Our First Quilt Show–October 7-8, 1978
By Joan Sextro
Can you imagine founding a guild in June and staging a major show in October? EBHQ did just that in 1978. Presented by EBHQ and sponsored by Fir Branch of Children’s Hospital Medical Center, the show was held at the Scottish Rite in Oakland. This splendid historic building served as a backdrop for “Quilts: An American History.” The show consisted of one room filled with 85 antique quilts and a second room filled with 32 quilts made by students in Roberta Horton’s theme quilt classes from Berkeley, Albany, Acalanes and Piedmont Adult Schools.
The first room contained American quilts chronologically displayed from 1776-1900, including pre Civil War, Amish, Mennonite and Quaker religious quilts. One quilt loaned from American Hurrah in New York City entitled “Baskets” contained 4 squares that had been featured on a stamp issued in March 1978 by the U.S. Postal Service! The historic quilts were donated by Julie Silber of Mary Strickler’s Quilt, Nine Patch, Pilgrim Roy Antiques, Glendora Hutson, and Jean Ray Laury.
The second room contained quilts from Roberta Horton’s intermediate classes. There were 32 group quilts shown, arranged in chronological order from 1973-1978. Themes included: doilies, hex signs, folk art, Americana, suns, Japanese family crests, to name a few. One of Roberta’s favorites was pre-Columbian motifs.
In addition to the exhibits, there was a boutique, which sold copies of the reprinted 1934 book “Quilting.” This book served as a resource to the membership because there weren’t many books about the subject at the time. Spearheaded by Ruth Hayashi, its sale helped to finance the show.
Glendora Hutson was one of the guiding lights of the event. A specialist in traditional and historical quilts, Glendora was quoted from the program as saying,” We have rediscovered the spiritual rewards this craft offers. Quiltmaking is not a frivolous pastime, but a serious, disciplined and honorable craft. Quiltmaking can be an expression of individual creativity and cooperation–a personal statement of beauty, love and work. I feel it is important for us to keep the achievements of the quilting tradition in mind. We can deepen our appreciation for the quilts our ancestors made, and we may also expect to renew a sense of responsibility in our efforts to perpetuate this craft.”
Contributors to this article include Roberta Horton, Janet Shore, and Ruth Hayashi