Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The American Folk Art Museum - 2013

Last week my husband and I traveled to New York City to fulfill my husband's dream of running the New York City Marathon.  If you have been following my blog for a while you might recall that we also traveled to NYC the same time last year for the same reason however as the marathon was canceled (due to hurricane Sandy) we have once again returned here.  And yes, this year the marathon was successfully completed by my husband with a great time!

Whilst in New York City I like to make it a priority to visit some of my favorite places including the American Folk Art Museum at Lincoln Square.  The current exhibition is called alt_quilts: Sabrina Gschwandtner, Luke Haynes, Stephen Sollins. The exhibition features the works of these three contemporary artists who are inspired by the history and structure of American quilts but who are neither inhibited, constricted, nor defined by it, and use unexpected materials such as 16mm film strips or used paper envelopes.

Camouflage, 2012 by Sabrina Gschwandtner
16mm film, polyamide thread, lithography ink
69.5 inches x 45.5 inches

Sabrina Gschwandtner is a New York based visual artists whose quilts feature the use of 16mm film. The historical films used are short documentaries from 1952 to 1982 focusing on textile crafts such as crocheting, knitting, sewing and quilting. 

Arts and Crafts, 2012 by Sabrina Gschwandtner
16mm film, polyamide thread
23.5 inches x 23 inches.
I was fascinated by Sabrina's work; the use of traditional patchwork blocks, techniques and color. The film quilts were presented with strong backlighting (not unlike a lightbox) which emphasized light/shade and positive/negative space.  A total of six Film Quilts are available for viewing.

Untitled (Return to Sender) 2010 by Stephen Sollins,
after Mary Jane Smith, 1865
Used envelopes, 78 inches x 72 inches

The work of Stephen Sollins is similarly amazing.  This log cabin masterpiece is a paper replica (made from used envelopes) of a traditional style (fabric) log cabin quilt made by Mary Jane Smith (1833-1869). Sollins spent much time carefully analyzing the piecing strategies and color placement of the pattern - his working/planning papers are also available for viewing.  

Also by Stephen Sollins:
Untitled (Grandfather's Garden) 2013
Made from used paper envelopes 86.5" x 66"
And also incredible ~  the work by Luke Haynes;

(The American Context #4) Benjamin Franklin 2010
 by Luke Haynes
Fabric, batting and thread 100" x 100".
This quilt by Luke Haynes is made to display on a bed and when viewed from a specific angle Franklin appears to be sitting on the corner of the bed.  

I enjoyed viewing and photographing this exhibition and have tried to carefully document the information that goes along with each of the quilts. These are only some of the works available for viewing and if you happen to be in the NYC and quilts are your thing, then I can highly recommend you take time to stop by this exhibition.  

Vintage Quilts for Sale at the Folk Art Museum Shop.
This exhibition runs until 5 January 2014.


Thank you for stopping by,

Pin It!


  1. That was AWESOME! Thanks so, so much for sharing your experience at the museum. I have really enjoyed seeing these "quilts", and feel deep inspiration. Have a super day!

  2. This is wonderful. Thank you so much for posting this. Next time I am fortunate enough to visit one of my favorite cities I will be sure to include this museum. Congrats to your husband on a remarkable accomplishment.

  3. Such a small world. Luje Hatbes was the guest speaker at our guild meeting last night. His work is amazing as is the work if the artists you have featured here.

  4. Congrats to your hubby! My brother has run in the Boston Marathon, and my oldest son runs marathons and ultra-marathons, but I don't think he's ever run the New York Marathon.
    MUST see the American Folk Art Museum next time I'm in NY visiting my daughter. (She lives in Brooklyn.) Thank you for the photo tour!

  5. thanks for sharing - I have only been to NYC one time and I live a heck of a lot closer than you do :) glad you hubby was able to run in the race.

  6. well done hubby, just the thought of running is too much for me!

    What an amazing exhibition, such imagination in the creation of these quilts.

  7. I would definitely also choose the American Folk Art Museum over running the Marathon! Glad to hear, by the way, that the museum is still going strong. I was worried after they closed the "branch" across from MOMA that it wouldn't be much of a museum any longer.

  8. Fascinating & inspirational! Those of living this side of the pond are unlikely ever to visit the museum (but, hey, you never know!), so thanks so much for sharing this! Jen PS my husband ran the London marathon in 2012 - well done to yours!

  9. WOW. Amazing quilts. Thanks for sharing - I'm unlikely to visit myself.
    Great job on the marathon too.

  10. wow Rita that is a great post. I am forever inspired by artists turning an idea on it's head and then compiling it such a way that it's not initially apparent. I'm sure the light from behind really made these quilts shine. Great great post, thanks

  11. I always love your "travel" posts! I met a gal in Vevay, Indiana (Martha Bladen)who makes beautiful "quilts" with cut paper...some made of the colorful beer cartons...some made with photos.."wall hanging" sized...very cool...I am saving cardboard from various grocery items even now :)

  12. Great stuff; thanks for sharing

  13. I'm going in a couple weeks and can't wait to see everything!!

  14. Congrats to the hubster on fulfilling a dream!
    I saw some of Luke's work out at Island Quilter on Vashon Island (near Seattle). He does quite interesting stuff, mostly out of old shirts he gets from the bulk op shop outlets. Clothes by the pound anyone?

  15. Congrats to your husband on running the NYC Marathon!

  16. Wow! What a great variety of creative ideas made of my favorite quilt design..the log cabin. Thanks so much for posting these.

  17. glad you both had a successful trip this year, altho now do you have the excuse to go back again next year??! x

  18. We watched the Marathon live on tv - getting some glimpses of the city that we will be visiting in 39 sleeps!!
    Congratulations to the runner - and thanks for the info on the exhibition too! Safe travels..
    Christine x

  19. Thank you for sharing this, the exhibition is inspiring and so is your husband for fulfilling his dream.

  20. What an amazing exhibition! Thank you for the great post!


Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment! I really appreciate it.

Comments are published after review.

Feel free to ask questions and I will answer either here or by email, as is appropriate.