Tag: quilts

BOOK RELEASE: The Zadock Pratt Museum Coloring Book

The Zadock Pratt Museum has just released a coloring book for adults, essentially a collection of historical quilts accompanied by text and drawings that provide a unique perspective of the region’s settlement history. Inspired by the 2018 exhibition titled “Undercover Stories,” the book was funded by The A. Lindsay and Olive B. O’Connor Foundation and The Nicholas J. Juried Family Foundation. The exhibition, the brainchild of Carolyn Bennett, the Museum’s Executive Director, included thirteen quilts, all of which are also included in the book along with an additional thirteen from the Museum’s historical textile collection. All text and drawings are by Suzanne M. Walsh, who curated the 2018 exhibition. The Iroquois Indian Museum in Howes Cave assisted with fact checking. The book is endorsed by Dr. Michelle Delaney, Assistant Director for History and Culture at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, among other notable endorsements. 

After the 2018 exhibition closed, there was a spontaneous desire to keep the quilt stories alive, which is how the coloring book idea came about in 2020. The preservation work to keep the quilts intact is a tedious process that requires re-folding in acid free paper every three to six months. Volunteers at the Museum help keep the tradition alive. There is a vibrant community of quilters in the area that met regularly before the pandemic. They often helped at the Museum with the preservation efforts.  

Quilting has been described by scholars as “the art of necessity.” When textiles were scarce, women patched old blankets, coverlets, and table runners with cloth they had available and ready to use. European settlers brought this practice to the New World, and it flourished here and took on a new life. A utilitarian activity at first, quilting did eventually become an American folk art. American Folk Art Museum in New York City has an impressive textile collection, and has begun the New York Quilt Project to locate, document, preserve, and create an archive for New York State quilts. Dr. Jacqueline M. Atkins, a curator who worked at the Folk Art Museum, wrote the introduction for the The Zadock Pratt Museum Coloring Book, and shared “the thrill of the hunt, as one is never sure just what new and exciting quilts, patterns, and designs will turn up in addition to renewing acquaintances with many old favorites.”     

As part of her research, Walsh was able to date the quilts and also found fascinating details about their making. During the Civil War, the region stopped using cotton from the South and that is when imported cotton was largely introduced to the Catskill Mountains. After studying the quilts, Walsh felt inspired to draw them in a way that best reflects their personality. “The art dictated itself,” she explains. She followed the thread and each quilt led to a different approach and style whether whimsical, serious, or as a cartoon. For each quilt Walsh had to make the decision whether to use pen or ink, or what other approach the style might have required. They are all different and carry fascinating stories.


© Zadock Pratt Museum

For instance, the Lost Ships quilt cover was made in 1893 by Frankie Drum, a thirteen-year-old girl who learned the art of quilting from her grandmother. Quilting was a required skill for girls in the Catskills around that time. The project took two years to complete and includes 8,460 individual little pieces of fabric. If you look closely, you will see a horseman depicted in one of the patterns, suggesting Frankie’s love for horses.

© Zadock Pratt Museum

The Crazy Quilt bedcover resembles a Surrealist painting by Marc Chagall, who incidentally had a studio in the Catskills in the 1940s. The “crazy quilt” pattern reached the height of its popularity in the 1890s, the Gilded Age in America, when the industry provided an immense variety of fabric choices in color, prints, and textures. Dr. Atkins, a quilt expert, explains that American women’s fascination with the crazy quilt was inspired by the Japanese kimono which was introduced to the American public at the Centennial International Exhibition of 1876 in Philadelphia. 

© Zadock Pratt Museum

Another popular pattern throughout the 1800s was the octagon. The Octagon quilt included in the book is made of 352 individual octagonal pieces in different colors and patterns. As Walsh explains, the octagon has held a spiritual significance for centuries signifying “the infinity of eternal rebirth.” The octagonal shaped houses also gained in popularity around the same time, and there is still one in existence not too far from the Pratt Museum.

From 2013 until 2020 Walsh had been tour guide, exhibition designer, curator, and archivist at the Zadock Pratt Museum. Undergraduate work in the arts and post-graduate work in early childhood education, including American Montessori certification, became her background credits for the many years in the professional theatre world that followed, working both on stage and behind the scenes in costuming, scene building, playwriting and children’s puppet theatre production. Walsh’s life-long love for fabrics, their history and women’s fashion has coalesced in her serendipitous collaboration with all the people who had an impact on the Pratt Museum’s Historical Quilting Designs Coloring Book. She sums up her experience in one attitude-altering sentence: “Every single one of these wonderful quilts really deserves a history book unto itself.” Walsh is currently working as an independent artist, author and art history consultant.

