Study Centers

Optional Events

Thursday Morning Study Centers

$50 apiece
9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.

Documenting Indigenous Quilt History in America: Tips & Tools
with Marsha MacDowell and Margaret Wood


The documented history of indigenous artists making quilts with cloth and needle in North America dates as far back as the early 18th century and follows even longer traditions of textile arts in many North American indigenous communities. Today there are many indigenous quilt artists in North America and quilts have become an important part of Native American identity, cultural traditions, and artistic heritage. There have been relatively few studies of the sweep of this artistic production across the U.S. or of the work of individual artists or tribal groups. This session will introduce participants to some of the research techniques that were used in the development of “To Honor and Comfort: Native Quilting Traditions,” the nationally-touring exhibition organized by the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian and Michigan State University Museum. The workshop will also explore issues related to cross-cultural collaborative research projects, what makes an indigenous quilt, and new directions and tools for indigenous quilt art studies.

Star Struck
with Lori Triplett

Star patterns were an early pattern in America and very popular. This study center will examine multiple Poos Collection 19th century antique star quilts in a variety of patterns as well as learn about the patterns. Participants will also learn the history of paper piecing, see a demo and receive a mini Delft Center Medallion to create their own star medallion quilt.


Thursday Afternoon Study Centers

$50 apiece
2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Kitchen Rags to Quilt Mags
with Xenia Cord


Following WWII a diminished public interest in quilt making forced some traditionalists to cast a wide net in their search for quilt patterns and instruction. Responding to that need, women from their kitchen tables created neophyte mail order businesses. Their source material was often printed designs and patterns from the first decades of the 20th century. At the same time, other women engaged in complicated correspondence through “round robins,” sharing quilt ephemera. Several 20th century quilt magazines emerged through these efforts. We will consider this transition through PowerPoint and a sharing of my ephemera, all of which MUST go home with someone else! Attendees may bring short thumb drive examples or real paper stuff to show.

Antique Quilting & Needlework Tools
Dawn Cook-Ronningen


Brief PowerPoint on the history of American antique sewing tools, focused on quilting. See actual spiral head hand made pins through a magnifying lens, tin templates, inking and marking supplies, pin cushions, and much more. Also antique sewing smalls made with cotton and linen fabrics; including sewing rolls, pockets, and needle books.

Friday Morning Study Centers

$50 apiece
9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.

The Quilt Index – Into the Future
with Beth Donaldson

The Quilt Index (QI) recently launched its redesigned and reimagined website. QI Coordinator Beth Donaldson will give a tour of the new site and introduce researchers to the many new connections being made between quilts, makers, stories, ephemera, exhibits, essays, and galleries. Beth will discuss ways for new projects to join the QI and for projects already in the QI to take advantage of the new interface. QI is aware that many members have retired and are considering the future of their scholarship, art, and websites. Learn about the special new Legacy section of QI which allows us to tell the life stories of scholars and collectors before their legacies are dispersed. The QI is already the home for Uncoverings (through 2015). The QI is always a work in progress and we want to share some of the ideas we are currently working on (i.e. creating a publishing platform, adding more oral histories, creating new user tools, getting all of the state documentation records added, etc.) But we are also eager to hear from users on how QI can be improved. Participants are encourage to bring along their laptops and follow along with Beth.

Portrait of a Past Imagined: The Influence of the Colonial Revival on Quilting
with Lisa Erlandson

The early 20th century saw the rise of a new generation of quilters inspired by the Colonial Revival movement, a national expression of early North American culture. Learn what prompted this movement, how it wove itself into many facets of American life and the influence of the movement on quilting. Participants will see examples of the Colonial Revival movement in architecture, design, and the arts as well as in textiles and the link between the movement and the quilts will be discussed. Quilts of the early to mid 19th century will be compared to quilts of the Colonial Revival era with discussion how these earlier quilts influenced 20th century quilters.

Laura Wheeler & Alice Brooks Quilt Pattern History
with Merikay Waldvogel


Laura Wheeler/Alice Brooks quilt patterns have confounded quilt researchers for years. This study center will try to unravel the company’s history and showcase the originality of the pattern designs. The program includes a PowerPoint presentation, handouts, and a quilt sharing.

There will be an opportunity to examine Laura Wheeler/Alice Brooks ephemera from the presenter’s own collection (newspaper clippings, scrapbooks, mailings, and pattern sheets), and participants are encouraged to bring their own items pertaining to Laura Wheeler/Alice Brooks, especially quilts.

Friday Study Centers at IQM

$70 apiece

Indigo: Botany, Chemistry, Culture & Demonstration
with Jay Rich

8:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
1:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.

This Study Center reviews the history of indigo dye plants and chemistry through a PowerPoint presentation, handouts, and discussion. Samples from Rich’s indigo collection will be shared for hands-on study. Collection includes old South American, African, Japanese, and Chinese indigo pieces including printed, stitched, bound, and paste resist patterning. Contemporary works are included as well. Indigo dye demonstrations conclude the study. Seeing indigo’s magic will deepen your understanding of this unique blue.

From Facebook to the Front Page: Photographing Quilts
with Larry Gawell

8:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

This Study Center will guide participants through techniques used in the photographing of quilts. Open to all skill and interest levels, participants will see firsthand how to better photograph quilts using cell phone and digital cameras. Additional discussion will touch on basic digital editing tools and software, and also allow for a tour and demonstration of the photography studio at the IQM.

Friday Afternoon Study Centers

$50 apiece
2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Omaha World-Herald Contests & Exhibits
with Donna DiNatale

From 1931 to 1940 the Omaha World-Herald newspaper sponsored a quilt contest and exhibition, especially focused on quilt patterns published in the paper, but with six or more categories open to all quilters and quilt owners. Hundreds of quilts from around the nation were entered each year and thousands of people flocked to see the beautiful exhibitions. The names of the winners were published in the paper, but no photos of the quilts were ever published. Where are those quilts now? What impact did the newspaper have on quilters and quilting in the midst of a national depression and disastrous drought? This Study Center will review the research paper presented to AQSG by Jan Stehlik in 1990 and discuss the enduring interest in quilts from
the 1930s.

Wandering Feet & Broken Needles: Superstitions in Sewing & Quilting
with Lisa Erlandson

What can happen if you start a quilt on a Friday? Should you avoid making certain quilts for your sweetheart? Is there a certain quilt pattern that could spell doom for you? What does happen if you break a needle and why is there a cat in the middle of that quilt? We will examine superstitions in quilting and sewing in general from the past as well as those that have continued into the present.

Sunday Afternoon Study Centers

$50 apiece
2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Cheddar Isn’t Always Cheese - A Look at the Color Orange
with Carol Butzke

The color orange can make a quilt sing, but has often been maligned. This Study Center looks at the history of orange as a fabric dye through a PowerPoint program and a trunk show of approximately 15 quilts to inspire guests to take a second look at orange. Attendees are encouraged to bring one of their own orange quilts to be shared as time allows.

Mark My Words
with Julie Silber


Nearly from the start, some quilt makers have incorporated the written word into their work. Going far beyond the relatively common addition of signatures, dates, or even town names on old quilts, there were quilt makers who took “text in textiles” to new heights, and who left us some extraordinary messages. Using PowerPoint images and real life examples, Julie will share examples with a fascinating range of styles, techniques, materials, motives, and messages. We’ll enjoy clever and moving examples made as long ago as 1800, and as recently as the day before yesterday.

Participants are encouraged to bring examples of quilts with any kind of text. We’ll be eyes-on, hands-on, and smiles-on. Let’s learn new stuff, have some fun, and enjoy some rare and extraordinary quilts.