Florida Documentation Project Quilts Added to Quilt Index

February 9, 2013

News from the Quilt Index:


The Quilt Index  announced the addition of 726 quilts recently documented in Florida to its exemplary online resource. The quilts, made between 1850 and the last decade, were studied and photographed by the Sunshine State Quilters Association.

Counting the Florida project, there are now 21 documentation projects covering specific states, from Hawaii to North Carolina, collected in the Index. Together they provide a detailed and fascinating glimpse into the styles of quilts popular in different times and regions of the country. With every new collection, the Index becomes more inspiring to today’s quilters and a more useful tool for curators and scholars.

Artha Callinan, president of the Sunshine State Quilters Association, said the archival work was completed between 2009 and 2012. There were Quilt Discovery Days organized by guilds, historical societies and museums throughout the state.

The project required that in order to have a quilt included, the person who brought it to be documented had to live in Florida. Not surprisingly, many of the quilts were made or bought elsewhere, especially the older quilts. Part of what makes this project an interesting one to browse is the strong representation of popular patterns from the 1930s and 1940s, plus a good number of quilts made in the past 20 years.

Quilt Index_Lemoyne Star from Florida
Lemoyne Star, circa 1850-75

As is always the case, reading the individual records provides a glimpse into the lives of everyday Americans and a sense of how and why quilts were made. One lemoyne star (pictured above)  was made around 1850: the people who brought it to be documented said that it was made by “a disabled man in the family.” The record also notes that this family immigrated to Iowa from Norway around 1850, so the quilt was later brought to Florida by a descendent of the maker. It is an interesting note that sometimes Anonymous is a man.

Two other quilts, whose photographs are included below, demonstrate the range of the Florida project in both styles and historic periods. The star quilt called “Ice Crystals” was made in 2009 by Manon Emmy Reen. A quilt from the 1940’s made in the grandmother’s fan pattern is also a vivid example of a popular period pattern. It was hand quilted by Bertha Elizabeth Wilson, who made it for her granddaughter.

“Ice Crystals” by Manon Emmy Reen, 2009.
Florida_Grandmother's Fan
Grandmother’s Fan, Bertha Elizabeth Wilson, 1940-50

The Quilt Index website http://www.quiltindex.org/ provides centralized access to more than 54,000 records, including quilts from state or regional documentation projects, museum and private collections. Launched in 2003, the Quilt Index is a joint project of Michigan State University Museum; MATRIX: Center for Humane Arts, Letters and Social Sciences Online at Michigan State University; and the Quilt Alliance.

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