The book is available at the following retailers: Blooms & Fabrics in Margaretville; Roxbury General in Roxbury; Carrot Barn–Schoharie Valley Farms in Schoharie; The Conglomerate in Middleburgh; Catskill Mountain Country Store in Windham; Windham Pharmacy in Windham; Taconic Orchards in Hudson; Mahalo Gift Shop in Catskill; Plaid Palette in Cherry Valley; The Iroquois Indian Museum in Howes Cave; The Jefferson Historical Society in Jefferson; The Gilboa Museum and Nicholas J. Juried History Center in Gilboa; What The Soap & Company in Prattsville; Young’s Ace Hardware in Prattsville; Prattsville Diner, and the Zadock Pratt Museum.

The book can be ordered by phone at (518) 299-3395, email at prattmuseum@hotmail.com, or mail at Pratt Museum, PO Box 333, Prattsville, NY 12468. To learn more, visit zadockprattmuseum.org.

Weekend in the Catskills – 2/19/2016

This weekend:

  • Richard Edelman’s Stolen Portraits at the Center for Photography at Woodstock;
  • Stitch and Sip: Samplers 1.0 Quilting Workshop at Olana;
  • And, New York in Bloom at the New York State Museum in Albany.

Read more at Upstater.com.

Weekend in the Catskills – 7/10/2015

This weekend in the Catskills:

  • The Magic Flute at Glimmerglass Opera Festival;
  • A quilt show at the Erpf Center;
  • Experimental dance at Mount Tremper Arts;
  • And a Plein Air Painting Festival at Olana.

Read more at Upstater.com.

Quilt Show at Erpf Center. © artinthecatskills.com

Weekend in the Catskills – 2/6/15

This weekend in the Catskills: several opening receptions, an Ice Harvest Festival, poetry, and more.

Hanford Mills Museum

Contributed photo.
Contributed photo.

Hanford Mills Museum is hosting its traditional Ice Harvest Festival this Saturday, February 7 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visitors ride in horse-drawn sleighs and help with the removal of big blocks of ice from a frozen mill pond. Ice cleats are being lent to those willing to walk on the frozen pond. Skilled ice carvers using antique tools remove the ice that is then being kept in an ice house similar to those used before refrigeration. The ice is used to make ice cream on the Independence Day in July.

Hanford Mills Museum is located in East Meredith, Delaware County, between Oneonta and Stamford along County Route 10. East Meredith grew as a rural, agricultural community, in and around the mill. Hanford Mills operated as a business from the 1840s to the 1960s. It became a museum in 1973 chartered by the New York State. There are sixteen buildings on the site, and around 50,000 objects and exhibits hosted in twelve buildings. In addition to themed workshops and lectures, the museum hosts several festivals a year, including the Ice Harvest Festival, which traditionally takes place the first Saturday in February. For more information, visit https://artinthecatskills.com/2015/02/03/featured-destination-hanford-mills-museum/.

Delaware County Historical Association

Delaware County Historical Association, located at Frisbee House in Delhi, is hosting a Quilting Workshop this Saturday, February 7 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Adults and children are welcome. Various machine and hand piecing techniques will be taught. Leslie Gray, the workshop leader, an experienced quilter and teacher, was inducted in the Catskill Mountain Quilters Hall of Fame in 2007.

Delaware County Historical Association (DCHA) was founded in 1945. It purchased the Frisbee House in the 1960s. DCHA runs two exhibit galleries, the archives, the research library, as well as a bookstore and a gift shop. The galleries, the bookstore and the gift shop are open year round. Other historic buildings in the Frisbee complex, such as an old schoolhouse and an old blacksmith shop, are open from Memorial Day to mid-October. For more information, visit http://www.watershedpost.com/sponsored/2015/delaware-county-historical-association-offer-quilting-worksh.

Woodstock Artists Association and Museum

Woodstock Artists Association and Museum (WAAM) is hosting an opening reception this Saturday, February 7 from 4 to 6 p.m. showing new works completed by members over the past six months. The show is curated by Nancy Donskoj, owner of the Store Front Gallery in Kingston. Close to fifty artists are featured in this show, including Joan Barker, Nancy Campbell, Mary Katz, Anthony Margiotta, Wilma Miller, and many others.

Founded in 1919, Woodstock Artists Association and Museum (WAAM) supports and showcases the works of local artists. Since 1973 the museum has maintained a permanent collection of the most important paintings, sculptures, prints, photographs, and other decorative objects that were created in the area. Highlights from this collection can be seen online at the Hudson River Valley Heritage’s website http://www.hrvh.org/cdm/landingpage/collection/hvvacc.  Selected works are shown to the public through periodic exhibitions. A catalogue of over five hundred pieces called Woodstock’s Art Heritage: The Permanent Collection of the Woodstock Artists Association was published in 1987.

