Mary Schafer, American Quilt Maker

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Extensively illustrated, with over 100 drawings and 11 unique Mary Schafer patterns, Mary Schafer, American Quilt Maker is a must-have book for anyone passionate about American quilting.

While we take that passion for granted today, author Gwen Marston shows that it wasn't always so; indeed, one woman, Mary Schafer, was largely responsible for the restoration of interest in one of our greatest folk arts -- long before the American bicentennial turned quilting into what seemed like an overnight sensation.

Marston presents Schafer as an unassuming scholar: the anonymous quilter, remaining humble and somewhat retiring. Behind the modest fa├žade, however, Schafer displayed a remarkable devotion to research, historical accuracy, and community through her efforts to make quilting available to as many people as possible.

Nonquilters will find Mary Schafer, American Quilt Maker a welcome addition to their collection of the work of masters of American folk art, while quilting aficionados will appreciate it not only for the story it tells, but for the generous selection of patterns and illustrations it offers.

Gwen Marston is a nationally known quilt maker, teacher, and author. She is the author of over fifteen books on quilting, including Liberated String Quilts, 70 Classic Quilting Patterns, and Amish Quilting Patterns.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
With a meandering writing style, Marston, the leading specialist on Mary Vida Schafer (b. 1910) and author of 15 books on quilting, documents Schafer's 290 complex to colorfully simple works, all faultless in execution and most variations of older classic patterns. A late-blooming quilter, Schafer discovered a "life of new purpose" with a quilt kit in 1952. Subsequently, she focused on creating appliqu d and pieced quilts, collecting quilts, magazines, and ephemera, and launching round robins of excited quilter correspondence. Not precisely fitting the usual artist category, Schafer reproduces the salvaged quilts of the 19th century, makes variations of these, and partakes in "collaborations" (i.e., finishing quilts of other women). Schafer's originals are dramatic in color, although Marston does not analyze them from this standpoint. Featuring 18 line drawings, 15 black-and-white photos, and over 100 quality color plates, the book is called for because all other books on the artist have long been out of print. Recommended for all quilt makers and specialized libraries.-Mary Hamel-Schwulst, Univ. of Southern Mississippi Lib., Long Beach Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780472098552
  • Publisher: University of Michigan Press/Regional
  • Publication date: 4/5/2004
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 8.60 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Table of Contents

List of illustrations
Pt. 1 Laying the groundwork : an overview of the quilt revival in the twentieth century 1
Influences : early quilt magazines 6
Quilt study 11
Mary's correspondence 18
Pt. 2 Mary Schafer and her quilts 27
The Schafer and Harriman collaboration 29
Coming to America 39
Mary's early quilts 45
Pattern collecting 50
Mary makes quilt blocks 57
The challenge period 62
The bicentennial quilt revival 68
Mary's quilts for others 74
Recognition comes to Mary 81
Mary, 1990 to the present 89
Pt. 3 The Schafer quilts 95
Mary's technique 97
Artistic characteristics 109
Finding a home for the first collection 118
The second collection 127
Motivation 143
The quilts in the first collection 149
The quilts in the second collection 158
Ten Mary Schafer quilt patterns 165
Complete inventory of Mary Schafer quilts 183
Mary Schafer timeline 197
Mary Schafer resume 203
Notes 207
Bibliography 213
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