The Gypsy Caravan

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Eye Candy Quilts

In my last post I ended up at the wonderful Michigan State University Museum where I was lucky to take in two exhibits. The first featured Quilts of Southwest China.

The exhibit closed in East Lansing on May 1 but will begin a national tour. The MSU Museum was the site of the world debut for the exhibit.

The exhibit goes next to  International Quilt Study Center and Museum at University of Nebraska in Lincoln in June.

It's also coming toMathers Museum of World Cultures in Bloomington, Indiana and Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe. Check websites for schedules.

The museum at MSU and the Yunnan Nationalities Museum (Kumming) led a bi-national consortium of American and Chinese museums fostering "an effort to document this textile tradition and, at the same time, advance an understanding of the intangible and tangible cultural heritage of China."

Like American quilts, the quilts and bed coverings of China contain intricate patterns and colorful fabrics.

And, they were used for the same reasons -- to cover a bed and those who slept within.

Marsha MacDowell, curator of the exhibit, offered a fascinating interview on the WKAR Radio program, "Current State." If you are a fan of quilting, take a listen!

This isn't the first quilt exhibit MSU has hosted. It has quite an extensive collection of quilts in its permanent folk art collection and has also hosted other quilt exhibits. But this one might have been one of my favorites, with the magnificent colors.

Look closely -- you'll find traditional symbols like dragons and other animals along with the flowers and tucked in the complex patterns.

The details are amazing.

I'm a quilt collector myself, though I don't venture near quilting myself. All I could say while looking at these was that I wished one or two or ten of them were in my collection!

I leave you with a few details from the quilts -- glorious eye candy!


(I confess -- visiting this exhibit almost made me want to pick up a needle!

Next time we'll look at an exhibit that reminded me a great deal of the later years of Downton Abbey!


  1. Hi Jeanie,
    The French had fabulous quilting traditions too. I saw some delicately stitched bed covers, jackets, skirts, and other items in a traditional-clothing exhibit here in Arles yesterday. I suspect they were at least 100 years old. The stitches were so little I could hardly even see them, much less imagine making anything like that ever -- not to mention how much patience it must have required. I have way to many photos so I don't know if the textile ones will ever get posted.

    best... mae at

  2. Oooo, these quilts are colorful and interesting. The blue and pink one is so pretty. My sister quilts, and I've always thought it was such a talent. I look forward to seeing the exhibit that reminds you of Downton Abbey. Can you believe I've never seen that before? But I love that era and the styles back then.

    Have a peaceful Sunday.


  3. Beautiful intricate workings . . .
    The patience one must have to have to do all that hand work amazes me . . .
    I appreciate "the art" . . .
    Looks like a wonderful exhibit . . .

  4. Beautiful! Fabric art is so rich and inviting. Eye candy I want to touch.

  5. These quilts are absolutely beautiful. That top quilt was stunning. I love the appliqué work. Also, I really like the symbols and history behind each quilt. They tell a story and pass on culture.

  6. Gorgeous quilts. The details are amazing. I found it interesting how a couple of those quilts have somewhat similar patterns to American quilts. I wonder if that is by accident or designs were copied or worldwide patterns lots of cultures used?

  7. I've been reading about Japanese quilts. I was amazed at how different they are from these beautiful (and colorful) Chinese quilts, yet show some similarities, too. I was really impressed with the skills of these artists who created these. Close inspection showed such incredible detail, too. Thank you for sharing this awesome eye candy today, because I needed something colorful in an otherwise very cold, drab, and windy day.

  8. What a beautiful mosaic of truly original quilts. I love them all. These photos flow like a rainbow.

  9. These are beautiful works of art and love! Like you Jeannie, I collect quilts but I'm not a quilter. My dear MIL has quilted most of her life, learning at an early age. She had a stunning collection with numerous ribbons from quilt shows. She gifted my husband and me with a beauty! Since she fell ill at 94 and had to go to a senior living facility and I received more of her mini quilts.I am so pleased to see these quilts you share here. I do enjoy a great quilt show. Thanks Jeannie…………..

  10. I've wanted a proper quilt for years, but don't know of anywhere to get them without paying ridiculous amounts of money, and don't feel confident in my own sewing skills to attempt making one for myself. Maybe one day...

  11. I don't think I'd ever seen Chinese quilts before! Thanks for taking us along! Amazing!

  12. Those quilts are gorgeous! So colorful and with incredible details. Thanks for sharing! I wish I were able to admire them in reality, though.

  13. Hi Jeanie! Oh, what lovely quilts and so very unusual! Some folks are so gifted at this kind of free hand quilting! I'm impressed. Hope you have a marvelous week.
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

  14. Beautiful! I love the black background quilt. They are all works of art.

  15. Wow, those quilts are truly works of art. If I owned one, I'd have a hard time actually using it because of how beautiful they are! I love the bright vibrant colors and intricacies of the patterns!

  16. These quilts are stunning! And the colors on some of them are like candy... bright like taffy. Beautiful!

  17. Every variety imaginable. Thanks for sharing.

  18. I've never seen such beautiful works....stunning isn't a strong enuf word..

  19. It never occurred to me that there would be Chinese and Japanese quilt-quilts: bedcovers. Of course it makes sense, but I've always associated their quilting with jackets and such. These are truly beautiful. The combination of colors is quite striking in some of them, and of course the designs are wonderful.

  20. Jeanie! I am sending your link to a dear high school friend of mine who has recently taken up quilting. She will love these! I particularly love the one from Indiana University with the aqua accents! FUN!

  21. WOW! These quilts are inspiring and incredible. Isn't it great that a university recognizes these as art and displays them that way. They are so much more than just crafty handwork to keep a housewife busy.

  22. This is a quilt show I would have thoroughly enjoyed. They are just amazing! I do love appreciating what quilt artist do with fabric, needle, and thread. Thanks for sharing with us.

  23. They are simply amazing. Hope you're having a great evening.

  24. Quilters are fabric artists as this marvellous exhibition confirms!
    The colours, patterns and variety of fabrics used is awesome!
    I have a quilt in the making.... and it will get finished one day Jeanie... It's just that work gets in the way!
    I'm so glad you took all the photos and shared them with us - thank you!
    Shane x


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