Saturday, September 28, 2013

Quilt Documentation at Virginia Historical Society

I spent Saturday in Richmond, VA at the Virginia Historical Society to help with a quilt documentation day, co-sponsored by the Virginia Consortium of Quilters and the Virginia Quilt Museum.  We are hosting documentation days around the state to gather information about quilts and their makers in the state of Virginia, and to build a database of that information which will be housed at the museum and available for future research on textile history, genealogy and material culture.

It was a very busy day!  Documentation began at 10 AM; it was scheduled to end at 4 PM, but people were still patiently waiting with their quilts so it was 6:00 by the time we finished.  I spent the first part of the day helping with photography - that was a great job because I got to see every quilt during that part of the day.

I didn't get to take many pictures, though, because the day was so busy.  Quilts ranged from pre-Civil War to late 20th century.  Quilt owners could bring up to 3 quilts.  These pictures show the documentation teams at work and the owners patiently waiting for their turn.

I spent the afternoon learning to look carefully at a quilt to document its fabrics, patterns, methods of construction, time period, batting, backing, quilting, and anything else you might think of to identify.  It was quite an educational and fascinating process!  And many of the quilts were spectacular, despite the effects of time and wear on the fabrics.
Above is one I helped document, notable for its "cheddar" yellow fabric that is typically 1850's time period.  I took 3 family quilts along to document, but didn't get a chance to do them.  There will be more dates in October, November, January and February.  I'll share some pictures in another post.  All in all, a tiring but very worthwhile day.

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