Collecting Quilts, Past, Present, Tomorrow: History and Trends

Panel Discussion    Noon     8th Floor Dialogues

We have been fascinated by quilts for centuries now; by the fabrics that went into the making of them, the causes for which they were made, the comfort they provided; by their makers, both known and unknown; the stories they hold; the groups who made them, and more. 

This panel will explore the reasons for this fascination and the history and trends in quilt collecting, especially since the 1970s, covering topics such as: 

Presenting quilts as graphic art and the relationship between quilt making and parallel trends in 20th century painting–as they were shown in the "“Optical Quilts” exhibit at the Newark Museum. Is this still an important way to think about quilts, or have we found new ways to interpret and understand quilts over the past fifty years?   What are these ways of thinking about quilts, and how has the relatively new field of quilt scholarship influenced other fields, such as textile history, women’s studies, religious studies, etc.?  

Come listen and participate with a diverse group of individuals from the worlds of museums, academia, collecting, and making as they delve into the multiple layers of these questions and quite possibly raise a few more.

Presented by Roderick Kiracofe author of UNCONVENTIONAL & UNEXPECTED- American Quilts Below the Radar 1950-2000, Janneken Smucker, author of  Amish Quilts: Crafting and American Icon, Ulysses Dietz, Chief Curator and Curator of Decorative Arts at The Newark Museum, Amelia Peck, curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Denyse Schmidt, Quilt and fabric designer, author.

To follow at 1:30pm Booksignings by Roderick Kiracofe and Janneken Smucker in the American Folk Art Museum booth.

Roderick Kiracofe is the author of the critically acclaimed The American Quilt: A History of Cloth & Comfort 1750-1950. He cofounded The Quilt Digest and curated “Showcase” for volumes 1–5; published Homage to Amanda: 200 Years of American Quilts for the three-year traveling exhibition under the auspices of SITES (Smithsonian Traveling Exhibition Services) and wrote the introductions for A Quilter’s Wisdom and Going West! Quilts and Community. He was a regular participant on the PBS series The Great American Quilt. Kiracofe also served as a consultant to the California Heritage Quilt Project. He’s been actively involved in the creation of some of the most important private and corporate quilt collections in the country, including those belonging to Bank of America, Levi Strauss & Co., and Esprit de Corp. Kiracofe has curated exhibitions in the United States and Japan.

Janneken Smucker is Assistant Professor of History at West Chester University where she specializes in digital history, public history, and American material culture. She is the author of Amish Quilts: Crafting an American Icon (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013), and has contributed to Unconventional and Unexpected: American Quilts Below the Radar, 1950-2000 (by Roderick Kiracofe, Abrams, 2014), “Workt by Hand”: Hidden Labor and Historical Quilts (Brooklyn Museum, 2013), Amish Abstractions: Quilts from the Collection of Faith and Stephen Brown (Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, 2009) and Midwestern Amish Crib Quilts: The Sara Miller Collection (Good Books, 2003). She has held fellowship appointments at the Smithsonian Institution, Winterthur Museum, and the International Quilt Study Center & Museum at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

With Roderick Kiracofe, Janneken Smucker, Ulysses Dietz, Denyse Schmidt and Amelia Peck

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