Saturday, October 29, 2016

Politics in Cloth -- And A New Exhibit at The Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum

     Even though we women have been able to vote for (barely) more than a century, it's good to remember that our foremothers...
     could not.

They had opinions too, same as us. So how did they express them?

By using campaign ribbons (often in Crazies), handkerchiefs/bandannas and printed fabrics that featured their cherished beliefs -- and candidates. (Items like this were often cherished souvenirs from World's Fair and other national events, too.)

Believe in the person? Then you feature them in your quilt.

Like this wonderful mid-19th century Feathered Star quilt, pieced in indigo and white.
                                        The Man of the Hour:

    Henry Clay, a skilled Kentucky politician who served terms in the House, as well as the Senate. He also was Secretary of State under John Quincy Adams. Mr. Clay would have loved to have been President: he ran three times, in 1824, 1832 and 1844. And lost every time, though he had more than his share of admirers over his long and illustrious career.

Not for his looks, obviously.   (From Wikipedia)

     Like this quilter.

 I'm pretty sure she used a campaign bandanna for the center square.

 (There are other quilt designs named for Senator Clay, too: e.g., Clay's Choice.)

     Julie Powell, a fellow appraiser, collector and one of the country's best authorities on political quilts and textiles, donated the Henry Clay Feathered Star to the Boston MFA (Museum of Fine Arts). It's featured on the museum's pages this month.

     She's written a book (that was originally an exhibit catalog) called The Fabric of Persuasion -- extremely helpful, if you want to learn more about commemorative textiles. It's out of print now, but you can buy it used on Amazon, or print off a fresh copy on

     I love Julie's matter-of-fact approach to the subject. She's not given to burbling or hyperbole, even about our best-known politicians. Stick to the facts -- and show lots of great pictures. Nice.

Another campaign bandanna, from yours truly's collection:  Grover Cleveland, from his 1888 campaign

* * * * * * * *
The Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum will be hosting its own political themed exhibit, opening as soon as the museum's occupancy permit is approved. Yes, RMQM has moved! I served on its board twice, believe in this wonderful museum, and continue to volunteer and contribute to it. It's one of the best textile museums in the West.

Patchwork Pundits Take On Politics & The Presidential Quilt Project

Go here for more.  Opening reception is scheduled for Nov. 4, 2016.

RMQM is now all in one building -- on 200 Violet in Golden, CO, just a few miles from its former downtown Golden gallery. Now combined: staff offices, an excellent research library (including collection photos you can rent for use in articles, brochures and products, etc.)...and what most people will appreciate: a much expanded exhibit space that lets RMQM feature even more. Go to the museum website, or get directions to the new location here by clicking on the links.

'Patchwork Pundits' features some of the museum's favorite political textiles, and Sue Reich, a friend and fellow appraiser, is curating the 'Presidential Quilt Project' for RMQM. You think that our politics are complicated and today -- they've been that way for centuries!

It's easy to forget that in all the noise and racket -- but life WILL go on after the election.

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