Spring is finally here, and the explosion of blooms outside is mirrored in the studio in a crazy quilt with many of the season’s beauties—lily of the valley, dogwood, scilla, violets, virginia blue bells or maybe forget me nots….
Popular in the late 19th and early 20th century, crazy quilts were an excellent way for a lady to show off her sewing skills. They consist of a cacophony of colored silks, brocades, ribbons, velvets—all layered with intricate stitching and embroidered pictures. Most interestingly, crazy quilts sometimes provide a historical record and family history, with mementos and scraps of clothing sewn in and important names and dates embroidered.
Caring for Textiles is working on a simply spectacular crazy quilt that has stayed in nearly pristine condition in the same family for over 100 years. Small details illuminate the quilter and her family story. Started in Natchez Mississippi during the Civil War by Mary Girault Addison, her initials are embroidered in the quilt.
Conservation treatment is minimal, and focused on applying protective overlays of sheer netting on a few shattered silk patches. Often silks were weighted with salts, or contained a corrosive mordant. Only the pink silks have shattered in this quilt. The conservation netting will hold the fragments in place, and prevent further loss.
We look forward to preparing the quilt on a solid support and framing it with light protective plexi glas, so that the descendants of Mary Girault Addison, can continue to enjoy this exceptional piece of textile art.