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Price Reduction: One of a Kind Piece of American History - Rare Antique Signed Quilt c.1840

Major price reduction on this rare and outstanding 19th century quilt from a prominent New York and New Jersey family heirloom collection. This one of a kind Red, White & Blue Trapunto Star, is a Mary Mapes Dodge family quilt. Mary Mapes was noted American author and editor of children’s books, best known for Hans Brinker or The Silver Skates, which became an instant best seller and eventually a children's classic. Mary's family was well known in Newark and a number of New Jersey histories mention her father and family. Find out more here!

Rare Antique Applique 1840s Signed Quilt - Detail
Rare Antique Applique 1840s Signed Quilt - Detail
Rare Antique Applique 1840s Signed Quilt - Detail
Rare Antique Applique 1840s Signed Quilt - Detail
Rare Antique Applique 1840s Signed Quilt - Detail

Kentucky to the World Founder Shelly Zegart Wins Governor's Award in the Arts

Shelly Zegart - drawing by August Northcut - 2020LOUISVILLE, Ky. (November 13, 2020) – Gov. Andy Beshear has announced that Founder and CEO of Kentucky to the World Shelly Zegart has received the state's most prestigious arts award in recognition of her dedication to sharing Kentucky's rich arts history with the citizens of the commonwealth.

The Governor's Awards in the Arts are comprised of nine distinct categories that celebrate the extraordinary and significant contributions of Kentuckians and Kentucky organizations to the state's art heritage.

Zegart has been honored with the Folk Heritage Award for her international work in quilts, a quintessential art form of Kentucky. This award is presented to individuals who have made an outstanding effort to perpetuate and promote Kentucky's unique artistic traditions. She joins the ranks of such luminaries as Bluegrass Musician JD Crowe, African American Folk Artist Marvin Finn, International Ballet Dancer Wendy Whelan and many more.

An internationally recognized expert on American quilts and a community leader in Louisville, Zegart is an avid collector, exhibition curator, author, lecturer and appraiser of fine quilts. Her curated quilt exhibits have been featured across the United States and abroad. Her lectures cover all aspects of quilts, from history to aesthetics.

"This recognition is one to which ANY artist, arts advocate, or arts presenter of significance in Kentucky aspires to," says Zegart. "My Governors Award in the Arts brings the extraordinary vision and aesthetic achievements of Kentucky quilt making to the attention of the public, and respects and celebrates the medium of quilting as a form of artistic expression."  More...

2020 Kentucky Governor's Awards in the Arts - Broadcast of the Awards Ceremony

  2020 Governor's Awards in the Arts: Folk Heritage Award - Shelly Zegart, Jefferson County

  Press Release

NEW: Highly sought after Gee's Bend quilts made by Loretta Pettway Bennett now available

For those of you with a keen artistic eye and a desire to own a quilt made by one of the most creative of the Gee's Bend quiltmakers working today I am offering this group of quilts for your consideration. I have known Loretta since the very beginning of the exploding interest in Gee's Bend quilts and I am thrilled that she is letting me have this group of quilts to offer to you. More...

Alligator Eyes Quilt
DNA Quilt
Denim Pants Legs Quilt
Sweeps Quilt
SF Quilt
Mommy Queenie Quilt

A 1850s quilt from a French quilt collector

Variation Lady of the Lake or Birds in Flight Variation of Lady of the Lake or Birds in Flight (c. 1850, cotton, excellent condition). A French collector has had this prime example in her collection for several decades. More...

Variation Lady of the Lake or Birds in Flight
Variation Lady of the Lake or Birds in Flight
Variation Lady of the Lake or Birds in Flight
Variation Lady of the Lake or Birds in Flight
Variation Lady of the Lake or Birds in Flight
Variation Lady of the Lake or Birds in Flight
Variation Lady of the Lake or Birds in Flight

Last group of Gee's Bend Area quilts from a private collection

New selection of historic quilts from the Gee's Bend area! This is your opportunity to own one of the treasures from the amazing quiltmakers from Gee's Bend area. They have not been offered publicly until now.

This group of quilts was purchased by a private collector from the women of the Gee's Bend area through Bill Arnett more than fifteen years ago. This same collector has also assembled and donated a significant folkart collection to his local art museum, where he has been actively involved for many years. These quilts represent the work of most of the well-known quiltmakers and some of their families. Many of the quilts were made early in their careers. More...

