Monday, March 28, 2011

Your Regularly Scheduled Thrift Share Monday Has Been Postponed Due to a Quilt Tornado

Well, Nerds I didn't get out to the thrifts this week.  I did something "Infinitely" better. When folks asked me what I was doing on my one day off this week, I replied "I'm going to a quilt show!" Nerdy, indeed. It was a thrifty outing though, because admission to the show was free.

But what a show! The American Folk Art Museum is hosting an all-too-brief exhibit at the Park Ave Armory in New York called Infinite Variety From May 25th-30th Six Hundred and Fifty red and white quilts will be on display. For free people. 

They are part of the private collection of Joanna S. Rose who has over 1300 quilts in her collection.  When her husband asked what she wanted for her 80th birthday, she said: I want to give New York a Quilt Show! Thanks Joanna. Best. Birthday. Present. Ever.

With only a few hours to spare on Sunday, I hopped on a train to New York. I arrived at the Armory (Which, incidentally is an amazing space all on it's own.) and marched up the stairs straight in to the exhibition space. And then my jaw hit the floor.




Gasps of delight came from the crowd of middle aged ladies that surrounded me. We all just stared.

And then we all individually got down to business. I decided the best course of action was to wander through and take it all in. Then have some coffee. Then go back through and take pictures.

The design of the space was astounding. A huge "tornado" of quilts spiraled up from a "quilting bee" in the center.

Surrounding the 'tornado" were large circular "columns"  with exterior and interior quilts three high.

And then a whole back "wall"!

One woman commented that the experience reminded her of Christo's The Gates installation in Central Park. "Everybody is smiling and being nice to each other. It makes everyone so happy!" I saw The Gates on the day it closed, and I agreed with her whole hartedly. I'd never seen so many New Yorkers in one spot, smiling and being friendly. City of New York take note: People like big colorful pieces of cloth, lots of them, preferably in one place.

For the last hour I checked out an iPad from the front desk. The museum had helpfully loaded an app onto the iPad that had a map of the exhibition, and audio tour, and images of every one of the quilts on display.

It was great to be able to zoom in and look at the stitch detail on the quilts that were hanging up high. While the statement of them hanging was fantastic you really couldn't see details. Like, this quilt is tied, not stitched. Or, this one has a print border.

I think their original plan was to have the app done before the show opened so you could download it onto your personal mobile device or iPad and use that. I think they ran out of time. But I have to say the preview of the app was really great and the IT dudes that were manning the iPad table said it would be available soon.

Do I have a favorite? I don't know. What was so great about the design of the display was your eye was constantly drawn from quilt to quilt with out it being over powering. I'll think on it and post more on the individual quilts tomorrow. This is my favorite photo that I took. You just keep looking behind the next quilt, and the next quilt, and so on.

If you liked these photos and you are on Facebook, then hop on over to the Vintage Spinster page and "Like" it. I posted all of the photos I took with my camera and ipod..

If you live in the NYC area, make time to see it before the show closes on March 30th, GO. Run, don't walk. The app and the flickr group are amazing and all, but seeing these quilts in person is truly spectacular.

If you want to get a proper Thrift Share fix, jump on over to Apron Thrift Girl.


  1. That must have been a breathtaking sight. The pictures are beautiful.

  2. Just had to pass your post along to some friends! LOVE the view of the quilt show - so jealous it's so far away for me to view.
    Thank you for posting!

  3. Beautiful! I can't believe they all belong to one person!

  4. That's an amazing display. I popped in to the American Folk Art Museum when I was in NY over Christmas. Mainly for my mum - I'm not much of a quilt person but she's into it BIG TIME.

    I was very quickly impressed with the skill and creativity I saw there.

    This latest display is awe inspiring.

  5. I'm speechless! Thank you so much for your time and effort to share these amazing photos. I would think actually being there would have been a magical experience.

  6. I'm still not over how amazing it was.