Monday, January 18, 2010

Your help: Who Manufactured this Harriet Powers fabric?

I swear - quilt history is such an adventure!

Unexpectedly, I received in the mail this upholstery fabric swatch featuring reproduced images of Harriet Powers' Bible Quilt now at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. A dear New Jersey reader of This I Accomplish sent it to me. She wrote in her letter:
"I began making quilts 48 years ago... and I became aware of Harriet Powers' work when I was a teenager. Her quilts have always held a special interest for me.... I am writing to send you copied images of some upholstery fabric that I bought many years ago in Manhattan. I do not know who made the fabric, but it is very sturdy woven tapestry ... I think that I bought the fabric about 20 years ago. It is 54" wide ..."
WOW! She also sent me an 11" x 14" color photocopy of the fabric. She mentioned that she didn't see the fabric listed in This I Accomplish. Well, I never knew it existed! Can you help? Do you know any information about this Powers fabric? Do Tell!


Anonymous said...
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John Hopper said...

What an extraordianry find. It would be interesting to see whether this was a mass produced piece or part of a small run for a specific customer or project. It would also be interesting to see how much of the quilt was reproduced on the fabric and if their was any order or priority.

Not much help from this end I'm afraid, but I will follow this with story with keen interest!

Mary Emma Allen said...

Such an interesting find, Kyra. It's fascinating how more and more information about Harriet Powers comes to light.

Kyra said...

John, Mary Emma

Thanks for your comments. Yes, it is amazing about this fabric. I'm still on the trail - one retired museum curator has suggested contacting two high-end fabric manufacturers who were (and continue) in business twenty years ago. One has said they didn't do this piece ... awaiting word from the other.

Best, Kyra

Bquiltin said...

My, my, my.... what great things come your way. Wishing you all the best.. u deserve it sister-friend!