Sunday, June 17, 2012

Bold Quilts and New Friends

This past Friday, I got to meet a new friend!  Kathy from Quilted Under the Influence blog, was in the Seattle area for her son's graduation and we got together for the day.  We toured the Bold Expressions exhibit of African-American quilts at the Bellevue Art Museum, lunched and then visited the local quilt shop.  A huge Thank You to Michele of With Heart and Hands for the heads-up about the exhibit!

Kathy was so sweet and brought me this great mug rug as a gift.  I think this will probably never be touched by a mug!  It'll be hung on the wall and enjoyed as the art that it is.

The exhibit is a private collection of African American quilts, mainly from the American South.  The quilts are mostly early to mid 20th century.  Most of them were made of cotton, some were wool, at least one was all polyester, and many were a little of everything.  

We visited the gift shop and we each bought the catalog of the show.  It was fairly inexpensive as these things go and it shows most of the quilts that were in the exhibit.  My only regret is that the photos in this book are rather dull not as bright as I've gotten used to in quilt books and don't really show the truly bold colors in these quilts. Also, my favorite strip quilt is not shown in the book.  But the photos are clear enough to  see the quilting in many of the quilts.  The quilts are totally inspiring!  I'm so glad that the book was available!  

Edited to add: I had a question about this book from one of my readers. Yes, I DO recommend the book!  It's 96 pages, softcover and over 50 photos.  If you cannot get to the museum exhibit, you can still get the book!  Go to the Mingei Museum (the publisher) here.  The book is under US$20.

This Mandala quilt was the first quilt I saw and it just knocked my socks off!  Love those orange ties!

I think this strip quilt was one of my favorites.  This photo really doesn't show the true colors - it was quite striking.  Again, I love the ties.  Many of the quilts were tied, some with wool and some with what appeared to be perle cotton.

This Housetop quilt really was bold.  I think the sashings are fun.  It was fun to see that there was at least some orange in most of the quilts, and many of the quilts were constructed in strips of blocks.  There was definitely some resemblance to the Gee's Bend quilts as well.

This all-wool strip quilt was so inviting.  It was hard to resist the temptation to touch it.  Most of the fabrics were what appeared to be wool suiting, but those pieces of red were a very fuzzy wool fabric that reminded me of a lady's coat.

It was a wonderful, fun exhibit, and I'm planning on going back to see it at least one more time.  If you are anywhere near or will be visiting the Seattle area and are interested in this type of quilt, I highly recommend that you take the time to visit this show.  It runs until October 7, 2012.


  1. Thanks for the sneak peek at the show. I'll be going soon, and definitely more than once!

  2. thanks so much for sharing! i love to see pics from a quilt show i have absolutely no hope of being able to go to.:)

  3. thanks for giving us a review of the show. Always fun to go with a fellow quilter.
    Looks like a book I just may want! cute mug rug!

  4. I wish I could go. Are you saying the photos in the book aren't reproduced well, or in the catalogue? Love the strip quilt too.

  5. What fantastic quilts. Thank you so much for sharing. I would never be able to go out there to see them. Hugs

  6. Sounds like a great exhibit. Would love to see the Mandala quilt with the orange ties.

  7. Let me see, all I need to do it hop through South Dakota and Montana, skip on to Idaho and visit my aunt, then jump on over for the exhibit. How hard can that be?? Glad you were there to take photos!

  8. oh, I wish I could go!!! wooohoo, sounds like a wonderful event for you. I love the book, what a bummer that the colors aren't true to life.

  9. That is one of my favorite books. I look at it over and over again. I love that Housetop quilt!

  10. Glad you had such a good time meeting a new friend. Blogland is fun, yeah!

  11. That looks like an amazing exhibition!! I wonder if it would ever tour to Australia? The mug rug you received is gorgeous, I would pin it on the wall too!

  12. Wow Wow Wow....did you carry around 'smellin salts' to use to keep from swooning and falling plum over??? They would probable just have to kick me out at the end of the day for not wanting to leave. I could look at these quilts over and over and over again!

    Lucky you getting to see them up close! Thanks for sharing with us!


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