I was thrilled to see this Victorian crazy quilt by Elizabeth Parkhurst Williams which is currently on exhibit at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles. I love how these quilts serve as a repository of souvenirs, a diary of remnants and a document of the period. Scraps of a wedding dress, a christening gown, a ribbon from a meeting.
As an artist, I love the explosion of pattern, texture, color and embellishment and can’t help but feel inspired when I pour over one! Of course, I come from a long line of women who were handy with a needle. My great grandmothers worked in the woolen mills of Lawrence, Massachusetts and I’m lucky to have rugs and afghans that they crocheted. My grandmother loved to hook rugs and embroider and my mother sewed and made quilts, they even combined their talents on a crazy quilt of their own at one point.
A very rare BEAUTY. I love the overall pastel impression & softness of most tones. Although there are many vibrant jewel tones as well & these compare to the mother/grandmother Crazy Fan Quilt that you refer to, with all the loving artistic needlework embroidery of Mary Beatrice. Special dates, initials, musical notes on a scale, blessings symbols, cupid’s hearts, roses, tulips, sunbursts, ferns & so many other interesting floral & geometric stitches intertwine over the polished cotton of these jewels of memory. A truly cherished quilt, as must be the superb craftwomanship one you chose to photograph, to those present @ the making & those who came after. A true celebration of artistic hands stitching for the love of the craft, the colors, the form, the meditative quality of time spent in a process of fabric & thread embellishment & creation. Thanks for the detailed views. BE
The light in the Museum is very subdued to protect the stability of the pigment and fibers of these antique quilts, so while these are not the sharpest images, I’m glad they came out at all. I was really impressed with the fine dimensional ribbon work as well as the exquisite and varied embroidery.