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A Story about Quilting | Women’s History Month
International Women’s Month is celebrated globally throughout March. 

In 1978, 8th March was declared “Women’s History Day” by Gerda Lerner, an American Historian. Spreading from California, across the United States of America and then internationally by 1987, the celebration extended to the whole month of March. 


Women have been ever present in the world of art, craft, and design for centuries. Ladies of all ages have been the subject of paintings for centuries, from the walls of the Great Pyramids of Egypt, to photographs of society today. They have honed their crafts, making togas in ancient times, to seeing their designs on fashionable runways today. Each generation has developed skills, bought new techniques and technologies in their artworks. 


Many of our female ancestors would have sewed and embroidered home furnishings and clothes for their families to admire, enjoy, wear and sell locally in trade. Many will have painted the home and views around them, particularly domestic scenes, and landscapes they had access too, yet these have often been lost, housed in attics throughout the world, or hung on walls without a name or provenance. There are millions of women whose name, life and personalities have been lost to history. 


When a work of art or craft has no name, no provenance and little information about it, in the museum and heritage world, research and a new light is being shed onto these pieces. It is believed that without a name, this could well have been created by a woman! We hope to share and celebrate these crafts in our coming collections. 


We know many of the quilts, knitting works and embroideries were created by girls and women, particularly of a higher class in the 15th-19th centuries, due to the increased personal time they had. This was considered ‘women’s work’ rather than appreciated in the world of art history. We would like to celebrate these works today, through the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, collection.

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Quilt

Elizabeth Connelly Middleton about 1850

MFA, Boston

1985.389

Elizabeth Connelly Middleton is thought to be the embroiderer of this quilt, made around 1850. This is a silk and appliqué design, created in Virginia to Washington D.C. area. There are flower motifs in pots and wreaths and the artist used a variety of fabrics  for the designs, then a white silk background and a striped, zig-zag boarder. 

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Sunshine and Shadow Quilt

American, Pennsylvania, Mennonite 1880s

MFA, Boston

2017.4147

The ‘Sunshine and Shadow Quilt’ has a multitude of names including ‘Grandma’s Dream Quilt’ and ‘Trip around the world quilt’. It was created in Pennsylvania in the 1880’s.

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Log Cabin Straight Furrow Quilt

American, Pennsylvania 1870-1880

MFA, Boston

2014.1947

Log Cabin Straight Furrow Quilt was also created in Pennsylvania, from 1870-1880. This is a pieced printed cotton plain weave top with a plain weave back, quilted together. 

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Double Wedding Ring Quilt

American, Missouri about 1940

MFA, Boston

2014.1945

Created in the 1940’s, this Double Wedding Ring Quilt shares iconic designs of African-American heritage, with the bonding of two families. This design has lasted generations, since the early 1930s and this was an early quilt cut design sent through the mail, starting a uniformity for many quilts across America from this period onwards. Artistic details and personality become ever-more lost, and the female creator’s identity fades behind the modern, manufactured fabric colours. 

https://www.artistorybrands.net/culture/Artefact-Stories/65.html
Keywords
quilt, Women’s History Month, Women’s History Day, art, craft
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