Style Court

Textiles, Art History, Gardens, and a Little Mental Traveling with Courtney Barnes 2006-2016

9.20.2006

Psychedelic 60's or Victorian?


At first glance, the pattern on this pillow looked to me like a fun, wild psychedelic print from the late 1960's. But actually the pillow, designed by Rebecca Vizard, is made from a 19th-century crazy quilt fragment.

Crazy quilts are, as the name implies, quilts patched together in a random style. Resourceful women who needed to save every scrap of fabric were the first to make quilts this way. Later though, during the mid-19th-century, this haphazard patchwork technique became very chic.

Victorian women used irregular pieces of silk, satin and velvet, combined with elaborate embroidery, to create ornamental throws. At the same time, Japanese art, which celebrates asymmetry and imperfection, was in vogue in America. So, many art historians see an Asian influence in the Victorian crazy quilts.

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