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The Natural History of the Traditional Quilt

The Natural History of the Traditional Quilt

An examination of the taxonomy, morphology, behavior, and ecology of quilts in their native environment--the homes of humans who make, use, keep, and bestow them.

December 1995
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374 pages | 6 x 9 | 366 line drawings |

Traditional quilts serve many purposes over the course of a useful life. Beginning as a beautiful bed covering, a quilt may later function as a ground cover at picnics until years of wear relegate it to someone's ragbag for scrap uses.Observing this life cycle led authors John Forrest and Deborah Blincoe to the idea that quilts, like living things, have a natural history that can be studied scientifically. They explore that natural history through an examination of the taxonomy, morphology, behavior, and ecology of quilts in their native environment—the homes of humans who make, use, keep, and bestow them.The taxonomy proposed by Forrest and Blincoe is rooted in the mechanics of replicating quilts so that it can be used to understand evolutionary and genetic relationships between quilt types. The morphology section anatomizes normal and abnormal physical features of quilts, while the section on conception and birth in the life cycle discusses how the underlying processes of replication intersect with environmental factors to produce tangible objects.This methodology is applicable to many kinds of crafts and will be of wide interest to students of folklore, anthropology, and art history. Case studies of traditional quilts and their makers in the Catskills and Appalachia add a warm, human dimension to the book.

  • “Toward the End of Winter …”
  • “I Never Saw My Mamaw Making Quilts …”
  • Preface
  • Acknowledgements
  • 1. Taxonomy
    • 1.1. Introduction
    • 1.2. The Cell
    • 1.3. Seamed Base Categories
    • 1.4. Unseamed Base Categories
    • 1.5. Hybrids and Anomalies
  • 2. Morphology
    • 2.1. Introduction
    • 2.2. Overall Construction
    • 2.3. Materials
    • 2.4. Pathology and Anomaly
  • 3. Life Cycle
    • 3.1. Introduction
    • 3.2. Conception
    • 3.3. Gestation
    • 3.4. Life Span
    • 3.5. Death (and Rebirth)
  • 4. Ecology
    • 4.1. Introduction
    • 4.2. Interaction with Artifacts
    • 4.3. Interaction with People
    • 4.4. Interaction with the Natural Environment
  • 5. Case Study
    • 5.1. Introduction
    • 5.2. Extant Quilts of Anna Butcher Mayo
    • 5.3. The Quilts in the Lives of the Quilter and Her Family
    • 5.4. Kindred Cells in Kindred Quilts
    • 5.5. Anomaly as a Clue to Innovation
  • 6. Conclusion
    • 6.1. Quilts and the Transmission of Culture
  • References
  • General Index
  • Index of Quilt Names

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This book may also be available on the following library platforms; check with your local library:
3M Cloud Library/bibliotheca