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The World’s Favorite Fabric in Quilts and Clothing

May 1 through August 4, 2019

Bouquet Royale
Margaret Solomon Gunn, Gorham, ME


The World’s Favorite Fabric in Quilts and Clothing

May 1 through August 4, 2019


The origin of silk production and weaving is ancient and clouded in legend. What is certain is the silk industry began in China, where it was discovered that the cocoon of one silkworm yields 1,000 yards of thread that can be spun and woven into opulent fabric. Today, China produces 78% of the world’s silk, and America is its number one importer.

Among the first luxury items brought with the early colonists to America were whole cloth quilts made from silk. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, scraps of dressmakers’ silk were used to make intricately pieced mosaic quilts comprised of hexagons, triangles and other geometric shapes. The fad for crazy quilts in the late nineteenth century inspired thousands of elaborately embroidered silk quilts made by women of diverse economic classes.

Depending on the weave, silk fibers reflect light and absorb dyes in seemingly magical ways. The unique qualities of this surprisingly strong fabric continue to charm contemporary quilt and textile artists, who sculpt the surfaces of their works with intricate designs and patterns.

 In Praise of Silk at the New England Quilt Museum, May 1 through August 4, 2019, spans three centuries of quiltmaking in America and includes gowns from the UNH Irma Bowen Textile Collection. To complement this exhibition, a selection of silk quilts from the NEQM permanent collection will be on view in the Donahue Gallery.

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August 1, 2019 at 12:30 pm

Brown Bag Thursday

19th Century Basket Quilts

Join the NEQM Collections Manager, Laura Lane, for an in-depth look at our Genre Gallery exhibition, 19th Century Basket Quilts, on loan from the American Quilt Study Group (AQSG). Members of the AQSG were challenged to study a basket quilt from the 19th century and create a new quilt of their own that was inspired by the original. The new quilt could be a reproduction or simply reflect the original in a way that spoke to the maker. Among the inspiration quilts are three from the NEQM permanent collection, which will be on view in the Museum’s Donahue Gallery.

Mini-Basket, ca. 1885
Gift of The Binney Family, 1991.34


Friday, July 12, 2019 - 10 AM TO 4 PM

Free Fun Friday

Thanks to a grant from the Highland Street Foundation, general admission is free to everyone!


Inside the Quilt Artist's Studio

April 2 - June 23, 2019

Salt Marsh Egret
Sue Colozzi - Reading, MA


Inside the Quilt Artist's Studio

April 2 - June 23, 2019


Have you ever viewed an art quilt and wondered, “How did she do that?” From improvisational piecing to traditional embroidery, from digital design to eco-printing, today’s fiber artists draw on a wide range of materials and tools to add depth, complexity and texture to their work. This exhibition invites you inside the artist’s studio to learn about the extensive variety of techniques used by New England based members of Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA).

Each of the 12 artists featured is represented by an original 30” x 50” art quilt that showcases her signature technique.

Artists Featured:

Ann Brauer
Sue Colozzi
Janis Doucette
Janice Jones
Mary-Ellen Latino
Marya Lowe

Jeanne Marklin
Valerie Maser-Flanagan
Sharon McCartney
Suzanne Munroe
Wen Redmond
Sarah Ann Smith

Allison Wilbur and Nancy Turbitt

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THURSDAY, JUN 6, 2019 at 12:30 pm

Brown Bag Thursday

Quilt Clinic

Nancy Sullivan presents her traveling “Quilt Clinic,” designed to diagnose and treat an array of quilt conditions and ailments. Her specialties include C.P.R. (cotton problems resolved), piercing headaches, ruler and pattern dissection, thread and tension pains, UFO resuscitation, and sewing machine medicine. Join Nancy for this lighthearted and encouraging discussion about the many common problems faced by quiltmakers.