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Almost as a welcome to the neighborhood, the Edward Thorp Gallery invited me to curate its exhibition TEXTILES: American Quilts & Coverlets . 19th & 20th Century. This is the first time in decades that a fine arts gallery in NYC is presenting antique quilts as the art form they are. On view are about two dozen distinctive quilts chosen for their visual impact and technical skill, with their historic component a bonus for viewers

The distinguished Edward Thorp Gallery at 210 Eleventh Avenue (25th Street) is presenting a survey of American antique quilts and coverlets dating from the early 19th century through the mid 20th century.. Quiltmaking can be interpreted as a reflection on a community and society’s way of life, as well as an expression of religious commitment, political sentiment, or economic circumstance. They offer an understanding of international trade, technological developments, and thecircumstances of the society producing them.
This exhibit covers a broad range of historic quilt types reflecting traditional and unique designs. Among them are fine wools sewn by members of the Amish and Mennonite communities of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, which demonstrate a minimalist approach to composition. The nautical motif Compass Star and Diamond in the Square are monumental images which dispel the notion of a quilt as a nostalgic compilation of small-scale random scrap pieces. A more traditional approach is reflected with mid-19th century quilts such as Carpenters Wheel, pieced from fine cottons from the 1840s, and Triple Blossoms, a layered red and green appliqué from Pennsylvania c.1870s, both iconic American designs. String Squares in a Grid, an example of text-based work dated 1920 from West Virginia, incorporates densely stitched names of families who united probably to raise funds or make a wedding presentation, and Gather Up The Fragments, a unique New York State quilt, offers the Biblical text of the Book Of John Ch 6:12 in hand pieced lettering conveying the text of the Passover seder story.

The selling exhibition is on view from April 25 through June 7th, Tuesday through Saturday from 11 to 6. Contact the gallery at 212/691-6565, or me at 917/797-1260..

We just moved to a warehouse in Chelsea! After being midtown East Side for years, we are now in an appointment-required location in Chelsea, the terrific art gallery district. We are on Eleventh Avenue one block from the High Line Park entrance at 26th Street, and also one block in from the Hudson River. An appointment is absolutely necessary, so please call 917/797-1260 a day or two in advance so we can plan to greet you downtown.


PROVOCATIVE PARALLELS: THE MODERN ART OF ANTIQUE QUILTS, a lecture presented in conjunction with the exhibition 
American Quilts from the Terasaki Collection, at the Herbert Johnson Art Museum, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY.
June 12 - August 26, 2012

Quilt with Harvest Sun Pattern, American, nineteenth or early twentieth century, cotton, pieced. Collection of Etsuko Terasaki. Photo credit: David O. Brown, courtesy of the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University.

This exhibition features twenty-one American quilts from the private collection of Etsuko Terasaki, a former professor of Japanese literature and theatre at Cornell University, whose fascination with color and design dates back to her childhood in Japan. Nearly forty years ago, Terasaki saw her first American quilt and soon after became an avid collector. With an eye for quality in design and craftsmanship, she built a stellar collection that at one time included nearly 300 quilts. The exhibition includes highlights from that collection, featuring pieced quilts made in America in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Sophisticated in design, these quilts testify to the timeless human impulse to create order and beauty in our surroundings, with whatever resources available, for utility and for pure visual pleasure.

The exhibition was organized by the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y. The exhibition was curated by Cathy Rosa Klimaszewski, Associate Director for Programs / Harriett Ames Charitable Trust Curator of Education.


When that groom and groom, or bride and bride, or even (gasp!) that bride and groom walk down the aisle in New York State from July 24 on, make their event even more memorable  by covering the aisle with an antique hooked rug or rag carpet runner. It will be something the couple can use in their home after the ceremony to cherish as a reminder of their long-anticipated day.

I recommend using a runner from the 19th or early 20th century instead of a plain old white rug. Make your choice from our large well edited inventory of loom-woven rag carpet in plaids, or with vertical stripes, or with all- over striations;  traditional hooked rugs in runner lengths with either geometric, floral or pictorial designs, or braided or crocheted runners. 

Choose something that will delight the happy couple, and will also intrigue the wedding guests. Runners vary in width from about 1 ½’ wide up to 4' wide, and vary in length from 8' on up to some rag carpet rolls that run 45' long; later on, those can be cut into shorter strips and sewn together to make a room size carpet.

The real beauty of antique and vintage rag carpet and hooked rugs has never been accurately copied because in these originals is a color variegation over time from natural materials. Their incomparable visual effects have a liveliness and depth to cherish always.