Road to California
Ain't Deuce + a Quarter
Rolling Star
Two-Sided Quilt

Through the Flower Gifts the International Honor Quilt to the University of Louisville's Hite Art Institute

International Honor Quilt - Through The FlowerThrough the Flower is happy to announce it has gifted the International Honor Quilt to the University of Louisville and its Hite Art Institute. In its new home, the Honor Quilt will be used for educational purposes and be permanently available for active research and study, furthering Judy Chicago's and Through the Flower's goals of teaching through art.

Recognized quilt expert and Kentucky Quilt Project Inc. founder Shelly Zegart of Louisville was instrumental in arranging University of Louisville's acquisition of the collective artwork." I am honored to have been the catalyst to bring the International Honor Quilt to Kentucky, a state well known for its quilt making traditions and activities. The University of Louisville's Hite Art Institute was privy to a good splash of serendipity, many long-term relationships and most importantly the incredible generosity of Judy Chicago, Donald Woodman and Through the Flower," Zegart said.

 Find out more...

The Zegart Fund for the Alliance for American Quilts is established.

The Alliance for American Quilts recently published a press release about The Zegart Fund for The Alliance for American Quilts.

 Read the entire press release...

Catalogue now available

Catalogue Cover «Shelly Zegart: Passionate About Quilts» catalogue beautifully documents the retrospective exhibition of her more than thirty years work with quilts held at the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft in Louisville, Kentucky (Sep 4 Oct 26, 2008).    More...

 Order from Kentucky Museum of Art & Craft

New articles added to Publications Collection

Old Maid, New Woman' - Article Title Page"Old Maid, New Woman": In times of high interest in politics in general and womens' roles and choices in specific, it is more than time for Shelly Zegart's «Old Maid, New Woman» article to be publicly available for the first time since it was originally publsihed in Quilt Digest in 1986. Susan Elizabeth Daggett, for whom the quilt was made to celebrate her 30th birthday, chose to remain single in the 1870's, as did a surprising number of her friends. Their work with the Young ladies Aid society in Canandaigua, NY, and their enduring friendship through the years was a force for women's activism and choices.   Read article...

'Myth and Methodology' - Article Title Page "Myth and Methodology": Just released and available to download - Shelly Zegart's groundbreaking article unpicks African American Quilt Scholarship, published in January 08-Selvedge, an international textile magazine. This article is a benchmark in understanding the problems with myth and methodology in this highly charged arena beginning in the late 1970's.   Read article...



2008: Shelly Zegart: Passionate about Quilts - Challenging Assumptions, Creating Change, Making Connections

09/04/2008 - 10/26/2008
Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft, Brown-Forman Gallery (Louisville, Ky)

"Shelly Zegart: Passionate About Quilts - Challenging Assumptions, Creating Change, Making Connections" exhibit at the Kentucky Museum of Art and Crafts highlighted her more than 30 years of contributions to the world of quilts and beyond. It featured quilts from Zegart's collection that are important to her because of their relationships to family, particular artists, specific exhibitions, and significant local collections. A catalogue is available. The exhibit, part of the museum's Kentucky Collectors Series, was sponsored by Eleanor Bingham Miller.

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2008: Tokyo International Great Quilt Festival

01/18/2008 - 01/26/2008
Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo International Great Quilt Festival is an annual event sponsored by NHK (Japanese Public Television). In 2008, Shelly Zegart curated this exhibit and presented several examples of Log Cabin pattern quilts from the United States.

"Log Cabin designs are among the most popular and easily recognized if all quilt patterns, as well as the most diverse and creative. The Log Cabin block was designed as a way to make use of small scraps of fabric. The infinite variety of arrangements lends itself to unique personal expression and interpretation. <...> In America, the pattern is linked to the second presidential campaign of Abraham Lincoln in 1864. Log cabins has special significance for Lincoln - as the place of his birth in a log cabin in Kentucky..."

A video clip is available from the video footage of this exhibit in the Multimedia section of this Website..

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2007: Tokyo International Great Quilt Festival

01/19/2007 - 01/27/2007
Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo International Great Quilt Festival is an annual event sponsored by NHK (Japanese Public Television). In 2007, Shelly Zegart curated this exhibit and presented several examples of Antique Basket pattern quilts from the United States.

