Arts Everyday Living: Folk Art Expressions, American Quilts, I—Creative Heart of a Woman’s Life

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All my joys and all my sorrows are stitched into those little pieces….When the girls annoyed me or when they gave me a warm feeling around my heart.  And John, too.  He was stitched into that quilt all the 30 years we were married…So they are all in that quilt, my hopes, my fears, my joys and sorrows, my loves and hates.*



Unidentified Artist, Sunflowers and Hearts, 1860-1880, cotton, American Folk Art Museum, New York


The quilt referred to in the quote has probably been long lost.  The words, though, of this nineteenth century Ohio woman remain—a testament to how her own creativity both sustained and enriched her daily life.

However, a quilt could be finished in a day, the joint effort of women gathered together, in what was then a social event.  Each of them individually saving pieces of woolen, cotton, silk and calicoes from worn-out clothes as well as household items—to be sewn into unforgettable patterns, that would be passed down from generation to generation in homes throughout the United States.

Note: The history of Sunflowers and Hearts above is vague.  Was it done by a single artist or a group? The geographic origin might be New England, the time period 1860 to 1880.  Now at the American Folk Art Museum, a major cultural resource.


*Source is Reaching Out with Art, Folk Art Expressions: Favorite American Quilts by Joan Hart, Eymann Publications, Reno, Nevada, 1998.


The above image is used solely for educational purposes.




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