The International Quilt Study Center and Museum will unveil a new exhibition and feature a guest lecturer during a First Friday celebration on Aug. 4.
Bill Volckening, a nationally known author and collector, will give a free lecture at 5:30 p.m. A self-described “quilt magnet” with a particular fondness for 1970s polyester quilts, pieces from his private collection are now showing at the museum in “Off the Grid: The Bill Volckening Collection.”
“Bill is an amazing collector and scholar,” said Leslie Levy, executive director of the museum. “He is also a good friend to the museum and we enjoy his energy and sense of humor. His lectures are always fun and informative.”
Born in New Jersey, Volckening has lived in Oregon since 1998. He purchased his first quilt in 1989. This soon evolved from collecting for home décor to collecting to preserve and celebrate the craft.
The exhibition, “Block by Block: American Quilts in the Industrial Age,” examines the development of the block pattern, considered the quintessential American quilt form. While early examples of block-style quilts feature European elements — such as a center medallion — during the 1820s and 1830s American makers moved toward the allover block patterns. By the mid-century, this style was in full force.
“We are excited for people to discover this new research done by a young scholar, who delved deeply into the subject matter,” said Carolyn Ducey, curator of collections. “The exhibit includes some of our most prized early 19th-century quilts.”
The exhibit builds on guest curator Janice Frisch’s investigation of this development, which will be featured in the forthcoming book, “American Quilts in the Industrial Age, 1760-1870.” Edited by Ducey and Patricia Cox Crews, the comprehensive catalog of the museum’s collection will be published by the University of Nebraska Press in February 2018.
“It has been an outstanding experience to work with renown scholars to produce the second catalog of the museum’s collections, which are some of the most significant in the world,” Ducey said. “The information in this book is well-researched, well-written and provides new and exciting information about our American quilt history. The quilts, themselves, are incredibly stunning.”
“Block by Block” opens in the museum’s Peg Coryell Gallery and will run through Nov. 30.
First Friday events at the museum are 4-7 p.m. and offer free admission to the galleries and related programming.