Tuesday, October 5, 2010

More about tile quilts

Traditional tile quilts date from approximately the last third of the nineteenth century.  They typically are constructed of cotton pieces appliqued close to one another on a white background so that a narrow line of background fabric shows between appliqued pieces.  That line of white background looks like grout between the appliqued pieces, which look like tiles.  Other names for tile quilts are Stonewall and Boston Pavement, which allude to stones and mortar or the narrow spaces between stones.  

Just where tile quilts fit into the history of quilts is a matter of speculation.  One suggestion is that they are precursors of crazy quilts; another idea is that they represent an offshoot of broderie perse (cut-out chintz images appliqued onto another background).  I would guess there is some truth to both theories.  

For more information on traditional tile quilts, see the first chapter of Tile Quilt Revival: Reinventing a Forgotten Form by Bobbi Finley and me.  It is "A Brief History of Tile Quilts," which pictures and describes tile quilts from several private collections as well as the collections of the Shelburne Museum, International Quilt Study Center, The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum, and The New England Quilt Museum.

No comments:

Post a Comment