Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Anonymous was a quilter

I first heard the phrase " Anonymous was a woman-" when I read Mirra Bank's book of the same name in the 1980s. But as I study and see yet more 'new' old quilts, I think that anonymous was truly a quilter.

Only rarely do I see a signed quilt but when I find a signature, it's a treasure. The name is sometimes quilted into the fabric's surface in same-color thread and is overlooked by the casual observer. Most often it's just the first name, revealing that the maker never thought this quilt might be viewed by someone who didn't know who she was and what her last name was. This Rob Peter to Pay Paul quilt I bought on ebay shows the quilter's hand outlined in stitches.

Although by any standards a huge piece of work, a handmade quilt large enough for the bed is removed from consideration as "art" since it is a practical domestic object. And it's not hung on the wall like a painting. And it was likely fabricated from common clothing scraps. And it was made by a female. Oh dear.

And then there's the 'say it loud, say it proud' group. In case you missed it, this woman's name began with an H.


Sharon Stark said...

Hi, Pepper,

This post got me thinking about signatures, and though I've had a number of signed quilts, I've had many more that were signed with just initials. If only those initialers knew that one day noone would have any idea what the last initial stood for, let alone the first.

Such is the way with one early trapunto quilt I have - with cornucopia and all sorts of fruits and flowers, trees and birds as well. And it's signed along one side with a marking stitch in dark thread: PC Anyone you know?

Pepper Cory said...

Yeah Sharon-That quilt's mine. Somehow it got into Great Aunt Minnie's stuff in Pennsylvania and then disappeared after her death and an estate auction... please contact me for the correct address to send it to!

Anonymous said...

I saw the big H quilt you posted on December 17, my name states with a big H too. And my birthday is on December 18, 1958 so the big 60.