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College of Health and Human Sciences

Vintage Flag Quilt to headline the 'Pieces of Time' exhibition at K-State's Beach Museum of Art

Friday, May 28, 2010

Flag Quilt

ARTIST UNKNOWN (POSSIBLY BALTIMORE, MARYLAND) Patriotic, between 1847 and 1851 Appliquéd cotton, hand-quilted, 105 in. x 104 in. (267 x 264 cm) KSU HCTM 1992.13.1, gift of Catherine Gardner Photo by David Mayes, K-State Photographic Services Historic Costume and Textile Museum Department of Apparel, Textile, and Interior Design College of Human Ecology Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas

A patriotic flag quilt will star in an upcoming exhibition of quilts at Kansas State University's Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art.

The "Pieces of Time: Quilts from K-State's Historic Costume and Textile Museum" exhibition opens Friday, May 28, and includes more than a dozen American quilts from the mid-19th to the mid-20th centuries.

Marla Day, curator of K-State's Historic Costume and Textile Museum, said the exhibition is an opportunity to share selections from the museum with the community. K-State's Historic Costume and Textile Museum is housed in the K-State's department of apparel, textiles and interior design in Justin Hall.

"These quilts have never been shared with the public. This is rare opportunity," Day said. "The beautiful patriotic flag quilt will be the star of the show, but the path the quilt took to become that star and part of the museum's holdings is surprising."

The flag quilt was purchased by Robert Weir around 1940. Weir gave the piece, which he discovered in an old trunk at an auction, to his sister, Mary Catherine Weir Gardner, of Topeka. She then had it quilted for about $30, or $466 today. Gardner's estate donated the quilt to K-State's Historic Costume and Textile Museum in 1992. The Friends of the Historic Costume and Textile Museum recently funded the conservation of the quilt.

Day said that the quilt might have been started in Maryland as its eagle motifs bear a strong resemblance to examples produced in Baltimore between 1840-1850. Two flag motifs bearing 29 stars are presumed to date around 1847, when Iowa became part of the Union. Additional flag motifs showing 31 stars probably date to around 1851. The differing flag elements testify to how long it often takes a quilter to complete such a large piece of work, Day said.

Each quilt tells a story, according to Day.

"Whether it is the art of the quilt's composition or the artistry of the needle, the quilts are like canvas and allow their creator a place to express their originality, inventiveness and inspiration," she said.

"Pieces of Time" includes 16 additional American quilts and quilted children's blankets dating from 1840 to 1950. Each work celebrates the art of the needle and fabric, Day said.

The exhibition runs through Sept. 12.

Several events related to the "Pieces of Time" exhibition will be offered and include:

  • "An Afternoon Tea Celebrating 'Pieces of Time,'" 3-5 p.m. Sunday, June 6, on the lawn of the K-State president's home, 100 Wilson Court. Tea participants will enjoy an array of savories, scones and sweets while listening to a performance of the Tallgrass Trio. A private viewing of the quilt exhibition will follow from 4:30-6 p.m. at the Beach Museum. Tickets for the event, which is a benefit, are $35 per person. Reservations may be made on the KSU Foundation website. In case of rain the entire event will be at the museum.
  • Grandmother's Day, 10 a.m. to noon, Monday, June 7, is a special time for grandmother and grandchildren to learn about the history of quilts and experiment with quilt pattern making. The cost is $1 per person to cover art supplies and reservations are requested.
  • Ladies' Night for "Pieces of Time," 6:30-8:30 p.m. Thursday, June 24, will include a tour of the exhibition, desserts and a greeting card project based on quilt designs. Cost is $10 per person and reservations are required.
  • Patricia Crews, director of the International Quilt Studies Center at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, will present a lecture at 4:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 10, in All Faiths Chapel. More information on the lecture is available by calling K-State's department of apparel, textiles and interior design at 785-532-6993.

The Beach Museum's summer ArtSmart classes for children also will have a quilt theme. Details are available on the Beach Museum website.

The Beach Museum of Art is on the southeast corner of the K-State campus at 14th Street and Anderson Avenue. Free visitor parking is available next to the building. Normal museum hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. The museum is closed Mondays.

Prepared by Communications and Marketing

This article was posted on Friday, May 28, 2010, and is filed under Costume and Textile Museum, Interior Design and Fashion Studies.