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by Julie Dowling

1930s schoolhouse design from Kentucky

The Pilar Shephard Art Gallery is currently devoting a whole room to antique quilts. Those who know quilt designs will be delighted to see the variety of quilts on display at the Pilar Shephard Art Gallery.

The rare Schoolhouse design, French Baskets, Bull's Eye, and Fan are some of the intricate designs in the collections. Nearly all quilts are c. 1910 and beautifully executed and stitched.

One quilt, French Baskets, is museum quality, having been deaquisitioned from the Los Angeles Art Gallery. The Bull's Eye has over 5,500 pieces , the material hand dyed with vegetable dyes of orange and brown. The Clamshell quilt was hand pieced and quilted by Jennifer Loens of Montague, PEI.

The Fan is a beautiful graphic design and extremely rare. According to my information, this design was the first to be designated as a collectible design. A favourite for many is the Postage Stamp quilt from Missouri. It is made from one inch squares using orange and black to set off the suggestion of many trips around the world.

The domestic arts of weaving, quilting and hooking have been firmly entrenched in families for centuries. They are associated with warmth and comfort, with births and death, with weddings and new households. Yet the artists who created these treasures remain virtually anonymous. Since women have traditionally created within the domestic sphere, their exclusion from art history has rendered them invisible and their artistic creations have been largely ignored in the art world.

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