Exhibit examines French needlework

Dec 17th, 2010 | By | Category: Arts & Entertainment, November 18

The International Quilt Study Center and Museum is offering the first U.S. exhibition exclusively devoted to the French needlework tradition, “broderie de Marseille,” through May 22.

“Marseille: White Corded Quilting” demonstrates the qualities that make French whole cloth quilted and corded needlework unique, review the origins and development of the tradition, and describe its influence on quilted needlework traditions over three centuries on five continents.

Gov. Dave Heinemann has proclaimed the week of Nov. 13-20 as “Marseille Exhibition Premier Week.” Guest curator Kathryn Berenson will visit from her Paris home and will be joined by the French consul general of the Chicago Consulate, Graham Paul, for a formal event recognizing the cultural significance of the exhibition. Berenson will give a talk and guide public tours Nov. 20. The lecture, “Sweet Dreams Were Made of This,” is scheduled for 10 a.m., with the guided tours at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Berenson is the author of “Quilts of Provence” and the new “Marseille: The Cradle of White Corded Quilting,” distributed by the University of Nebraska Press. Berenson has studied and collected extensively in France. The Marseille exhibition will include pieces from the Berenson and Dillow Collections, now part of the holdings of the International Quilt Study Center.

Broderie de Marseille is a form of low relief textile sculpture, which uses plain white cloth and white cotton cording to yield exquisite patterns and texture. The technique was widely copied and interpreted in Europe and America and enjoys great popularity today. Skillful execution of broderie de Marseille resulted in delicate, refined work that graced the homes and figures of aristocrats and launched a worldwide passion for all-white corded needlework. Contemporary versions, today often referred to commercially as matelasse, are machine made, however today’s quilters have taken up the technique and produce unique creations.

For more information, including a list of programming related to the exhibition, go to www.quiltstudy.org or call 472-6549.

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