California, and Stella Rubin of Darnestown, Maryland.

Next year's Seminar will be in Manchester, New Hampshire.  Go to the American Quilt Study Group web site provided above and become a member!  Then, join us for all the learning and the fun in New Hampshire next fall!!





  1. Thanks for the post. Fun to see what went on.

  2. Wow! This is the first post I have seen and I thank you for sharing with those of us who could not attend this year. Can't wait for NH next year!