Quilts at the American Museum in Bath

Two weeks ago, I visited the American Museum at Bath. I have wanted to go there to see their collection of historic quilts for some years. The museum has recently undergone a period of restoration and the last time I was in the South-West of England it was closed for work to be done.

However, a fortnight ago, it so happened that we were in Cornwall for three days (Friday, Saturday, Sunday) for a family reunion (my husband is Cornish and we gathered in his beautiful home village, Cawsand).

Cawsand, Cornwall

We made a plan to  visit the newly-reopened Museum on the way home. The Museum is closed on Mondays, so we stayed overnight with a friend in Oxfordshire, doubled back to Bath the following day, finishing our long journey from Bath to Durham after the visit. It was quite a trek, but the Museum was well worth a visit.

The American Museum, Bath

There is currently a special exhibition ‘Quilts in America’ consisting of quilts designed by Kaffe Fassett, using his fabrics, and which are inspired by historic quilts in the American Museum collection.

Kaffe Fassett's 'Quilts in America' exhibition poster

This was held in a separate pavilion. The exhibition runs until 3 November 2019.   I wrote here about once inadvertently missing a Kaffe Fassett quilt exhibition, so I was thrilled to catch this one! Do go and see it if you have the opportunity.

Pavilion at The American Museum, Bath

As you would expect, the quilts are full of saturated colour; a side room with quilts using lots of  blues and purples was a particular favourite.

Quilts on display at Kaffe Fassett's Quilts in America at the American Museum, Bath

The quilt that appeared on the cover of this booklet (which accompanied Quilt Now issue 62) was on show, a real stunner!

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I loved the quilts so much that I bought the ‘book of the show: ‘Kaffe Fassett’s ‘Quilts in America’, published by The Taunton Press.

Kaffe Fassett's Quilts in America, published by The Taunton Press

The ‘baby blocks’ quilt in Kaffe’s fabrics on the cover of the book was inspired by a ‘baby blocks’ quilt from the museum. They have used a photograph of the historic quilt to make pennants for the pillars just near the cafe.

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The Kaffe Fassett exhibition shows the new quilts close to the original historic quilts that inspired them. The American Museum has a collection of over 200 quilts, some of which are on display at any one time, in large glass-fronted display panels that can be moved from side to side like the pages of a book (a very large book!). I went to have a look at these in the main Museum building. It was inspiring to look through the glass at stitches made centuries ago. Hattie Kort and others embroidered their names on blocks in a signature crazy patchwork quilt (see below). A good reminder to always add a label when you make a quilt – you never know where your quilts might end up!

Signature on a crazy patchwork signature quilt from the American Museum, Bath

A final delight for me was seeing these beautiful hand-made sewing boxes, made according to principles of simplicity and functionality. There is so much pleasure in seeing vintage sewing equipment. What did this maker sew, I wonder?

Sewing boxes from the American Museum, Bath

Thank you for reading my blog. I’d love to hear from you.

This is the pattern I wrote for a hand-stitched patchwork quilt (piecing over papers) and which used Kaffe Fassett fabrics for the centre of every rosette. You can find it here.

Bright Garden borders quilt pattern from Amanda Jane Textiles

This is the website for the Museum: https://americanmuseum.org/

 

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