Moments in Time
Faith Ringgold
Mary Pemble Barton
Ann Oliver
Helen Kelley
Terrie Hancock Mangat
Jonathan Shannon
Quilts as Canvas
Bonus Segment
Spport Your Local Station
America in Cloth
Ann Oliver

Quote:  I was trying to make the people see that there's design everwhere."Painted Metal Ceiling"
© 1988, Anne Oliver. 80" x 80"

A salesman's book of ceiling panel designs was the inspiration of a series of quilts made by Anne Oliver.

"It's a replica of the early 20th century ceilings, the tin ceilings that we used to see in 5 and 10s, and it was a cheap way to cover bad plaster, very cheap tin and very ornately designed and I had the fortunate experience of buying a salesman's book with the pictures of the plates from the turn of the century and I decided I'd try to put it into a quilt.

Quilt:  Painted Metal Ceiling
"Painted Metal Ceiling" captures a once-popular American architectural motif.

"And men take as many pictures of Painted Metal Ceiling, if not more, than women do. Because they remember it as architecture more than they remember it as a quilt.

"I came from a large family and we did nothing but struggle to survive. We now realize that there had to be talent in the family somewhere that mother or father had, but when you're eeking out a living and surviving, you don't ask, well where did you get your talent because you're too busy picking beans or picking tomatoes.

"I became a seamstress in high school. I never saw a quilt or cared to see a quilt. I moved to California and saw a show in a home savings and I looked at the front and it looked all right, it wasn't spectacular, but the back had all sorts of knots, very poorly done and I told myself I could do better. Very arrogantly.

Anne Oliver"And I went home and found I couldn't so I learned a very humble lesson, but I finished a quilt, self-taught. This was in the mid-70s, and it just went from there.

"I finished a quilt and was ready to do a second and on and so and I've never counted how many I've done. Just one follows another, one at a time. And I create my own designs. I just feel that quilting is part of my life and I try to depict it to the viewer. Like the "Painted Metal Ceiling", when I sold leg make-up during the war at Woolworth's 5 & 10, I looked up at the ceiling, I saw all the designs, so somewhere the designs, wanting to do designing, definitely came into the picture.

"And I lost out on going to design school in 1946 because of the GIs, but it stayed so it was translated into Painted Metal Ceiling and I never forgot the designing, seeing those, the elaborate designs in something that was so cheap.

Anne Oliver"I feel it's part of Americana. It is to me it has gone beyond the quilt and it's a part of our history. And I didn't expect that to be but by the time I finished the quilt, showed it to people coming from Europe, they didn't know what a tin ceiling is. It's American.

"And I realized that I have saved probably a period that might not have been saved if it hadn't been put in a quilt because no one really did very much with the painted metal ceilings as a work of art and when my husband said, that's how it looks, I realized that I accomplished something that I honestly thought might be too difficult to do. And that's probably the most important, the fact that it's history, it's part of America."

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