The New England Quilt Museum

The New England Quilt Museum, a repurposed bank shaped in a triangle

The New England Quilt Museum, a repurposed bank shaped in a triangle

Sue and Mom at lunch in the Greek restaurant

Sue and Mom at lunch in the Greek restaurant

Laborers built a series of canals in Lowell.

Laborers built a series of canals in Lowell.

The shuttle and loom

The shuttle and loom

If you close your eyes you can imagine all the noise and activity coming from these mills.

If you close your eyes you can imagine all the noise and activity coming from these mills.

My mother, my friend, Sue and I went to Lowell Massachusetts to see The New England Quilt Museum and their exhibit called “Silk”, because it was closing at the end of the weekend.  It had been a few years since we went to the museum and we enjoyed the exhibit and the expanded gift shop.  Sadly, because of the museum photo policy I can not show you any of the beautiful quilts which were on display.  Many were log cabins, a few were crazy quilts, including one which had spectacular embroidery work on it, and a few were contemporary in design.  Most were very old, ranging from the 1700s to one’s created within the last decade.

In my opinion the best part of the show were six modern quilts which had been transformed by the Luminarium Dance Company to “take on the concept of threading motion” where dancers interacted with each quilt projected on to a backdrop.  It is rather hard to explain, but the videos were very creative and I do hope this group continues to create this innovative art to highlight quilting with such a spectacular display of videography.  My favorite was a quilt that included a vertical line with short horizontal lines projected onto the dancers back.  As the dancer moved the quilt moved just like a spinal cord would move.  It was fantastic to watch.  The director’s portfolio can be viewed at:  http://www.merliguerra.com/HOME-bio.html

The museum includes a quilt research library as well as a lending library for quilt books.  With membership you can use the library database and the librarian will send you any book they have in the lending library via the US mail, no matter where in the US you live.  Check it out!  http://nequiltmuseum.org/neqm-library.html

Lowell was at the forefront of the Industrial Revolution and the US Park Service has incorporated a major section of the city into a national park.  My quilting friends, who visit Lowell, should not just go the quilt museum but explore this mill town’s history for a full understanding of how women and technology made this historic change happen in America.

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