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Mrs. Zegart works with designers and decorators, painstakingly matching a color or graphic design. Shelly is as concerned about pleasing an individual who can spend $350 for a gift as she is in satisfying corporate clients who want to purchase investment quilts for their offices.



Shelly Zegart continues to demolish the divisions that inhibit the reception of the quilt as art -- both in the mind of makers and viewers. Although she will be among the first to acknowledge that her task is far from complete, she surely knows her labors have made a difference for the greater good.

Bernard L. Herman, George B. Tindle Professor of American Studies, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill


Shelly Zegart is a consultant and contributor to the book and museum exhibition, The Quilts of Gee's Bend. She has acted as an advisor for the organization and operations of the Gee's Bend Quilters Collective, working closely with the quiltmakers in the marketing of the Collective Quilts.

Quilts of Gee's Bend


About Shelly :: Lecturer

Shelly Zegart brings to her lectures more than 30 years of passion for quilts. During that time she has amassed a wealth of knowledge that makes her a sought after lecturer in the U.S. and abroad.

She can lecture on one of her favorite topics or personally design a lecture or seminar for your group. Zegart loves to speak in front of a crowd, large or small. Her lectures are interesting, informative, as well as entertaining.

If you would like more information, e-mail Shelly at, or phone her at (502) 897-7566. Lectures are usually one hour in length with time for questions and answers. Lecture fees, travel, and expenses vary depending on the program and location.

Topics include:


 Antique Quilts: Good, Better, Best

Antique Quilts: Good, Better, Best considers what distinguishes a very good quilt from a spectacular one. Using quilts from her personal collection, Shelly will discuss what to look for in a quilt and offer clues on dating quilts.

 Quilts As Women's Art

Quilts As Women's Art celebrates the quilt as a uniquely female form of self-expression. Shelly talks about quilts as expressions of women's creativity and discusses how trends in quiltmaking often paralleled contemporary artistic movements. Slides or quilts can be used as examples.

 Twentieth Century Quilts

Twentieth Century Quilts explores quiltmaking form 1900 to 1990. Shelly examines the major political, social and economic events of the period and the impact they had on the traditional art of quiltmaking.

Topics include influential quiltmakers, the phenomenal response to quilt contests, and the popularity of quilt kits and published patterns and the industry that sprang up to meet the demand for them. Slides or quilts can be used as examples.

 Political Quilts: A Woman's View

Political Quilts: A Woman's View looks at how 19th century women, deprived of a vote and any real avenue for political participation, used their quilts to express their views about a range of political, social and economic issues. Slides or quilts can be used as examples.

 Old Maid, New Woman

Old Maid, New Woman tells the story of Susie Daggett, a 19th century woman who, at the age of 18, told her friends that she would never marry. In 1870, in honor of her 30th birthday, Susie's friends presented her with an "old maid" album quilt. Shelly discusses the Cult of Single Blessedness and the achievements of Susie and other 19th century women who chose to remain single. The research article "Old Maid, New Woman" by Shelly appeared in Quilt Digest IV, 1985.

 Read article "Old Maid, New Woman"

 Crazy About Quilts

Crazy About Quilts explores 200 years of American quiltmaking, including stories about the quilters themselves, why we cherish quilts today, and some information about techniques. Shelly also provides information on caring for antique quilts.

 Big Dreams, Big Results

Big Dreams, Big Results is a slide lecture about The Kentucky Quilt Project, the nation's first project undertaken to document and preserve a state's quilt heritage. The quilt exhibition resulting from the Project traveled for two years under the auspices of the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service. An organizer of the Project, Shelly has lectured around the country about its successes and has served as a consultant to many other states beginning quilt projects.

 American Quilts: A Patchwork of Meaning, Purposes, and Origins

American Quilts: A Patchwork of Meaning, Purposes, and Origins traces the history of the quilt from its 19th century roots to its contemporary use as political artwork. She examines why quilts were revisited by the art world in the 1970s, and how they reached the walls of museums after being rescued from rag bins.

Using examples from her newest book, American Quilt Collections: Antique Quilt Masterpieces, Shelly shows slides of some of the greatest American quilt collections and describes these collections' past, present and future.

 African-American Quiltmaking, Past and Present: Many Perspectives

African-American Quiltmaking, Past and Present: Many Perspectives addresses prevailing, yet differing, perspectives on African-American quiltmaking, past and present. Shelly first began to analyze the origins of these differing views while involved in the production of the landmark African-American quilt exhibition and catalogue, Always There: The African-American Presence in American Quilts, curated by Cuesta Benberry and produced by the Kentucky Quilt Project, Inc., in 1981.

 Collecting Quilts

Collecting Quilts looks at the various ways quilts are seen, collected, and used in individual collections, corporate collections, and museums. Shelly examines the history of collecting quilts, the dramatic increase in exposure for quilts within the last twenty-five years, and how to collect quilts in the new millennium.

 Appraising Quilts

Appraising Quilts discusses important issues surrounding appraisals of quilts, and answers to frequently asked questions such as: "What is an appraisal?", "What are the most common types of appraisals?", "How do you find an appraiser?", "What are the needs of the studio art quilter?", and "What do you need to have your quilts appraised?". Shelly offers advice from more than 10 years of her own appraising experience, and helps you decided if you have what it takes to begin your own appraisal business.

 Consulting Projects

Consulting Projects Acknowledged internationally as an expert on antique American quilts, Shelly is an experienced curator and has consulted on a number of quilt-related projects. She is available for consultation on both long and short-term basis.

 Appraisal Days

Appraisal Days: The public is invited to bring quilts for written or oral appraisals by Shelly. Appraisals fees can benefit your institution or organization and help to offset lecture fees and travel expenses.

 Share Your Quilts

Share Your Quilts Participants are invited to bring quilts made before 1950. Shelly will talk about patterns, fabric, dating as well as historical, and market value. Oral or written appraisals are optional. This event is a favorite among quilt lovers and collectors.

 Special Programs

SPECIAL PROGRAMS Special programs can be designed to meet the specific needs and interests of your group.

 Other Topics

OTHER TOPICS INCLUDE: "The Contemporary Quilt Marketplace", "Antique Quilts: Art and Aesthetics", "Amish Quilts: Where, When and How Much", "Quilt Myth and Folklore: The Real Story"


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