The American quilt during the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries was first and foremost a utilitarian object. Sometimes special efforts on the part of the quilt maker resulted in her creation of a great work of art as well. Today the best antique quilts are admired for both the remarkable sense of design and for the extraordinary craftsmanship some women demonstrated in their creation
Many have compared quilt designs to modern paintings. In fact most seri ous antique quilt collectors mount their textiles on stretchers and hang them on their walls instead of paintings. This use is very different from the one originally intended, at a time when hand-stitched quilts warmed nearly every bed in the land
The Museum of American Folk Art is pleased to share its rich textile heri tage from the permanent collection with the American people. For this portfolio of papers we have selected the best of the past. Obviously, interesting design was an important criteria.
This book of papers celebrates the genius of the American needlewoman who combined function, utility, and artistic sensibility in an unprecedented way.