State Museum Quilts:
Historic Becomes New

Patty Harants's replica of Rebecca Garretson Wickersham's 1854 appliquéd album quilt.

Judith Day's replica of Rebecca Kohler's 1832 quilt.
Two historic quilts from the collection of The State Museum of Pennsylvania and three additional quilts that are modern adaptations will be on exhibit until May 1, 2005 in the museum’s Ground Floor Gallery.

This exhibit, a collaboration between The State Museum of Pennsylvania and Ms. Patty Harants, an internationally known quilt designer, is designed to increase the public’s awareness of historic Pennsylvania textiles. As part of the museum’s educational outreach, Ms. Harants is producing pattern books based on historic quilts. The first of these books will be available in the spring of 2005.

After carefully tracing the elaborate designs of two State Museum quilts, Ms. Harants produced two adaptations using modern and reproduction fabrics. The first adaptation is based on an elaborate appliquéd album quilt on display at The State Museum. This historic quilt was made by Rebecca Garretson Wickersham in 1854. This album quilt is, in fact, a signature quilt made as a memorial to her late husband, John Wickersham. The Wickershams were Quakers living in York County and the signatures have been identified as family members and friends. The style of this quilt shows the clear adaptation by its English maker of Pennsylvania German influences. This quilt is not just a memorial, but also a celebration of life with its vibrant red, yellow, blue and green colors on a
white background. 

The second adaptation was taken from an originally designed baby quilt made by Rebecca Kohler in Berks County circa 1832. The design is composed mostly of tulips, stars and pinwheels with a dog tooth border. While the motifs on one side of the quilt show a strong Pennsylvania German influence, the fabric patterns and colors on the reverse side indicate English influences also.

Patty Harants's biography.


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