Two-color quilts from the Winedale Quilt Collection
On Exhibit: Meadows-Terry Education Center building
February 22-25, 2018, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.; Sunday, noon-4 p.m.
Briscoe Center’s Winedale Quilt Collection contains a variety of two-color quilts, both pieced and appliquéd. Some date from as early as circa 1845. Examples include several traditional Hawaiian quilts, which feature abstract appliquéd patterns meant to represent native plant forms. This exhibit brings these quilts together for the first time.
American quilt makers have been drawn to two-color quilts for nearly two centuries. Made using pieces of a single solid-color fabric (or one featuring a tiny design) sewn onto a white background, such quilts are highly graphic, emphasizing pattern.
The highly graphic two-color quilt style began in the 1840s once a huge variety of commercially produced cotton fabrics were available and affordable to many households. Quilts historians today recognize that the two most popular color combinations were blue and white and red and white. Blue-and-white quilts flourished in the second half of the nineteenth century. Quilt historian Roderick Kiracofe has noted that “practically every pieced design created has been worked in the indigo-blue scheme.” Red-and-white quilts, especially popular between the 1880s and the 1920s, claim a close second in popularity. The huge response to the American Folk Art Museum’s 2011 blockbuster exhibition of red-and-white quilts (30,000-plus viewers in six days) testifies to the on-going appeal of this much-loved color combination.
The Winedale Quilt Collection is a premier scholarly resource that supports the study of quilts and their history in the United States. The collection covers a broad range of American quilts and gives special emphasis to Texas quilts, including quilts made in Texas and quilts brought to Texas in the nineteenth century. The Winedale Collection contains more than 500 quilts and spans 200 years of quilt making. It also features documentary resources that support research into the role of quilts in American culture, especially during the twentieth century. In 2016, the University of Texas Press published a major work about this collection, Comfort and Glory, Two Centuries of American Quilts from the Briscoe Center for American History, by Katherine Adams, the collection’s former curator.