Resources :: Articles
The Quilt Projects: Fifteen Years Later
Folk Art: Magazine of the Museum of American Folk Art, Spring 1996
The quilt survey movement in the United States, a phenomenon largely of the last fifteen years, was not conceived as a national effort with standardized goals and methods. Instead, the idea began in Kentucky in 1981 and quickly spread across the country. As we celebrate the fifteen-year anniversary of the state and regional projects, I welcome the opportunity to share my perspectives on this period of quilt project development: where they are now, what they did well, what they might have done better, and what direction they are going in.
Messages and Memories: Antique Quilts from the Shelly Zegart Collection
American Quilter, Summer 1998, Vol. XIV, No.2
When asked that favorite question, "If you could invite anyone from history to your home for dinner, who would you invite?" most of us would list famous actors, musicians, writers, politicians, or athletes. Quilt collector and historian Shelly Zegart would invite the makers of quilts in her collection.
Appraising Your Quilts, Part I
Originally published in the IQA Journal, International Quilt Association, Houston, Texas, Summer 1997
Whether you are a traditional quilter, an art quilter, or either an antique or contemporary quilt collector, you must know for what purpose you need the appraisal. Are you entering your quilt in a show or contest? Are you an art quilter selling a piece to a corporation? Are you a quilt collector donating a single quilt or a collection of quilts to a museum and want to take a tax deduction? Do you want to give family treasures to your children? What should you do? Whom should you contact to do your appraisal and why? How can you be an informed consumer in the appraisal process? This article will attempt to answer these questions.
Appraising Your Quilts, Part II
Originally published in the IQA Journal, International Quilt Association, Houston, Texas, Fall 1997
In the second part of her article, Shelly Zegart continues discussing quilt appraisal process. She talks about the importance of connoisseurship, as well as brings up a number of questions an aspiring apraiser should ask herself before undertaking this role. Shelly shares valuable insights based on her expertise in quilt appraisals.
Quilts as Women's Art
Originally published in Once upon a Quilt, 2003 (Margret Aldrich, Editor)
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Quilts were once considered everyday, utilitarian objects made to ward off frostbite on winter nights. When and how did these handmade objects become celebrated works of art? Shelly Zegart of Louisville, Kentucky, explores the long journey that transported quilts from bedrooms and cedar chests to the walls of prestigious museums.
Kentucky Quilts: Roots and Wings
An original exhibition and catalogue from Kentucky Folk Art Center, Morehead, Kentucky, 1998
As a small state, mostly rural and quite isolated, Kentucky's quiltmaking has been preserved and passed on through community traditions. It would seem that the likelihood of any great degree of outside recognition or experimentation would be slim. Yet Kentucky is known for its quilts throughout the world. Indeed, the first quilt documentation project in the world was The Kentucky Quilt Project, Inc. The diversity of the examples within this 1998 exhibit speaks to the accomplishments of all Kentuckians who are part of the state's quilting tradition. Their many different artistic voices might hide how they embraced those traditions. At first glance, the old and new bear little resemblance to one another. A closer look reveals their shared roots.
Affairs of State: Documenting the Past for Future
Originally published in Quilter's Newletter Magazine, November 2004
The quilt survey movement in the United States, a phenomenon of the last 24 years, began in Kentucky in 1981 and quickly spread across the country. As a founder of the first project, I have been amazed by the projects' evolution, their ability to embrace many points of view and their continuing allure. Most of these surveys were designed and run by quilt enthusiasts rather than trained scholars. Never conceived as a national effort with standardized goals and methods, the movement continues to be vital. I welcome this opportunity, coinciding with Quilter's Newsletter Magazine's thirty-fifth birthday, to share my unique perspective on the quilt documentation projects.
Antique Quilts in the Twenty First Century - Collections and Exhibitions: An Insider's View
Selvege, Issue 4 Jan/Feb 2005
By all accounts, the quilt revival that began in the late 1960's is still going strong. It has recently been reported that more than twenty million people are currently involved in the business and creation of quilts. Quilt Festivals are happenings all over the world and people are taking quiltmaking classes at a furious pace. What does all of this activity mean for collecting and exhibiting antique quilts? Shelly Zegart reviews the contemporary scene of quilt collections and exhibitions from her position of an internationally-recognized expert on quilts and quilt scholarship.
Buying Old Quilts: A Guide for Quilt Collectors
Chubb Collectors, Jan 2004
As antique quilt prices have climbed, interest in collecting quilts has grown proportionately. The number of collectors grows each year, and often many of the new collectors have questions. What to look for in an old quilt? What makes a good investment? How do you start a quilt collection? As a quilt collector, Shelly Zegart discusses a number of guidelines for aspiring quilt collectors.
Old Maid, New Woman
First published in The Quilt Digest 4. San Francisco: The Quilt Digest Press, 1986. Reproduced with Permission. Copyright Shelly Zegart
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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.
Myth and Methodology
First published in Selvedge, an international textile magazine. London, England: Issue 21, Jan/Feb 2008. Reproduced with Permission. Copyright Shelly Zegart
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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.