Sometimes in life, you come across items that are just truly special. This is one of the stories. As an interior designer, I’ve always enjoyed seeing the great finds on the PBS show, Antiques Roadshow. On one of the TV shows, I remember seeing an amazing quilt called a crazy quilt. The colors and embroidery were just amazing. On a recent antiquing weekend in Phoenix, I was walking through a shop and stopped dead in my tracks. There, hanging on a wall, was a real crazy quilt. Carpe diem! It was going home with me!
Crazy quilts seem like an odd thing for a modern interior designer to be interested in at first thought, but actually not. Modern design is about creative applications with materials we are familiar with. These quilts were originally made very simply from material scraps because of necessity from around 1880 on. The crafting of these quilts as textile arts though soon gained in popularity and notoriety, as some found the work controversial. As the art progressed, the quilts became purely decorative and were made without batting or lining. I believe the beauty of these quilts lies in the richness of the materials and details as each maker crafted purely from inspiration. Here are a few close-up snapshots.
The embroidered stitches all have wonderful names like impressions, waterlillies, chevron, herringbone and cretan. I love how the maker used color variations in the threads for highlights. The fabrics used are just as amazing; silks hand-screened velvets, stripes and plaids.
It’s hard to get the scale of this piece in the pictures, but it’s around an amazing 6′ wide by 6′ high. I can only imagine the time it took to create this masterpiece. I hope you’ve enjoyed sharing this find with me as much as I have enjoyed sharing it with you. For the moment, I’ve just clipped the quilt to a stabilizing bar and hung it up. I’m really looking forward though to finding just the right home for this wonderful piece of history!