Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Shelburne Museum

The Shelburne Museum in Shelburne, Vt., has a fantastic quilt collection. The exhibits change throughout the year, so chances are, even if you have been there before, you won't see the same quilts again. From May 17 to Oct. 25, the museum exhibit, Piecing Together the Past: The Quilts of Florence Peto, will feature some of the finest examples of Peto's quilts from both the museum's collection and on loan from a direct descendant.

Florence Peto was an influential collector and quiltmaker, born in 1881 and died in 1970. She worked tirelessly to bring attention to quilts as an important and integral part of our heritage. Curator Jean Burks, who is organizing the exhibit, says Peto's "goal was to show that this true form of folk art was as historically meaningful as the written word."
In the 1950s, Florence Peto had an influence on the museum founder Electra Havemeyer Webb, encouraging her to include quilts as an essential part of the museum's collection. The Shelburne Museum was among the first to exhibit quilts as works of textile art. The museum's textiles collection, one of the largest in the country, includes some 800 quilts, coverlets, blankets and rugs.

Piecing Together the Past is the first exhibition to bring together 10 Peto quilts on loan from a direct descendant. The exhibit also includes a selection of eight historic examples she collected that were acquired specifically for Shelburne Museum. During the 1940s and 1950s Peto designed and created an amazing body of quilt work using her extensive collection of Centennial and traditional fabrics. She developed a distinctive style using antique copperplate and roller-printed calicos, chintzes and toiles over a homespun background. Her signature artistic technique is distinguished by floral-vine appliquéd borders, elaborate broderie-perse work and fussy-cut flowers.

Calico Garden Crib Quilt, circa 1950, by Florence Peto (1881-1970). Pieced, appliquéd and quilted cotton. Collection of Shelburne Museum. Image courtesy Shelburne Museum.



I have always wanted to go there. There is also a Hitty exhibit. She is a doll.

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