Exhibit is Diverse Portrait of Quiltmaking Roots and New Traditions Over Last 25 Years
Visitors to the National Quilt Museum this summer will have an opportunity to see a quarter century’s worth of quilting evolution all represented within a single exhibit. The museum will be hosting “Backstitch: A 25 Year Retrospective of Advances and Milestones in Quiltmaking,” an exhibit originally staged at the New England Quilt Museum to celebrate its silver anniversary. “Backstitch” officially opened on June 27 and runs through September 16. It will be running at the same time as “Master Pieces: Quilts of Inspiration.”
Co-curated by Anita Loscalzo and Laura Lane, “Backstitch” is an exploration of how quilting has rapidly evolved in the last quarter century, thanks to the introduction of new tools and techniques and innovative teachers who have tested the limits of the medium. Loscalzo is a quilt and textile historian with 20 years of experience as a quilter. She was formerly the curator at the New England Quilt Museum.
“Anita and I worked for two years planning the exhibit,” explained Lane. “We wanted to highlight the advances, milestones and trends of the past quarter century. Some of those included were embellishments, fabric dyeing, fusing, machine quilting, machine applique, paper piecing, photo transfer, rotary cutting, raw-edge applique and thread painting. We also included commemorative quilts, represented by a 9/11 quilt, quilts for a cause represented by an Alzheimer’s quilt and historical reproduction quilts representing the increase in study and knowledge of quilt history, thanks in part to the AQSG and the wide availability of historically accurate reproduction fabric thanks to designers led by Barbara Brackman. We started with the list of what we wanted to feature, then looked for quilts and/or artists that would best represent that trend or technique.”
Lane identified rotary cutting as the most important lo-tech advance of the last 25 years; the technique enables faster and more precise quiltmaking with less waste.
“The New England Quilt Museum is a leader in facilitating the study and promotion of quilt and fiber art,” remarked Frank Bennett, CEO of the National Quilt Museum. “The ‘Backstitch’ exhibit functions as a retrospective of not only the New England Quilt Museum’s first 25 years, but also the changes taking place in the quilting world as a whole. Visitors can see fine art pieces that expand the idea of what a quilt can be as well as traditional quilts constructed using techniques going back centuries.”
Housed in an original 19th century building in Lowell, Massachusetts, the New England Quilt Museum was founded in 1987 by an enthusiastic group of area quilters. A destination for quiltmakers and collectors throughout the region, the museum hosts special exhibits, workshops for all skill levels, lectures on numerous quilting topics and a variety of community outreach programs. The museum officially celebrated its silver anniversary in 2012.
About the National Quilt Museum
The Museum is the world’s largest museum devoted to quilts and fiber art. A destination for art enthusiasts worldwide, annually the Museum welcomes visitors from all 50 U.S. states and over 40 foreign countries from all corners of the globe. The Museum’s onsite and traveling exhibits are viewed by over 120,000 people per year. In addition, over 6,000 youth and adults participate in the Museum’s educational opportunities on an annual basis.
The Museum is located in a 27,000-square-foot facility in historic downtown Paducah, Kentucky. The Museum’s mission is to, “Advance the art of today’s quilters and fiber artists by making it accessible to new and expanding audiences worldwide.” As their CEO Frank Bennett often states, “These are some of the most talented artists in the world and I want everyone to experience their work first-hand.” The National Quilt Museum is a two-time TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence winner. It is located in Historic Downtown Paducah Kentucky, which was recently recognized as a UNESCO Creative City.