"Many children in America learned the 19th century nursey rhyme that opened with this line: 'A tisket a tasket a green and yellow basket.' In 1938 Ella Fitzgerald had hit song with these lyrics. In all cultures baskets have served men and women in every part of daily life. <...> Basket patterns, both pieced and applique, crept into American quilt design beginning in the early 19th century. What women saw around them every day served as their inspiration to create basket quilt blocks..."

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2006: Gee's Bend: The Architecture of the Quilt

10/08/2006 - 12/31/2006
Speed Art Museum - Louisville, KY

Quilts and the act of quiltmaking have played an important role in the homes and lives of Americans from our colonial beginnings to our contemporary culture. Occupying a singular position within the history of art, quilts are able to combine individual and communal histories, survival-based functionality, and complex compositions and formal elements in a single and complete work of art.

"Gee's Bend: The Architecture of the Quilt" displayed the extraordinary accomplishments of a distinctive community of artists and their unique creative voice preserved and handed down for generations.

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2005: Tokyo International Great Quilt Festival

01/27/2005 - 02/02/2005
Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo International Great Quilt Festival is an annual event sponsored by NHK (Japanese Public Television). In 2005, Shelly Zegart curated this exhibit and presented several examples of Antique Schoolhouse pattern quilts from the United States.

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2004: 3 Faces of Gee's Bend: Quilts from Gee's Bend, Alabama

12/06/2004 - 01/21/2005
New York, NY

In the winter of 2002-03, quilts from the tiny, African American town of Gee's Bend, Alabama, burst into worldwide visibility through an exhibition, "The Quilts of Gee's Bend," presented at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Gee's Bend unique history, its geographical isolation enforced by the looping Alabama River, its people's distinctive mores and common descent from the slaves that had tended the land - was revealted to be linked to a bold aesthetic that emphasized both individual flair and community traditions.

Sponsored by The Durst Organization at two lobby galleries in midtown Manhattan in 2004-2005, the exhibition "The Three Faces of Gee's Bend" presented three incarnations of the now widely recognized Gee's Bend style, as embodied in the works of a "traditionalist" (Lucy T. Pettway), an "eccentric" (Irene Williams), and an "outsider" (Mary McCarthy).

Shelly Zegart co-curated this exhibit with L.L.Powers.

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2004: Exploring Quilts: Art, History, and Craftsmanship

03/17/2004 - 09/12/2004
Art Institute of Chicago, Elizabeth F. Cheney and Agnes Allerton Textile Galleries (G. 54-56)

«Quilts are records of history, not only style but events, people and lifestyles.»

The Art Institute of Chicago acquired a group of 21 splendid 19th- and 20th-century American quilts from Kentucky collector Shelly Zegart in the spring of 2002. This acquisition -- 14 gifts and seven purchases -- fills a major place in the museum's renowned textiles collection, not only enhancing the present collection of 155 such pieces, but decisively moving the Art Institute in to the front ranks of American museums with similar holdings.

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2003: Mosaic Textiles: In Search of the Hexagon

05/16/2003 - 10/27/2003
Musee des Traditions et Arts Normands au Chateau de Martainville (France)

Two exciting patchwork exhibitions "In Search of Hexagon" occurred in venues in Normandy near Rouen, France (opening date: May 16, 2003).

The first, an exhibition of historical patchwork pieces with the hexagon motif included examples from various countries of the Western world (France, United Kingdom, United States, Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland, Australia, Norway). These "Mosaiques d'etoffes" ('fabric mosaics' in English), to quote the historical term used to designate them in the past, in French-speaking countries date from the early 1800s to the 1930s, and have never been gathered together by a museum in France or anywhere else in the world.

At the same time in the nearby regional museum, le Musee Industriel de La Corderie Vallois, there was an exhibition of contemporary hexagon quilts selected by France Patchwork (The French Quilt Guild).

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 More: .pdf

2001: A Heritage of Genius: American Master Quilts Past and Present

11/29/2001 - 01/31/2002
New York City, NY

"The quilting tradition in America has produced a heritage of brilliant artistic accomplishments that is unencumbered with the pretenses of 'Art'. The need to decorate and embellish, perhaps to evoke the visual richness of exalted states or simply to relieve the drabness of everyday life, is apparently basic and primal to our species," says L.L.Powers, curator and organizer of the "Heritage of Genius: American Master Quilts" exhibit.

