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Documenting, Preserving and Sharing the Stories of Quilts and Quiltmakers
News from The Alliance Volume 32, February 26, 2009

Dear Alliance Members & Supporters,

      When I spoke to a quilt guild in Pennsylvania last week, I was shocked to learn that a majority of the membership had never heard of the Alliance for American Quilts. One of our major missions in 2009 is to get the AAQ the attention it deserves, and we invite you to help us.
     Tell all your quilt-loving friends they'll have four centuries of quilts at their fingertips when they visit our website. Invite them to subscribe to this free e-newsletter: we'll be adding thousands of amazing quilts online this year and it's here you'll learn what to look for, and when.

Recently posted Quilters' S.O.S.- Save Our Stories interviews, including more from the Obama Quilt Project. Visit.

Still time to reserve your spot at the Appalachian Homecoming: Quilts Past and Present event in Asheville, North Carolina. Join us!


Allie Aller_CFQ contest quilt           We've already received the first quilt in our Crazy for Quilts contest (above), from Allison Aller. Allie is an accomplished and experienced crazy quilter, indeed she won our My Quilts/Our History contest last year with a quilt in this style.
     Isn't her entry in the Crazy for Quilts contest impressive?
     Lucky for everybody else who plans to enter a quilt this year, Allie isn't eligible to win any prizes though she can donate her quilt. That's because she's joining the board of the Alliance for American Quilts, which makes this a win-win.
     Don't worry: you've still got plenty of time. The deadline isn't until June 1, and the quilt only needs to be 16 inches square. We're sharing this first quilt to inspire you, but don't forget that we've asked people to interpret the crazy quilt theme as broadly as possible.
     Here's the fun part: Allie has taught us that experienced crazy quilters like to send a plastic bag full of fabric and quilt bling -- like ribbons and lace -- to inspire newbies making their first crazy quilt. This is called a squishy. Because she's so passionate about this, Allie actually spent part of the weekend making up 20 squishies (shown below in progress) for readers of
Yvonne Porcella PAR quilt this newsletter. To be eligible for one of these inspiring squishies just fill in a short 3-question survey we've created for the Crazy for Quilts contest by March 9. We're interested in seeing how you're planning to interpret the Crazy for Quilts theme. Of course you can change your mind later and none of your ideas will be shared or publicized. Click here to take the survey and register for one of these pretty packets.
     To download the rules and entry forms, visit our website.

Crazy for Quilts logo

     The Quilt Index reached a major milestone by posting a private collection for the first time, comprised of about 80 quilts made by the same gifted quiltmaker, Hungarian immigrant Mary Gasperik. These vivid quilts were created between 1933 and 1967 by an accomplished needleworker who was drawn into the world of quilts by the magnificence of the Century of Progress Exhibition in Chicago in 1933.
     The collection is exciting both because it reflects some of the quilting design trends of the time and for its uniqueness. This collection provides a rare chance to observe one quiltmaker's near-total output as she advanced from a novice quilter to a prizewinning quilt designer.
     Mary Gasperik died in 1969 and her quilts were passed down to her descendents. Thankfully, they appreciated the extraordinary quality of these quilts and the value of the story behind them.  The Gasperik collection provides a model not just for adding more private collections to the Quilt Index, but for anybody seeking to scrupulously document their family quilts.
     Susan Salser, a granddaughter of Mary Gasperik, embarked on a painstaking and years-long quest for materials, tracking down everything from quilts and distant relatives to the period patterns that inspired her grandmother. This resulted in an unusual wealth of detail about how and when the various quilts were made, and Salser contributed essays or extended research notes on 13 of the most significant quilts in the collection.
     For an example, go to Salser's essay about the quilt pictured below, Hungarian Harvest Festival, one of the family favorites and an excellent example of Gasperik's trademark appliqu� style:
     Gasperik quilt image 1 follow this link then scroll down to the bottom of this full record page to find the essay.
     In addition to the family's information, the Quilt Index provides some historical and contextural background from Merikay Waldvogel, a quilt historian who consulted on the Gasperik project. In her essay on the Gasperik quilts, Waldvogel applauds all the supplemental resource materials posted. "The final result is not only the most complete photographic record of one woman's quilts, but also an invaluable resource of period photographs, newspaper accounts, and quiltmaking ephemera," says Waldvogel.
     We couldn't have asked for a better start to this new chapter in Quilt Index history and we're extremely grateful to all those who made it possible. Support for the Mary Gasperik Quilts was provided by The Salser Family Foundation, with additional in-kind contributions from the Quilt Index partners, Alliance co-founder Shelly Zegart and the project consultant Merikay Waldvogel. The nonprofit Quilt Index is run in partnership by the Alliance, Michigan State University Museum and MATRIX - The Center for Humane Arts, Letters and Social Sciences at MSU.
     Spend some time looking at this amazing collection! Once the Index staff has had a chance to evaluate this project, they'll be looking for more private collections to add. If you're interested or know someone who might be, contact Mary Worrall ([email protected]). Application materials are online at http://www.quiltindex.org/collections.php.  
An Alliance membership is as low as $25 per year.That's less than 50 cents a week to ensure that future generations of your own family can see the work done by incredible quiltmakers of this century and many before, including you.
Click here to JOIN TODAY!

Offer Never Expires. Our commitment is to document, preserve and share in perpetuity--but we need your support!
     In these winter doldrums, you might need to take some extra visits to the Alliance website. There are new quilts and quilter interviews being added constantly, so stop by anytime.

Gratefully, Meg Cox
Vice president, The Alliance for American Quilts

[email protected]

[email protected]


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