BENNINGTON, Vt. – From Sept. 4 through Oct. 14, 2010, the quilt that inspires quilters all over the world will be on its yearly display at the Bennington Museum. Brought to the museum 60 years ago, the Jane Stickle quilt is only shown for a short time each year due to the fragility of the fabric. Quilters from around the country and world plan trips to the region during that time to see the 1863 quilt. The Jane Stickle Quilt is comprised of 169 five-inch blocks, each in different patterns, containing a remarkable total of 5,602 pieces surrounded by a unique scalloped border. The craftsmanship of the quilt has been mentioned in numerous quilting books, and is the topic of Dear Jane, The Two Hundred Twenty-Five Patterns from the 1863 Jane A. Stickle Quilt, by Brenda Papadakis.
“The significance of quilts, with their vibrant colors and precise geometric patterns, goes beyond the comforting, everyday use they received by their original owners. Today, within the context of museums, these early textiles can be re-envisioned as works of art on par with any abstract painting of the twentieth century. The Stickle quilt, with its dizzying array of printed cloth patterns and individual block designs, surely embodies this idea of quilt as art,” said Jamie Franklin, curator of the Bennington Museum.
Jane Stickle was born Jane Blakely on April 8, 1817 in Shaftsbury, Vermont. Married to Walter Stickle sometime before 1850, they did not have a family of their own. They did, however, take responsibility for at least three other children. In an 1860s census, Jane Stickle was listed as a 43-year-old farmer living alone. She eventually reunited with her husband, but during that time alone she lovingly created what is now known as the Jane Stickle Quilt. As a reminder of the turbulent times the country was going through, she carefully embroidered “In War Time 1863” into the quilt.
The Jane Stickle Quilt can be viewed with regular museum admission. The Bennington Museum is located at 75 Main Street (Route 9), Bennington in The Shires of Vermont and is just a short ride from Manchester, Williamstown, and eastern New York. The museum is open every day in September and October from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visit the museum online at www.benningtonmuseum.org or call 802-447-1571 for more information.
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