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Antique, vintage quilt collecting to be next topic at Muncy Historical Society

By Staff | May 11, 2016

MUNCY – Interest in collecting antique and vintage quilts has grown over the past few years and often new collectors have questions. What should one look for? What would make a good investment? How does one start a collection?

Karen Powers, of State College, will address these questions and more on May 21 when Muncy Historical Society hosts two presentations on the significance of textiles in human history, and its current value. Powers will speak at 10 a.m. on “Quilt Collecting, Quilt Care and Quilt Appraisals,” discussing the importance of quilt care, and the why and how of quilt appraisals-quilts valued for replacement, for insurance, or for market.

Karen Trifonoff will present at 1 p.m. on “Needlework and Geography: A World of Beauty and Creativity.” Her interactive talk explores the connections between needlework, geography and mapping, through an examination of map samplers and map quilts.

Both presentations will be held in the Fellowship Hall, First United Methodist Church, 602 S. Market Street, Muncy. There is an admission fee for both presentations, which includes lunch. Pre-register by calling 570-546-5917, or email MuncyHistorical@aol.com.

Both presenters will share insights that will appeal to an audience with diverse backgrounds, quilters and non-quilters alike.

Powers, who is a quilter and a certified appraiser, is a quilt historian and practicing quilt restoration artist. In addition to co-curating the Packwood House Museum “Pennsylvania Quilts II: Patterns and Variations” exhibit in Lewisburg, Powers participated in the behind-the-scenes house tour highlighting quilts at the Winterthur Museum in conjunction with the museum’s exhibit, “Quilts in a Material World”; provided assistance at two Virginia state quilt documentation days; and co-sponsored an exhibit, “HEXED”, at the Virginia Quilt Museum. She maintains an extensive reference library on quilt making, quilt history, and textile production, and she holds memberships in The Professional Association of Appraisers – Quilted Textiles, the National Quilting Association, the American Quilt Study Group, and Studio Art Quilts Associates.

Trifonoff’s afternoon presentation, “Needlework and Geography,” examines quilts as artifacts that allow us to explore geography. There are many types of quilts, such as Amish and Hawaiian, which exhibit geographic uniqueness. And many historic and modern quilts use maps as the central design element. Judith A. Tyner’s recent book, “Stitching the World: Embroidered Maps and Women’s Geographical Education,” is a rich volume that provides an excellent framework to explore this relationship. This book examines the map samplers and globes made by young girls from 1700-1800s in the United Kingdom and the United States. We will use various artifacts from the collection of the Muncy Historical Society to serve as illustrations.

If attendees have any examples of map quilts, they are encouraged to bring them, and to share their stories. Questions are encouraged.

Trifonoff began her academic career at the University of Akron, in her hometown of Akron, Ohio. She studied cultural geography and material culture with Dr. Allen Noble, and her first academic paper was on the regional variation in Amish quilts (1980s). She continued her education at the University of Kansas specializing in cartography (map-making) and, after obtaining her Ph.D., came to Bloomsburg University where she taught cartography for 20 years. She has been quilting since 1980, and while in Pennsylvania was fortunate to belong to “The Vintage Gatherers,” whose members still inspire her work. She has retired back to her home state of Ohio, and lives in Columbus.

More information is available by calling the Muncy Historical Society at (570) 546-5917.