Friday, August 4, 2017

New England Quilt Museum

On Thursday we took a day trip to Lowell, Mass., to the New England Quilt Museum.  We started off the day with breakfast at Cup & Crumb, just a few miles down the road on the way to the interstate.  We got there just in time; when we left, the line was out the door!
Since Elizabeth's sister Becky was not with us in Maine when we shopped at the LLBean store, we made a stop in Concord at the outlet.
The quilt museum is located in a complex of buildings that were former cotton mills at the height of the industrial revolution, and is now a National Historic Park.  These mill stone planters graced the entrance from the parking lot.
We always like to stop in at the visitor center.  They have informative displays and a film about the textile mills, as well as a gift shop. 
Then it was on to the museum to see the Threads of Resistance quilt exhibit. They also are featuring a Summer Celebration of New England Quilts made by members of the region's quilt guilds, and admission is free for the month of August.  There are a few smaller shows around town as well.
Elizabeth had been to the opening reception for TOR with some of the artists but was happy to make a return visit so that Sue and Becky could see the exhibit.  The museum does allow photos, but does not allow them to be shared on social media.  Below is a photo of the cover of the exhibit catalog, to give you a taste of some of the quilts.  You can see all in the traveling exhibit, as well as all 500+ entries on the TOR website, but nothing compares to seeing them in person.  Apart from the subject matter, there is such variety of technique in these quilts.  In fact, not all entries are by quilters.  Some are collage or digital artists, one is completely felted, one is done with rug hooking; they are all amazing.  We strongly recommend seeing this exhibit if it travels anywhere near you.
A bonus on this trip to the museum was finding out about 2 other small exhibits in the National Park complex.  One was an exhibit of Japanese influenced quilts by Allison Wilbur, a Rhode Island quilter who incorporates Japanese textile traditions in her work.
The other show at The Brush Art Gallery & Studios in the park complex was called "Little Black Dress".  "Quilts reflect where artists wore their little black dress, where they would like to wear their little black dress, what adventures await wearing their little black dress, or what fabrics their favorite little black dress was made of."
Though not scheduled to open till August 5, the quilts were hung and we were able to see them all.  This mosaic was one of Sue's favorites, though it was hard to choose just one picture to post.
We had lunch outdoors at a wonderful restaurant that was across the street from an old fire station built in 1889, though it is no longer used as such, there is now a restaurant on the ground floor.
And since we spent a few hours in the car, Sue and Elizabeth both took advantage of the time to do some shibori stitching for indigo dyeing.  That is on the agenda for today, so look for results in subsequent posts. 
It was a very full day, and of course included a stop for ice cream on the way home!

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