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America in Cloth
The Emporia, Kansas Phenomenon
Quote:  Collaboration and competition:  the community of the Emporia, Kansas phenomenonRose Kretsinger
"Orchid Wreath"

1928-1930. 93" x 93"
Collection of the Spencer Museum of Art

"Paradise Garden"
1946. 93" x 94"
Collection of the Spencer Museum of Art

Rose KretsingerRose Kretsinger was at the heart of what has been called "the Emporia, Kansas phenomenon", a small group of women in Emporia, Kansas who produced some of the 20th century’s finest quilts.

Rose was born in Hope, Kansas and grew up to study design at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, graduating in 1908. She studied in Europe for a year, then returned to Chicago and designed jewelry. After marrying, she moved to Emporia with her husband. In 1926, she made her first quilt, initially finding the handwork a consoling form of therapy after her mother’s death.

Quilt historian Barbara Brackman notes:

Rose was one of the few people who was able to take the things she’d learned from jewelry design, a lot of art nouveau design, a lot of the naturalistic, very organic looking flowers, very realistic flowers, and apply that to quiltmaking. One thing that was important about her was that she was a good teacher. If she had just worked by herself, and no one ever really learned from her, she wouldn’t have influenced anybody. But she was always willing to draw up a pattern for somebody. She was always willing to give them advice on color and she was very willing to help.

Other Emporia quilters represented in the Twentieth Century's Best American Quilts show include:

Charlotte Jane Whitehall
Charlotte Jane Whitehill "Indiana Wreath"

1930. 90" x 90"
Collection of the Denver Art Museum

 

 

Hannah Haynes HeadleeHannah Haynes Headlee
"Iris Garland"

1935-1940. 77" x 87"
Collection of the Kansas State Historical Society

 

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