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  • Lowell, MA: New England Quilt Museum : September 24, 2009
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Topic: Lowell, MA: Haberdashery Textiles in Antique Quilts  (Read 1308 times)
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« on: July 14, 2009 10:37:00 AM »

Lowell, MA—The New England Quilt Museum is pleased to announce their first exhibition of their Fall season, Master Pieces: Haberdashery Textiles in Antique Quilts. Featuring quilts made from recycled men’s fashions, this remarkable exhibition brings together over 40 stunningly graphic works made from simple utilitarian fabrics.
The antique quilts on exhibit are made of menswear fabrics recycled from suits and shirts, neckties, pajamas and woolen underwear, military uniforms, work clothes—even argyle socks. Some are also artful salvaging of menswear swatch sample books and fabric mill remnants. Made in the 19th and early 20th centuries, these quilts are often unique and whimsical. Simple squares arranged in an argyle pattern prove, on close inspection, to be made from scraps of argyle socks. A delicate, shimmering kaleidoscope of reds and yellows is pieced from sturdy flannel shirts. Bright, dimensional flowers are crafted on a base of old wool suits.
In addition to the quilts themselves, the exhibit will feature historic advertisements, swatch books, and catalogs from menswear companies, dating from the 1900’s through the 1920’s, including several items from the vaults of Brooks Brothers, the chief sponsor of the exhibition.
The tradition of making unique, often very personal quilts from repurposed menswear gained popularity around 1850, and lasted until the 1950’s. Today, we are seeing the tradition revive with memory quilts made from old T-shirts, designed as birthday and graduation gifts, and stitched from shirts that have personal memories associated with them. Repurposing old clothing is also seeing a longstanding revival as environmental awareness leads consumers to re-use clothes by re-making them into new items.
Visually stunning and strikingly modern, these antique textiles make distinct graphical statements out of the most everyday materials.
The guest curator for the exhibit is noted antiques authority and TV personality Laura Fisher, of Fisher Heritage, who will be lecturing at the opening reception on September 26. In addition, historic textile expert Pam Weeks will deliver a lecture on October 17.
Support for this exhibition is provided in part by Brooks Brothers and by P&B Textiles. The opening reception is sponsored by School House Quilters.
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