By: Kyle Emily Ciani
In the rural and nearly isolated southernmost corner of nineteenth century California, a Spanish woman grasped a truly American folk art – quilting – and gave it a home. Doña Juana de Dios Machado Alípas Wrightington of San Diego, created an appliqué quilt of an original design in the mid-nineteenth century. The term “original” may cause some quilt historians to question whether the quilt exhibits a unique form or represents rather an abstract application of a known pattern. This study explores the power of environmental influence in folk art themes and maintains that the quiltmaker, inspired by a pervasive, multi-cultural lifestyle, developed and original quilt design.