Common Threads: 150 Years of Adirondack Quilts & Comforters
May 23 — October 13, 2014
The Adirondack region has supported a vibrant pieced-textile tradition for over a century and a half. From bedcovers, plain or fancy, meant to keep families warm through long Adirondack winters, to stunning art quilts of the twenty-first century, the quilts and comforters of the North Country mirror national trends and also tell a unique story of life in the mountains.
This exceptionally beautiful exhibition includes historic quilts from the Adirondack Museum's textile collection, as well as contemporary quilts, comforters, and pieced wall hangings on loan from quilters in communities throughout the region. In 2011, eight new quilts — seven historic and one modern — will be included in the exhibit.
"Common Threads" will explore themes of women's work, domestic life, social networks in a rural area, generational continuity among women, and women's artistic response to life in the Adirondacks.
Quilts and comforters serve as paths to stories of the sort that don't get recorded in history books.
There is the story of Joseph R. Bruno, a cook at the North River Hotel whose co-workers made him a retirement present in 1894 of an appliqué spread with 47 different blocks, each reminding him of his time with them—Odd Fellows insignia, a rifle and a deer, a stringer of trout, a croquet set.
There is the heart-breaking tale of Mary Church Holland, wife of a garnet miner and former teacher, who was so devastated after the death of her first child that she appealed to her doctor, who told her to "keep busy." The result was a spectacular crazy quilt, completed during the winter of 1887-8 in North River.
"Common Threads: 150 Years of Adirondack Quilts and Comforters" will connect the past, including Joseph Bruno, Mary Holland, and others like them, with the present through familiar household objects.
Family Friendly Exhibit Elements:
Recreate a pattern from the exhibit or design your own your own quilt block using tangrams — geometric wooden blocks. Kids can also create landscape scenes on a felt wall.
Kids try out stitching in patterns plain and fancy on child-sized quilt frames.
Enjoy beautifully illustrated quilt-themed children's books.
Explore museum exhibits with our special activity pages and take them home to create your own Memory Book.
Also visit our online version of this exhibit listed under the Online Exhibits section of our web site.