Recent Gifts
Rising Star Variation Quilt
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  • Elsey A. Halstead (1830–1850)
  • Minisink (now Middletown), New York
  • Dated March 23, 1848
  • Cotton
  • 100 x 85 in.
  • American Folk Art Museum, gift of Kathryn Trotta Kane and family in memory of our beloved grandmother Margaret Halstead Minch. May an appreciation of the love, beauty, and hard work that went into this quilt continue to inspire future generations. We sincerely hope that others will experience the same joy the quilt has given our family over many years., 2012.16.1

    This extraordinary Rising Star Variation quilt, recently gifted to the museum by a descendant of the quiltmaker, was discovered during the museum’s New York Quilt Project, an ambitious statewide quilt documentation effort initiated in 1985. Over a period of twenty-one months more than six thousand quilts were examined and recorded in forty-five documentation days held in counties around the state. Stars, in all their variety, were among the most prevalent patterns seen. This is one of around twenty superlative examples that were highlighted in the museum’s exhibition “New York Beauties: Quilts from the Empire State” (1994). The field of spinning compass stars alternates with Lemoyne Stars, and is surrounded by a border of appliquéd trees. Such border motifs have a strong association with New York State textiles, particularly the blue-and-white fancy jacquard-woven coverlets from the 1820s and 1830s that feature borders of weeping willows and other trees. The quiltmaker, Elsey Halstead, meticulously cross-stitched her name, the location, and the date on the front of the quilt.
  • Photo by Gavin Ashworth