While in Boston prior to the 2014 Marathon, we saw city buses sporting a colorful double wedding ring quilt. We couldn’t help but notice. The vibrant, pop-art quilt with its striking purple background and spinning wheels of color filled the side of the bus from top to bottom, luring us to the Pilgrim/Roy Collection of eye-popping quilts on exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts. I couldn’t wait to see it. Not only has my mom cut, pieced, and stitched quilts for just about everyone in the family, she has introduced us all to the fine art of combining colors and geometric shapes to produce art worthy of display in any museum.
To say the least, the exhibit dazzles the eye and stirs the soul. You could be attracted to any of the sixty graphically bold American quilts just for the patterns . . . or the colors . . . or the workmanship. But taken as a whole, this body of work takes your breath away. Displayed in dark rooms, the spotlighted quilts move those who stand silently or speak in hushed voices as they contemplate fabric choices, patterns, and hand-stitching. The curated collection includes well-documented acquisition details and the names of makers, if known. We think you, too, will enjoy seeing these special American artifacts that are artistic in every sense of the word.
Many quilts in the Pilgrim/Roy Collection — almost all, in fact — are notable for rich, vibrant colors that have stood the test of time.
If you move one way and then another, you’ll note something different about the quilts that “fool the eye.” Whether it’s the pattern or the combination of fabrics or even how light comes into play, it’s fun to look more than once at the optical illusion quilts.
Although many quilt patterns are quite traditional, the choice of colors can add a modern-day geometric quality or a bold statement as lights and darks contrast.
Log Cabin Variations
At least one long wall and then some was dedicated to quilts using the Log Cabin pattern — squares made up of tiny strips of fabric, half of them light and half dark. But it’s placement of the squares that determines the overall pattern.
Even the traditional patterns became extraordinary with the bursts of color and attention to detail.
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Avenue of the Arts
465 Huntington Avenue
Boston, Massachusetts 02115
General Information: 617-267-9300
To purchase Quilts and Color: http://www.mfa.org/collections/publications/quilts-and-color
My Pinterest board on Quilts: http://www.pinterest.com/rushasams/quilts/