Gull Life

Nabb center houses Eastern Shore quilt exhibit

Gull Life


Staff Writer

quilt exhibit. melissa reese
Photo featuring the Triple Irish Chain quilt. Taken by Melissa Reese.

Salisbury University’s Edward H. Nabb Research Center is hosting an exhibit called “Piecing It All Together: Quilts of the Eastern Shore.” Guest lecturer Jenny Garwood spoke about the collection and her work as a historian for the Museum of Early Decorative Arts (MESDA) Nov. 4.

This exhibit delves into the rich history of quilt-making on the Eastern shore. Each quilt comes with the history of its maker.

The MESDA collection comes from seven states: Maryland, Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Georgia.

Garwood has been studying the history of quilt-making as a historian for the MESDA Quilt Collection for several years.

She said that the quilts made by her grandmother are her family’s most prized possessions. She believes that these quilts ultimately brought women together.

“It’s these precious objects that speak of home and family,” Garwood said. “These works of art are all about family.”

Garwood is fascinated by the rich history of quilts. She said that she greatly enjoys the research aspect of her job.

“My love of textiles kind of married my love of research,” Garwood said. “Next to needlework, one of my passions is research.”

Garwood is especially interested in the needlework of Maryland samplers in the Chesapeake tradition. She has found rare Maryland map samplers to add to the MESDA collection.

Garwood’s mother, Katherine Garwood, also attended the event. She said her daughter is working on finishing her grandmother’s quilt.

Katherine Garwood said that she does not share her daughter’s creative ability, but she greatly admires that quality in her daughter.

“She loves the needlework…the hours that go into this,” Garwood said. “It’s an area of interest for her.”

Diane Hafkell, who attended the event, said she makes patchwork quilts. She makes them for her grandchildren.

She said Garwood’s lecture was “absolutely wonderful” and “worth coming.”

“I’ve always sewn and did different crafts,” Hafkell said. “They’re just beautiful…I always thought of quilts as old things with calicos, and things like that.”

The English Paper Piercing Quilt Top was made by the Hargis family from Somerset County in 1900. It is made of a variety of fabrics, including silk and cotton.

The English Paper Piercing Quilt contains paper hexagon patterns cut from ledgers, letters, envelopes and a child’s copy book. It was donated by William Katie Matthews and remains unfinished.

The Crazy Quilt was made by Mary Emma Adkins in Wicomico County in 1927. It contains a variety of embroidery details, including a windmill, a barn, a naval anchor, an owl, wheat, birds and flowers.

The Star of Bethlehem Quilt was made by Ellen E. Lankford McAllister in Dorchester County in 1860-1880. It has the Star of Bethlehem in green thread contrasted by the red thread of the background.

Lankford also made the Triple Irish Chain Quilt, which has a red and green checkboard pattern and flowers. It was made in 1880-1910.

The appliqued flowers on the border were made with a slightly lighter red than the checkerboard in the middle.

The Bates family made the Snowflake Quilt. The brown/paisley fabric is typical of the Civil War era.

The exhibit is located in the G. Ray Thompson Gallery of the Patricia R. Guerreri Academic Commons. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The exhibit runs until Dec. 22.

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