Americana dealer Laura Fisher tries to find imaginative, infrequently seen variations of star designs for clients as a consistent goal in her NYC gallery FISHER HERITAGE.
Star patterns are among the earliest pieced efforts found in American quilt designs, appearing from the later 18th century forward. These earliest star patterns (usually in museums now) were pieced with diamonds to create the arms and body of the star from various fine imported fabric prints. The patterns of the earliest were mostly eight point (eight arm) stars set in repeat blocks. From the mid 19th century forward exploded an amazing variety of star patterns created by U.S. quilters, while in Europe star patterns remained fairly conventional. The star acquired many names--Lone Star, Evening Star, Variable Star, LeMoyne Star, Eastern Star, etc etc etc.
Other star configurations might feature six arms, sometimes even seven, ten or twelve, typically set as a repeat block sometimes within an octagonal or hexagonal surround as a square or else tilted as a diamond set on point. By the second quarter of the 19th century the monumental central star captured the quilter's imagination, Early stars - the Star of Bethlehem for example - were fashioned first from superb imported chintz fabrics placed precisely as small diamonds for the pieced arms and body; later on, chintz was supplanted by cottons of endless print variety or solids to form the star as textile production vastly increased in the U.S. Any star was challenging to piece because some sides of the diamond pieces are cut on the bias, and a mistake in measuring multiplied over the size of the quilt top ends up in a cattywampus composition that often went unfinished.
There are many dozens of historic American star patterns having been designed, published, and shared across the U.S. Now with the advent of computer programs to design patterns, rather than needing a pencil and grid to figure out something like a 19th c. Mathematical Star, today's quilter has seemingly endless possibilities to create unusual graphic stars.
Among the dozens of distinctive star designs Fisher has available right now are:
1 LEMOYNE STARS pieced of 2 different early fabrics set on point within a zigzag sashing, c. 1850s
2 BOWMANSVILLE MENNONITE PIECED STAR
an unusual version in wool of a pattern favored by a S.E. PA community
3 COMPASS STARS PIECED QUILT
dated 1873 from Lancaster Co, PA in cotton with precise star points
4 EVENING STARS PIECED QUILT
brilliantly colored solid cottons from a Pa or Ohio Mennonite community
5 PRAIRIE STARS PIECED QUILT
on the cheddar color ground for which the Pa Lancaster community is known
6 unusual COMPLEX STAR OF MANY POINTS in diamonds set on point
cotton c. 1880s
7 SIX POINT HEXAGON STARS PIECED QUILT
hundreds of later 19th century earth tone cotton prints cut into one inch hexagons
8 SAWTOOTH FEATHERED STARS PIECED QUILT
25 blocks with 'touching' arm points and a triangular border all around this outsized early 19th c quilt
9 CHIPS AND WHETSTONES PIECED QUILT
dated 1835 and signed with circular motifs of sharply executed points
For an appointment to see any of these in person at Fisher's Chelsea location, or to have choices shipped to you, contact Fisher either by phone at 917/797-1260 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com