Handmade Antique Quilts at the 35th Dallas Quilt Show April 16, 2016 21:51

 Recently I visited the 35th Anniversary of the Dallas Quilt Show which was such an inspiration. To mark the anniversary the well know American Quilt collector and historian Gerald E. Roy, exhibited 35 quilts for 35 years: A sampling of Quilts from the Pilgrim/Roy Collection- Quilts from 1830 to 1940.

 Gerald E. Roy with Moravian Baskets Quilt, Ephrata, Pennsylvania  c.1880


The 35 Quilts were divided into 7 traditional quilt patterns: Basket, Touching Stars, Log Cabin, Split Nine Patch, House, Double Wedding Ring and Ocean Wave with 5  quilts displayed of each pattern.

 Log Cabin Straight Furrow Quilt, Pennsylvania c.1860


I am not ashamed to tell you, that I spent three hours with these exquisite quilts and could have easily spent more. Gerald gave a knowledgeable talk about his collection including the stories behind the quilts and why he purchased and chose them for the exhibition. I think it is astonishing that Gerald was able to select 35 quilts out of a collection of 2,500!

 Double Wedding Ring Variation Quilt, Texas-1930



 African American Double Wedding Ring Variation Quilt, Georgia c.1920


The exhibition featured handmade antique quilts made by Amish, Mennonite, Morovian and African American communities and the unique artistic styles attributed to these groups. 

 Touching Stars Quilt, Pennsylvania-1880


Gerald's talk highlighted the non traditional use of colour in these beautiful antique quilts (he used to be an Art teacher) and how these creative and innovative women were experimental in using medium dark and dark colours together instead of juxtaposing dark tones against a white/light background, common among quilters of their day.

Ohio Amish Ocean Waves Variation Quilt  c.1920


I am always struck by how modern and timeless some of these antique quilts look and the limited tools women had available to handcraft such beautiful works of art. To me antique quilts are textile documents that reveal and conceal the lives of their makers. Women would spends hours even years making quilts and would stitch themselves into each quilt, giving their time, sweat, blood and sometimes tears.

I spend hours researching historical records for traditional patterns and quilts to inspire my work and have a deep respect for makers who have gone before me. Making handmade quilts deeply routed in history connects me to the past and allows me to weave my clients stories into my quilts for generations to enjoy for many years to come.

  Houses on the Hill, New England c.1940


Jennifer is a modern traditional patchwork quilt-maker taught by her late Texan mother-in-law when she was 81 years old; the traditional way  he art of quilt making was passed down from one woman to another. Jennifer's practice is inspired by quilts dated from 1750-1950. She also works to commission using a client's own special cloth.


To commission a bespoke handmade quilt is easier than you might think. Contact Jennifer on 0207 6663347 or email hello@vintageandfloral.com