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The Deborah Harding Redwork Collection

Nursery Rhyme
Maker Unknown
Provenance unknown
ca. 1910
75 1/2” x 78”
MSUM #2001:160.7
Deborah Harding Redwork Collection
Photo by Fumio Ichikawa, all rights reserved Michigan State University Museum

Deborah Harding began her exploration of redwork as a means to satisfy her curiosity about a redwork quilt she purchased at a flea market. Deborah's subsequent collection of textiles and research materials on redwork culminated in the publication of the seminal work on the topic.

The Deborah Harding Collection acquired by Michigan State University Museum/Great Lakes Quilt Center in 2001, consists of twelve redwork quilts, ephemera related to redwork, Harding's research files, and other embroidered pieces, including splashers, chairbacks, laundry bags, and a child's doily. All of the quilts in the collection are featured in Harding's book.

The embroidered blocks of this "Nursery Rhyme" quilt includes depictions of nursery rhymes, the Hudson River excursion boat "Henrick Hudson," a trolley car, ethnic caricatures, girls in sunbonnets, fruit, flowers, the Sphinx, and a house. Several of the designs are repeated as many as three times. The quilt appears to have been stitched by several different hands. Harding theorizies that many of the blocks were made by children.

By Mary Worrall, excerpted from American Quilts from Michigan State University Museum.


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