Sunday, 20 November 2011

New York: 300 Years of Red & White Quilts

I've been wanting to write about a trip I did to New York City, specifically to see quilts, in March 2011. I've had the photos on my computer for all this time, and I was just looking over them, after my Houston experience, and realize now that it was an amazing journey that changed me forever.

I found out about this Red and White display when I was looking around on the internet one day.         It was put on by the American Folk Art Museum. Check out the link here.  Once I knew about the show, I had to go, I knew I would forever regret not going. All these quilts, 650 of them, had been collected by one quilt fan, and she generously decided to share them with the public all in one display. She had collected more quilts, but these are her red and white ones.  Many of them are very old, dating up to 300 years old, and some are more modern.

The amazing thing about this display was the way the quilts were displayed.  Many quilts you see in a variety of displays are hung all on one level, and you walk around to see them one at time.  In this display, the building was vastly huge and dark, and a professional stage lighting company had been hired to set up lighting specifically to highlight the quilts.  The other amazing thing about this display was that the quilts were hung on many levels, sometimes three or four layers up, with an intense circular spiral thing going on in the centre. 

So when I entered the huge vast room full of quilts, it took my breath away. It was stunning to stand inside the entryway and take in the enormity of the project. Wow. I was just in awe. People walked softly and spoke in hushed tones, and for the most part moved around in near darkness, because it was only the quilts that were lit. It felt somewhat surreal, but very effective.  It took some time, taking in each quilt, giving each piece its due.  I spent most of a day there, taking in the quilts, taking photos of nearly all of them, absorbing as much as I could, since I was aware that this was a once in a lifetime experience.  

There were other quilt things going that same weekend in New York, which I will write about in other posts.

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