Shelly Zegart along with Eleanor Bingham Miller shared their expertise in the field as well as parts of their own quilt collections to contribute to the success of the exhibit.

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1998: Kentucky Quilts: Roots & Wings

Morehead College, KY

The original exhibit "Kentucky Quilts: Roots and Wings" was hosted by the Kentucky Folk Art Center at Morehead College (Morehead, KY). It traveled for two more years, 1999-2000.

The original idea behind this exhibit suggests that visual and thematic relationship exists between contemporary works and their historical predecessors. The goal of this exhibit was to bring the extraordinary vision and aesthetic achievements of Kentucky quiltmaking to the attention of the public and to celebrate the medium of quilting as a form of artistic expression.

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1991-92: Louisville Celebrates the American Quilt

11/1991 - 04/1992
Louisville, KY

In 1990 the current directors of The Kentucky Quilt Project, Shelly Zegart, Eleanor Bingham Miller, and Jonathan Hostein, began to discuss an appropriate way to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the historic exhibition, Abstract Design in America Quilts, which opened at the Whiteney Museum of America Art, New York, in 1971. The exhibition, curated by Jonathan Holstein and Gail van der Hoof, created a worldwide awareness of American quilts as designed objects. It was decided that it would most beneficial to plan a group of events which might illustrate and further the extraordinary developments in the field over the past two decades. A recreation of the Whitney exhibition was a logical starting point, as many quilt researchers and scholars, quiltmakers, collectors, and museum personnel now actively involved with quilts, never saw that original show. Also planned were five exhibitions, four conferences and additional associated events. The exhibitions were: Abstract design in American Quilts, at the Louisville Museum of History and Science; A Plan Aesthetic: Lancaster Amish Quilts, at the J.B.Speed Museum; Always There: The African-American Presence in American Quilts, at the Louisville Museum of History and Science; Quilts Now at Zephyr Gallery; Narrations: The Quilts of Yvonne Wells and Carolyn Mazloomi at the Louisville Visual Art Association; and Quilt Conceptions: Quilt Designs in Other Media at the Kentucky Art and Craft Gallery.

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1991-2007: The History of Quilt Index

The Quilt Index is a central resource that incorporates a wide variety of sources and information on quiltmakers, quilts and quiltmaking.

The Quilt Index represents years of research and development to bring together quilt information in a centralized online tool for education, research, and public access. The Quilt Index was conceived and developed by The Alliance for American Quilts and implemented in collaboration with Michigan State University's MATRIX: The Center for Humane Arts, Letters and Social Sciences Online and the Michigan State University Museum.

Quilt Index includes:

  • Images and information on privately held quilts compiled by state and regional quilt documentation projects in the United States and internationally;
  • Images and information on quilts in museums, libraries, and private collections;
  • Images and information on quilt-related ephemera;
  • Lesson plans, online exhibits, journals and essays;
  • Bibliographies of secondary materials relevant to quilt study
  • Aids developed to assist researchers with locating hard-to-find quilt-related primary and secondary materials in public collections.

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1980-present: The Kentucky Quilt Project

Louisville, KY

In her article "Affairs of State - Documenting the Past for the Future," Shelly Zegart describes how The Kentucky Quilt Project was conceived:

"The Kentucky Quilt Project, Inc., was formed in early 1981 and took two years to bring to fruition. To gather the quilts, we took The Project to the people by developing Quilt Days as an event. Twelve of them were held in Kentucky. No one had to travel more than fifty miles to participate in a Quilt Day. They were heavily advertised with the help of a network of local organizations. The volunteer effort was assisted by the newly formed Kentucky Heritage Quilt Society. Quilt Days became magical happenings as quilts that had been 'hiding' in closets, trunks, and cupboards were raised to a hanging position-many seen on the wall for the first time. Talks were given about preservation and donation of quilts to Kentucky museums. Excitement filled the air at each Quilt Day. People didn't want to go home until the very last quilt had been raised and discussed. The Kentucky Sun, the cover quilt of our book, turned up at the Somerset Quilt Day, as did some wonderful 19th-century examples of quilting and applique. Many women were perplexed and surprised to see us make such a fuss over the poorly quilted and roughly pieced wool everyday quilt. To this day, it remains my personal favorite from that Kentucky search."

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