Quilt museums are few and far between. Even regular museums often do not have a quilt collection, or if they do, rarely display that collection. Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum is a little different. It is the mission of the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum “to collect, preserve, exhibit, and educate the public about quilts; honor quiltmaking traditions; and embrace the evolution of the art and craft of quilting.” This is accomplished through exhibits and special events.
When we visited RMQM in September (2017) we were privileged to see two wonderful exhibits, the American Quilt Study Group (AQSG) “Civil War Era Quilts” and “Pagtinabangay: Quilts of Caohagan Island.” Neither exhibit was so large that you couldn’t spend time reading the info plaques and posters explaining the project or display. It was interesting that these two exhibits were on display at the same time as the quilts varied considerably from each other. One, of course, documenting American quilts from the 1850’s and 1860’s. The other displaying the introduction of and growth of quilting into a sustainable means of income for a small group of people on a very small island in the Phillippines.
Civil War Era Quilts
Civil War Era Quilts is the result of an American Quilt Study Group quilt study completed in 2014. It is a collection of reproduction Civil War Quilts reduced in size to a maximum of 200″ perimeter. The original quilts were made from 1850 to 1865. It was interesting to read how each quilt study group maker researched that particular quilt and decided how to make a reproduction of it. Quilt reproduction received much attention to detail using fabrics very similar to original often quilted by hand. One the makers even went to to the trouble of harvesting cotton by hand, prepared it, and used it as “batting” in the reproduction.
Pagtinabangay: Quilts of Caohagan Island
Introduced to quilting by a Japanese woman who was highly trained in the “art” of quilting, several Caohagan Island residents along with one young girl began to make quilts with fabric brought to them by the Japanese woman. Slowly others began to take up quilting, even a few men. When they found that their quilts could be sold, many more began quilting.
Quilters have always been industrious and resourceful people. Quilters use what is available, fabric and fabric scraps, and spend precious time cutting, piecing and quilting. Quilts often reflect the culture and life of those making them. The quilts of Caohagan Island do this, as well, as the “colors and patterns evoke the tropical environs, while the handicraft is of the highest caliber. The results are quilts that evoke a far-away place but retain a human touch to which anyone who views them can relate.” As I looked at the many quilts on display, it reminded me of the lovely pictorial art my nine year old granddaughter enjoyed drawing.
Worth your time to visit.
If you travel to Colorado, be sure to visit Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum in Golden, Colorado. You will not be disappointed.