The Annette Gero Collection, Photo by Tim Connolly, Shoot Studios
The Annette Gero Collection, Photo by Tim Connolly, Shoot Studios

A New Museum Exhibition Showcases Quilts Made by Men During War

The Annette Gero Collection, Photo by Tim Connolly, Shoot Studios
The Annette Gero Collection, Photo by Tim Connolly, Shoot Studios

During the 18th and 19th centuries, wounds weren’t the only things being stitched after battle. Some military men crafted quilts—and starting this fall, 29 of these wartime relics will go on display in New York as part of a new exhibit at the American Folk Art Museum.

“War and Pieced: The Annette Gero Collection of Quilts From Military Fabrics” opens on September 6, 2017, and runs through January 7, 2018. Organized in conjunction with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s International Quilt Study Center & Museum, it’s billed as the first exhibition in the U.S. to highlight quilts made by men during times of war.

“Men, who are not usually raised learning the sewing arts, show both design acumen and manual dexterity as they sewed pieces of military uniforms, blankets, and other bits of fabric into quilts of great beauty,” said Anne-Imelda Radice, the American Folk Art Museum’s executive director, in a press release. “These quilts offer an insight into military life and the need for creative expression even during times of war.”

Many of the quilts in “War and Pieced” are on loan from noted Australian quilt scholar Annette Gero, who co-curated the exhibit with Stacy C. Hollander, the museum’s chief curator. Others have been borrowed from private and public collections in the U.S.

According to Gero, "there are fewer than 100 of these quilts in the world, and no two are alike.” The ones that will go on display in September range from pictorial quilts made during the Austro-Turkish, Prussian, and Napoleonic wars to mosaic-like quilts stitched by the British soldiers, sailors, and regimental tailors who engaged in far-flung conflicts in South Africa and India.

Some quilts on display depict war themes, while others are decorated with scenes from folk tales, national symbols, or architectural monuments. Meanwhile, blankets with particularly elaborate designs may have been made for loved ones back home or upon a soldier’s return. Together, they reveal the seldom-told stories of men who used crafts to cope as they convalesced from injuries, were interned in prisoner-of-war camps, or struggled with boredom, loneliness, and a shifting geopolitical landscape.

You can view three such unique examples below, or visit the American Folk Art Museum in September to see the full display in person.


Holy Roman Empire Intarsia Quilt, Artist unidentified, Prussia or Austria, 1846–1851
© SUBJECT TO COPYRIGHT 7 Wool, with embroidery thread; intarsia; hand-appliquéd and hand-embroidered, 120 x 120" Collection International Quilt Study Center & Museum, University of Nebraska-Lincoln (2011.068.0001)

"War and Pieced," a new exhibition organized by the American Folk Art Museum in New York, showcases quilts made by men during times of war.
Soldier’s Hexagon Quilt, Artist unidentified, Crimea or United Kingdom, Late 19th century, Wool from military uniforms, 85 inches by 64 inches
The Annette Gero Collection, Photo by Tim Connolly, Shoot Studios

"War and Pieced," a new exhibition organized by the American Folk Art Museum in New York, showcases quilts made by men during times of war.
Anglo-Zulu War Army Quilt, Artist unidentified, South Africa or United Kingdom, Late 19th century, Wool from military uniforms, with embroidery thread; hand-embroidered, with pointed and pinked edges, 86 5/8 inches by 74 7/8 inches
The Annette Gero Collection, Photo by Tim Connolly, Shoot Studios
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A Rare Copy of Audubon's Birds of America Could Break Records at Auction
Christie's
Christie's

American artist and naturalist John James Audubon published The Birds of America in the first half of the 19th century, and his massive “double-elephant” folio of life-size bird illustrations remains one of the most ambitious nature books ever produced. On June 14, a rare edition of the four-book set is hitting the auction block, and it's expected to fetch up to $12 million—more than any Audubon book ever sold.

This edition of The Birds of America was owned by the dukes of Portland from around 1839 to 2012. Because it was stored on the shelves of the family's Nottinghamshire, England estate for nearly a century, the set's prints of watercolor drawings have remained remarkably well-preserved.

In 2012, the copy was auctioned off to philanthropist and businessman Carl W. Knobloch, Jr. for nearly $8 million. Knobloch donated the books to the Knobloch Family Foundation (KFF) before his death in 2016. Now, the KFF is sending the books to auction once again. This time, all proceeds of the sale will go to nature conservation.

Set of red leather-bound books.

New York City auction house Christie's describes the set in a listing as "among the finest copies in private hands of this icon of American art, and the finest color-plate book ever produced." Each of the 435 double-elephant folio pages measures 39.5 inches by 26.5 inches, the largest sheets Audubon could get his hands on at the time, and they feature 1037 birds from 500 species. The books are bound in red Moroccan leather with gold detailing on the borders and spines. The four-volume set also comes with the Ornithological Biography, a collection of five books describing the specimens in The Birds of America and their habits.

Christie's estimates the set will sell for $8 million to $12 million when the final bid is placed later this month. To date, the most expensive copy of The Birds of America was a first edition acquired from Sotheby's in London for $11.5 million. That sale also broke the record for the most expensive printed book ever sold at auction, a record held until 2013.

Illustration of American birds.

Illustration of American bird.

Illustration of American birds.

Illustration of American birds.

Illustration of American birds.

All images courtesy of Christie's

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Courtesy of Emi Nakajima
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Artist Makes Incredibly Detailed Drawings of Famous Buildings Around the World
Courtesy of Emi Nakajima
Courtesy of Emi Nakajima

They say patience is a virtue, but for some artists it’s a necessity. Emi Nakajima’s detailed ink drawings of famous architectural sites, which recently appeared on My Modern Met, typically take about a week to complete. However, her most ambitious undertaking yet—a rendering of Thailand’s Wat Rong Khun (White Temple)—was a five-month endeavor.

Emi Nakajima holding up her drawing in front of the White Temple
Courtesy of Emi Nakajima

The Japanese-Thai artist told Mental Floss that the White Temple was particularly difficult to draw. She typically uses A3-sized paper (11.7 by 16.5 inches) for her projects, but she decided to draw the ornate temple on a much larger scale. The paper covered her entire desk—and getting each arch and spiral just right was no small feat. She took her time on the details, chipping away at the drawing after returning home from her day job as an administrative officer in Thailand.

Emi Nakajima drawing
Courtesy of Emi Nakajima

Details of the drawing
Courtesy of Emi Nakajima

Details of the drawing
Courtesy of Emi Nakajima

The completed temple drawing
Courtesy of Emi Nakajima

She’s amassed nearly 39,000 followers on Instagram, where she documents the progression of her projects from start to completion. Although her prints aren’t available for purchase online, she does sell her drawings locally.

European architecture features prominently in her work, with past projects including drawings of London’s Big Ben, Barcelona’s Sagrada Família basilica, and France’s Gothic churches. She occasionally branches out from architecture, creating 3D images of food and drawings of superheroes, movie characters, and animals.

Keep scrolling down to see more of Nakajima's architectural drawings, and check out her Instagram page (@emi_nkjm) here.

A drawing of Big Ben
Courtesy of Emi Nakajima

Drawing of a cathedral
Courtesy of Emi Nakajima

A pagoda drawing
Courtesy of Emi Nakajima

Details of a drawing
Courtesy of Emi Nakajima

A cathedral drawing
Courtesy of Emi Nakajima

[h/t My Modern Met]

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