Holiday Workshops and Exhibition Announcement: December eNews 2011

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American Folk Art Museum

Exciting new initiatives are afoot at the American Folk Art Museum! We round out the year with another month full of programs and events:

Take a break from holiday shopping and get creative! We’re making holiday Yetis at our Make It Thursday series, and learning the easy way to perfect hand-appliqué in our upcoming workshop this Friday. On December 15, stop by for a glass of wine and pick up a copy of’s new Sewing Handbook. Authors Nora Abousteit and Project Runway designer Allison Kelly will be at the museum to answer questions.

For those of you who can’t get enough holiday shopping, we’ve extended shop hours. The museum shop will be open on Mondays through December 19 from 11 am to 6 pm.

Our new exhibiton Jubilation/Rumination: Life, Real and Imagined opens January 17. In preparation the museum will be closed December 19–January 16 and the shop will be closed December 31–January 9. Read more about the upcoming exhibiton here>.

Pass the Hat! We recently launched a fund-raising campaign and need your help. Donate today to help us reimagine, revitalize, and reinvent, then pass the hat by forwarding this link to friends who support the museum’s mission.

Mark your calendars!

January 17: Museum members are invited to join us for the opening reception of Jubilation/Rumination: Life, Real and Imagined at 5:30 pm.

January 19–22 : The inaugural Metro Show opens at the Metropolitan Pavilion. A special event for American Folk Art Museum members will be held Saturday, January 21, 6–8 pm.

Super Stars: Quilts from the American Folk Art Museum (through December 18, 2011)

Quiltmakers have always sought inspiration from the world around them, introducing the outdoors into the domestic interior through bedcovers that may reflect the colors of the landscape, the imagery of flowers in a garden, or animal and insect life. These associations are explored in the exhibition “Super Stars,” which highlights the dazzling diversity of this variable pattern in more than one hundred years of quilt artistry. More>

9/11 National Tribute Quilt (on continuous view)

The 9/11 National Tribute Quilt represents the response of the Steel Quilters of United States Steel Corporation to the events of September 11, 2001. This small quilt club conceived the monumental undertaking, ultimately receiving quilt blocks from all fifty states as well as Canada, Spain, Denmark, and Australia. The quilt measures eight feet high by 30 feet wide, and is constructed of 3,466 blocks in six panels. The four central panels form a montage of the twin towers of the World Trade Center against the New York City skyline. These are flanked by panels dedicated to the lives extinguished on the four flights and at the Pentagon. Each three-inch-square block bears the name of one person who perished in the disaster. More>

Collection Highlight & Folk Art Fun

In the spirit of the Pass the Hat campaign, we bring you this MAN IN TOP HAT WITH CANE from the museum’s collection.

Trade figures were not limited to life-size carvings designed to stand outside the doorways of shops; there were also smaller figures designed for indoor use as counter displays. It is not known what original purpose this figure served, although the careful depiction of high buttoned boots, narrow pant legs, and other details of costume have led to speculation that the figure was used in a men’s haberdashery shop. The exaggerated posture, with overly rounded stomach, suggests it was meant as a caricature, much as “Girl of the Period” shop figures satirized women’s fashions.

Martin Thompson’s UNTITLED #13 (BLUE QUILT) will soon be on view as part of Jubilation/Rumination: Life, Real and Imagined. Thompson is a self-taught artist whose markings relate to a mathematical equation. Each formula is based on multiples of ten, thus allowing him to explore the visual patterns of mathematical rhythms and sequences. After developing a hard-edged pattern on a line of squares on graph paper scaled in millimeters, he creates a mirror image using its opposite sequence on a second sheet of graph paper. He works in decimals, fractions, and other modes of equation. He memorizes each of these formulas or sequences and then meticulously repeats them in the opposite manner.

Thompson has a specific system for fixing mistakes involving what household item? (Hint: it comes in handy during the gift-wrapping season.)

To win a copy of Painted Saws/Jacob Kass, e-mail your answer to Elizabeth Kingman at, with “Folk Art Fun” in the subject line.

Calendar of Events

Wednesday, 12/7
2 pm
Guitar Afternoon
With jazz guitarist Bill Wurtzel and guests

Thursday, 12/8
6 pm
Make It Thursday
Holiday Yetis with Diana Schoenbrun

Friday, 12/9
11 am

Workshop: Hand-Appliqué
With Diane Rode Schneck

5:30 pm
Free Music Fridays
Featuring Andy Clayburn, Chris Michael, Justin King

Wednesday, 12/14
2 pm
Guitar Afternoon
With jazz guitarist Bill Wurtzel and guests

Thursday, 12/15
6 pm
Make It Thursday
An Evening with

Friday, 12/16
5:30 pm
Free Music Fridays
Featuring Joe Brent, Debbie Miller, Lily Neill

RICHARD INKSONS DOUBLE POCKETBOOK (detail) / artist unidentified / possibly Pennsylvania / 1776 / wool on linen with silk lining and wool twill tape binding / 10 1/2 x 8 1/4 in. (open) / American Folk Art Museum, promised gift of Ralph Esmerian, P1.2001.289 / photo ©2000 John Bigelow Taylor

FATHER AND DAUGHTER OF ELIZABETHTOWN, PENNSYLVANIA (detail) / Jacob Maentel (1778–?) / Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania / c. 1815–1820 / watercolor, gouache, ink, and pencil on paper / 10 3/4 x 8 1/2 in. (sight) / American Folk Art Museum, promised gift of Ralph Esmerian, P1.2001.10b / photo ©2000 John Bigelow Taylor

AURORA (detail) / artist unidentified / New England / c. 1818–1822 / watercolor on silk with applied gold foil and paper label, in original gilded wood frame / 21 3/8 x 24 5/8 in. / American Folk Art Museum, gift of Ralph Esmerian, 2005.8.46 / photo ©2000 John Bigelow Taylor

STAR OF BETHLEHEM WITH SATELLITE STARS QUILT (detail) / artist unidentified / possibly Pennsylvania / 1930–1950 / cotton and blends / 81 1/4 x 81 in. / American Folk Art Museum, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Frederick M. Danziger, 1985.4.1 / photo by Helga Studios

NATIONAL TRIBUTE QUILT (detail) / organized and assembled by the Steel Quilters / Pittsburgh / 2002 / cotton and mixed media / 8 x 30 ft. / American Folk Art Museum, gift of the Steel Quilters: Kathy S. Crawford, Amber M. Dalley, Jian X. Li, and Dorothy L. Simback, with the help of countless others in tribute to the victims of the September 11, 2001, attack on America, 2002.14.1

MAN IN TOP HAT WITH CANE / artist unidentified / northeastern United States / c. 1890 / paint on wood with paint- and smoke-decorated wood base / 23 1/2 x 7 1/2 x 7 1/2 in. / American Folk Art Museum purchase through the Joseph Martinson Memorial Fund, Frances and Paul Martinson, 1981.12.5 / photo by John Parnell

UNTITLED #13 (BLUE QUILT) / Martin Thompson (b. 1956) / Wellington, New Zealand / c. 2002–2005 / ink on graph paper / 12 3/4 x 25 3/4 in. diptych / American Folk Art Museum, gift of the artist and Stuart Shepherd, 2005.22.2 / photo by Gavin Ashworth

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