The museum is open year round. In addition to its main gallery, which hosts group exhibitions, and the middle gallery, for solo artists, the museum has space devoted to children and student artists. For more information visit http://myemail.constantcontact.com/New-Shows-Opening-this-Saturday–February-7.html?soid=1101793785598&aid=4zxUUePE8tg.

blue and red rhapsody

The Center for Photography at Woodstock

The Center for Photography at Woodstock is also hosting an opening reception this Saturday, February 7 from 5 to 7 p.m. Birds of a Feather exhibit features works by artist Claire Rosen portraying exotic birds captured outside their natural habitat. Various bird poses are used to mimic human gestures in an anthropomorphic attempt.

The Center for Photography at Woodstock (CPW) was founded in 1977 to exhibit and support photographic art. CPW hosts exhibitions, and offers workshops and residencies to artists interested in photography. The center also publishes its own quarterly journal called Photography Quarterly (PQ), launched in 1979, and organizes a monthly salon for photographers. The salon is held on the second Tuesday of the month. Since 1980 CPW has maintained an extensive print collection, currently on loan to the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art at SUNY New Paltz.

For more information, visit http://www.cpw.org/upcoming/pr-claire-rosen/.

Glaring Omissions Writers’ Group

Glaring Omissions Writers’ Group in Woodstock is hosting an Evening of Art and Poetry this Sunday, February 8 at 4 p.m. at the Golden Notebook Bookstore on Tinker Street. Poet Nicole Cooley will read from her works, and from a book by Salem Lessons illustrated by artist Maureen Cummins.

The Glaring Omissions Writers’ Group was founded in 1990 by professional writers living in the Hudson Valley area. The group meets regularly, and provides critique and support for its members. Once a month it organizes public readings and other events.

For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/events/589113721232058/?ref=3&ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular.

Enjoy a fabulous weekend in the Catskills!

© 2015 Simona David

Weekend in the Catskills – 9/26/14

Ellen Wong
Artist Ellen Wong

With temperatures in the high 70s, low 80s, this weekend seems like a dream: fall colors and sunshine, music, art and community – the Catskills has it all.

Saturday, September 27 from 3 to 6 pm Longyear Gallery in Margaretville is hosting an opening reception for artist Ellen Wong: “The Road Show” – an exhibit of twenty-five paintings and drawings depicting splendid Catskill Mountains scenery. Ellen Wong is an accomplished landscape painter originally from Brooklyn. She studied Art at Brooklyn College, and has been the recipient of many grants and fellowships, including the New York State Council on the Arts Decentralization Grant Program, administered in Delaware County by Roxbury Arts Group, as well as a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship; in addition, she was a teacher / artist at Skidmore College. Ellen is a founding member of Longyear Gallery in Margaretville. She has had many exhibitions both in New York City and the Catskills. You can find more about Longyear Gallery at longyeargallery.org.

Roxbury Arts Group (RAG), a premier arts organization in the Catskill Mountains, is hosting this weekend the 17th Catskill Mountain Quilters Hall of Fame Quilt Show featuring quilters from five counties: Delaware, Schoharie, Greene, Sullivan and Ulster. This year’s theme is “Let’s Celebrate Quilting”; quilting has had long tradition in America, dating back to the pre-colonial period, and then being expanded by the settlers. Initially designed as utilitarian products, in time quilts became valued for their artistic appeal as well. The Quilters Show at RAG will take place Saturday, September 27 and Sunday, September 28 from 10 am to 4 pm. For more information, visit roxburyartsgroup.org.

Greater Roxbury Learning Initiative (GRLIC) is presenting RoxFest, its second annual rock concert this Saturday, September 27 at 12 noon. The event will take place at Plattekill Mountain on Plattekill Mountain Road in Roxbury. The proceeds will benefit GRLIC’s educational programs. For more information, go to roxfestny.com.

Thomas Cole National Historic Site is having a Community Day event this Sunday, September 28, from 1 to 4 pm. Thomas Cole’s home at Cedar Grove as well as its galleries will be open to the public free of charge. Cole, the founder of the Hudson River School of Painting, lived and worked at Cedar Grove from 1833 to 1848. Born in England in 1801, Cole immigrated to the United States with his family in 1818. He took his first trip to the Catskills in 1825, and in 1832, seven years later, he opened his studio in Catskill, Greene County. Initially trained as a portrait painter, Cole switched to landscape shortly after. His most famous paintings include The Titan’s Goblet (1833), The Course of Empire series (1834 – 1836), and The Oxbow (1836). The Cedar Grove Main House (built in 1815 in the Federal style), as well as The Old Studio, and The Special Exhibition Gallery are open by guided tour, Wednesday through Sunday, May through October. For more information, visit thomascole.org.

The Rhinebeck Arts Festival is taking place this weekend at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds in Rhinebeck. The festival celebrates all crafts and artistic disciplines: ceramics, glass, fiber, mixed media, photography, jewelry and more. Over two hundred artists and crafters from all over the country will participate in the event; Hudson Valley furniture makers will also be showcased. There will be music, dance, gourmet food and drinks. For more information, go to http://artrider.com/RHI14.html.