Tuesday, 13 September 2011

The American Museum at Bath

Unusually, Crafts for All ran from Thursday to Saturday and closed Saturday afternoon, so Debbie and I were in the unusual situation of having a Sunday off straight after a show! This meant we could fit in a trip to the American Museum at Bath, something we have wanted to do for a while. It is closed on Mondays, so previously a visit had been impossible. Of course, one of the main reasons we wanted to go there was to see some of the famous collection of antique American quilts, but the museum turned out to be a great source of other inspiration, especially some of the native American items.

I am always a sucker for a dressing up box, so here I am emigrating to America in the C17th, trying to stay upright on deck! The first photo shows me inspecting our supplies...

As these photos are me in pre-photography days, I've 'watercolourised' them. And this is how the West was conquered - by quilters obviously.

These paintings were curiously reminiscent of Ainu embroidery designs (Google Image search 'Ainu clothing' for more pics). Sorry the images are slightly blurred. No flash photography is allowed and I was suffering a bit from camera shake.

Treasures of native American basketry. The patterns in these were stunning.

Moccasins -

Silver and turqouise -

The museum includes a number of room settings from different periods of American history, beginning with a home c.1680. This was interesting for me as I once lived in a Welsh farmhouse built c.1690, and the original house interior would have been very similar to this.

Of course, I loved the miniature version of the house -

...even if it was a bit tricky to photograph on the macro setting.

The murky interior of a Colonial tavern (alas, it was dry) reminded me very much of The George in Speldhurst!

While the quilt display was well worth seeing, including a stunning large Baltimore Beauty quilt, the other quilts were displayed on vertically hung hinged panels, and covered with a (UV resistant?) plastic sheeting. This made photography very difficult. Anyway, if you want to see images of the quilt collection, I recommend their excellent book, 'Classic Quilts from the American Museum in Britain'.

The museum has many little snippets and facts to inspire. I didn't know that the Shaker communities wove these beautiful braids (presumably, too fancy for their own use?)

Pennsylvania 'Dutch' ('Deutch' i.e. 'German') painted furniture often reminds me of the 'roses and castles' painting seen on British canal ware. The painted dresser seems to imitate the colours of Biedermeier style.

The tiny floral bands on this chest carcass were interesting -

The restaurant was good (veggie mushroom quiche for lunch, even though were were a bit late at 2.30) and there are a couple of gift shops - although, as usual, they don't have postcards of the things you want! The bookshop did pretty well on quilting books though, including a few of mine.

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