ILLINOIS STATE MUSEUM
Quilts by Bertha Stenge
Hand-pieced and appliquéd cotton on a silk background, trapunto quilting
Collection of Prudence Fuchsmann
Although Bertha Stenge usually worked for six months to a year on each of her quilts, this one required two years of work. The center appliqué vignettes feature lively and colorful images of America's favorite historic, religious, and secular holidays. Completed after World War II, the quilt also has a strong patriotic tone. The inner borders contain musical notations for phrases from "Jingle Bells," "Yankee Doodle Dandy," "Star Spangled Banner," and "Home Sweet Home" in Stenge's trapunto style. The outer border has smaller designs depicting lesser holidays. This quilt won first place ribbons at state fairs in Kentucky, Illinois and Tennessee. At the 1949 Central States Quilt Exhibition in Aurora, Illinois, it won a "Special Award." Stenge's pictorial quilts were often difficult to place in established contest categories as she often combined techniques and used original rather than traditional patterns. Consequently, she often won the "Special Awards." To this day quilt contest organizers have difficulty categorizing art quilts.
Click here to see a detail of the American Holidays quilt.
RIGHTS TO ALL IMAGES BELONG TO THE ILLINOIS STATE MUSEUM
Contact Janice Tauer Wass for permission to reproduce any materials on this page.
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© Illinois State Museum -- 30-December-98