IOWA QUILTS ON QUILT INDEX
DES MOINES, IOWA, ASHEVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA and EAST LANSING,
MICHIGAN -May 8, 2009 - The Quilt Index (www.quiltindex.org), a partner project of the Alliance for
American Quilts and Michigan State University, announces the public launch of an
online resource cataloging nearly 2,300 quilts by 2,100 quiltmakers from Iowa,
including quilts and other textiles collected by one of the leaders in quilt
This is the
eighth state or regional documentation project to be added to the Quilt
Index, and one of the largest. The Iowa quilts bring the total number of quilt records
available at the online archive to more than 21,000, including quilts
from museum and private collections. The Iowa quilts are a treasure to everyone
from scholars to quiltmakers, covering many familiar patterns like Drunkard's
Path, Log Cabin and Irish Chain, as well as some unusual variations and original
The Iowa Quilt Research Project was
established in September 1987 to seek out and register Iowa quilts made prior to
1925 and record their history and makers. More than 500 volunteers staffed Quilt Discovery Days in
13 regions around the state.
While recording information about cultural, historical
and ethnic influences on quiltmaking in Iowa, the Iowa Quilt Research Project
increased awareness of the value of quilts and encouraged quilt preservation.
The resulting body of information was presented to the State Historical Society
of Iowa in 1990 for preservation and to make it accessible to a wider audience.
An inductee into The Quilters Hall of Fame, Mary Barton
of Ames, Iowa, is recognized as one of the first to
document not only finished quilts, but also the methods, manners and social
mores of mid-19th century quiltmakers.
Her desire to collect, understand and share has resulted
in one of the most comprehensive collections of quilts, quilt blocks, fabric
swatches, magazines, fashion plates and costumes ever assembled and donated to
Nearly 200 textiles from her collection are recorded in
the Quilt Index, including her own Heritage Quilt (pictured below), which was exhibited at the 1999 International Quilt Festival in the
"Quilt Show of the Century".
Index archives, Mary Barton's collection is filed first and it's worth browsing
through to see what a keen eye she had for quilts. The three quilts shown here
are all part of her marvelous collection. Both "Crossed Canoes," the blue and
white quilt (pictured above), and "Spider Web" (pictured below), were produced by unknown quiltmakers, and their
beauty reinforces the sadness of lost history. The impressive appliqued Heritage
Quilt was both designed and sewn by Mary Barton, completed in 1976. The full
documentation for this quilt includes this information about the quiltmaker:
"Mary Barton did not actually enjoy quilting - her interest was in the history
of creating quilts."
The State Historical Society of Iowa is pleased to
partner with Michigan State University, the Alliance for American Quilts and the Institute of Museum and Library Services on the Quilt
"The Quilt Index brings Iowa's quilting heritage to a national level, as well as
allows us to share the wealth of the Mary Barton Collection with the greater
quilting community," said Jodi Evans, project manager and registar for the
State Historical Museum in Iowa.
participation in the Quilt Index will be supplemented with the addition of
information and images of quilts held in the collection of the State Historical
Society of Iowa.
The Quilt Index is run in partnership by the Alliance for
American Quilts, Michigan State University Museum, and MATRIX - The Center for
Humane Arts, Letters and Social Sciences at Michigan State University. The Quilt
Index merges tradition with technology and springs from the work of a unique
team of researchers and experts committed to making significant, quilt-related
data widely accessible to both scholars and the general public.
Applications are now being accepted from institutions or quilt documentation projects to become Quilt Index contributors, with a deadline of May 31, 2009. Information and application materials can be found at: http://www.quiltindex.org/collections.php.
questions, or to obtain other quilt images to use in your coverage, please
contact Amy Milne, Executive Director of the Alliance, at the number above.
Alliance for American Quilts is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. If you no longer wish to receive e-mail from the Alliance,
please follow the SafeUnsubscribe link below. Visit our Constant Contact signup page if you would also like to receive the AAQ eNewsletter, or if you have been forwarded this email from a friend and would like to begin receiving AAQ press releases.