Keynote Address

Quilts and the Wider World

Alden O’Brien

Quilts are at the same time intensely personal—reflecting the maker’s taste and sometimes her life story—and communal, reflecting her region and culture. Many quilts tell tales, through fabrics or overall designs, connecting them to such facets of contemporary culture as politics, religion, science, decorative arts, and passing fads. Drawing largely from the DAR Museum collection with special emphasis on quilts from nearby Maryland and Virginia, Alden O’Brien will explore how these textiles created for the domestic sphere reflect many aspects of the wider world.

Alden O’Brien holds a MA in Museum Studies in Costume and Textiles from the Fashion Institute of Technology (NYC). She joined the DAR Museum in 1990 as curator of costume, taking charge of the quilts in 2003 and samplers in 2016. In addition to her costume exhibits, Alden has curated four quilt exhibits, most recently Eye on Elegance: Early Quilts of Maryland and Virginia; overseen the addition of the DAR’s collection to the online Quilt Index; and written Historic Quilts of the DAR Museum and the Eye on Elegance exhibit catalogue. The DAR’s next quilt exhibit will open in April of 2019.


Saturday Lunch Speaker

Vintage Inspirations

Mimi Dietrich

Mimi loves antique traditional quilt designs. She has used museum quilts to inspire new quilts and fabric based on vintage patterns. During her quilting career, Mimi has worked with reproduction fabrics from the Smithsonian Institution and the Baltimore Museum of Art. She will be bringing quilts for the lecture and will entertain you as she relates her quilt-making adventures.

Mimi Dietrich is a quilting instructor and author of 15 quilting books and many magazine articles. She is a lifelong resident of Maryland, and lives in the Baltimore County community of Catonsville. She received her degree in American Studies from UMBC. Mimi is one of the “Founding Mothers” of the Village Quilters and The Baltimore Applique Society.

Her first book, Happy Endings: Finishing the Edges of Your Quilts, was originally published in 1987. She teaches quilting classes in the Maryland area as well as online at Craftsy. Her books and workshops focus mainly on appliqué techniques and Baltimore Album Quilts. In total, her books have sold over a half million copies.

In 2013, Mimi was named as Quilt Teacher of the Year by the International Association of Creative Arts Professionals. In 2015 Mimi was inducted into The Quilter’s Hall of Fame.

Mimi is retired from traveling, but continues to teach year-long Baltimore Album classes in the Baltimore area. She also coordinates two “Graduate School” classes for her students.

She was inspired by an exhibit of Baltimore Album Quilts at the Baltimore Museum of Art in the 1980’s and the rest is history!


Sunday Lunch Speaker

Quilts vs. Abstract Art:
A History of the Reception of Gee’s Bend Quilts from the 1960s to Today

Amelia Peck

As early as the mid-1960s, quilts made by the women of the Freedom Quilting Bee collective in the Gee’s Bend area of Alabama were equated with “Pop Art”. In the 1970s, graphic quilts such as those made by the Amish gained huge popularity, and were widely collected due to an influential show at the Whitney Museum called “Abstract Design in American Quilts” (1971). This show posited that graphic quilts were akin to abstract paintings created by the leading male painters of the day. In 2002, when the Gee’s Bend quilts first went on tour, they were shown in art museums as works of abstract graphic art, hung like canvases on the white walls, and written about as “works of genius” so that they would rise above the domestic sphere. In this talk, Amelia Peck will discuss this phenomenon, and whether it does justice to the quilts or the creativity of their makers.

Amelia Peck is the Marica F. Vilcek Curator in the Department of American Decorative Arts and Manager of the Henry R. Luce Center for the study of American Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She is a graduate of Brown University and received her M.S. in Historic Preservation from Columbia University. Her areas of expertise include American textiles and interiors. She has curated numerous exhibitions at the Metropolitan, and is the author/general editor of many books and exhibition catalogues, including American Quilts and Coverlets in the Metropolitan Museum (1990, revised ed. 2007), Period Rooms in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (1996), Candace Wheeler: The Art and Enterprise of American Design, 1875-1900 (2001) and Interwoven Globe: The Worldwide Textile Trade, 1500-1800 (2013). Her most recent exhibition at the museum, which included a group of ten Gee’s Bend quilts, was “History Refused to Die: Highlights from the Souls Grown Deep Foundation Gift” (May 2018).



Special Exhibition of
Early Maryland Quilts


Prepare to be wowed by this special exhibition of more than 20 Maryland quilts generously made available for Seminar by private collectors. Dating from the early to mid-nineteenth century, the exhibit will feature favorite Maryland patterns and fabrics, including whitework, mosaic, framed center, chintz applique, mathematical star, Irish chain, signature quilts, and of course, the iconic Baltimore album! You won’t want to miss it!

Stella Rubin Antiques
Photo by Steve Goldberg

Stella Rubin Antiques
Photo by Steve Goldberg

Welcome Event

Please join us as we welcome you to Maryland, Land of Pleasant Livin’, Thursday evening from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Bethesda Marriott Hotel. Begin your evening at our reception featuring hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar. A selection of quilt turnings will follow, which will include Maryland quilts, doll quilts, and coverlets. Eastern Shore Quilt Study Group members and other collectors will bring some of their favorites to share with you. Plan dinner with friends before or after the event.

Quilt Study Exhibit

The interesting journey in the study of quilts and quilt history by participants in the 2018 Quilt Study project, 200 Years of Solid Color Quilts: Cultural and Regional Distinctions, 1800-2000, will be on display during Seminar.

During the exhibit, a committee will choose a select number of quilts to travel around the country for four years. Past Quilt Study traveling exhibits have served as ambassadors for AQSG in a wide variety of prestigious museums and quilt exhibits across the country.

Research Workshop

Moving Forward with Your Quilt Research

Publications Committee $15

Have a great idea and don’t know where to begin your research? Searched the genealogy and don’t know what to do with it? Need some guidance to make sense of your data? The Publications Committee will present brief topical discussions of research methods  and paper preparation. Then we will divide into small groups to discuss your projects. Participants will come with a project in mind or underway and leave with renewed commitment and direction.  Please join us on Saturday afternoon.

Poster Session

The Tree of Jesse and the Royal Adulterers: A Re-Examination of Two 14th Century German Appliqued Hangings
Lisa Evans

Frances Willard’s Quilts
Allison Rainboth

The poster session is a venue for presenting members’ ongoing research projects to fellow Seminar participants. View displays of research questions, methods, and preliminary results that invite dialogue with colleagues. Poster presenters will be available to discuss and field questions about their research for the entire session. Make time in your schedule to attend this engaging event on Saturday afternoon. Included in your Seminar registration fee.