Wednesday, December 19, 2012

To our friends in Newtown

Our deepest sympathies to the people of Newtown, Connecticut.  
To our old friend, Scudder Smith, Publisher/Editor of the Newtown Bee, his family, his staff and their families, and all their friends and neighbors in the beautiful community of Newtown.  

The indescribable shock and pain of an unspeakable crime have, as Scudder and his son, David, said, knocked the breath from us and broken our hearts.  That is true of everyone we know outside of Newtown, as well.

Most of all, to the families of the 20  children and the 6 school personnel whose lives were tragically taken in this incomprehensible act, our thoughts are with you, and there are no words to express our sorrow.

Blanche Greenstein
Thomas K. Woodard

Antique Quilts: Celebrating the Holidays

Historically, some of the finest quilts were made to be brought out for special occasions and important events only, like birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas and New Year's. These were the quilts that were carefully handled and preserved, not the utilitarian quilts that were made for everyday use. Holidays offered a time to display the makers' best; those sometimes spectacular displays of exceptional needlework created at home.  

19th- and early 20th-Century mothers and grandmothers were not distracted by things like TV, or jet trips around the world, so they found the time, even while managing a household, to give their undivided attention to quilting. The results were, at times staggering - beautiful, colorful spreads richly filled with fine quilting stitchery. In a way, each quilt in itself was a celebration of the seamstresses’ hard work, determination, and imaginative use of materials at hand, all peculiarly American. Each quilt is a handmade textile greeting card offering warmth and comfort, a personal expression of hope for peace and good will from the quilters of our past.    

Twenty pieced "Sunbursts" explode on a white ground, surrounded with star-like floral motifs and a radiant diamond border. The curious curvilinear motifs appliqued in all four corners add an unusual, art nouveau-like finishing touch. Quilters in 19th-Century America possessed remarkably creative approaches to making bed covers of extraordinary workmanship. 

Here is an exceptional example of a finely appliqued and quilted traditional bed cover of the 19th-Century. Made by a highly skilled quilter, this spread is extraordinarily stitched with elaborate detail. The scalloped inner borders and edges display the work of only the most advanced quilt maker. The "Swag and Tassel" border is on three of the four sides of the quilt, following a nineteenth century tradition which leaves one side for the head of the bed.

Exceptionally large, this finely stitched and quilted spread in a traditional, surprisingly flamboyant pattern, has a mate with slight differences. Pairs or complementing quilts were sometimes made for the dowries of the maker's daughters. It would be difficult to calculate not only the number of stitches but also the amount of love and devotion that went into the making of these outstanding spreads.

The maker set her sights high on this ambitious project - the creation of two magnificent quilts of equal beauty and craftsmanship, perhaps for two daughters to begin their marriages, a popular tradition among 19th-Century American quilters. Slight variations, such as the inner and outer borders, differentiate the two pieces, but both equally retain their rare beauty, thus insuring that neither daughter could ever feel slighted.

Textile folk art flourished in 19th-Century America. It was a time when quilters applied their energies and creativity towards producing bed covers that were not only astonishingly beautiful but uniquely American. Using whatever materials were available and working at home, quilters managed to create pieces that transcended the lowly bedspread and were sometimes worthy of hanging as wall art, although that is a 20th-Century idea. Here, pieced "Lilies" alternate with appliqued "Trees" in a graphic design, delineated by triangle "Sawtooth" outlines, with an outer border of "Vines of Blossoms and Leaves". Quilters never seemed to run out of steam, paying careful attention to every detail all the way to the carefully stitched edges.

 Antique quilt:  "Baskets". American.  Late 19th-Century.  

Although there are many variations of the "Baskets" motif, few are as effectively presented as this example with a rigidly exact arrangement of the motifs.  The "Baskets" are skillfully pieced of solid red with green calicoes, with solid red squares punctuating each quilt block.  The precision of little tin soldiers comes to mind, all lined up on the diagonal across the white ground.  Angular basket handles add a sharp edge to the overall design, and the crisp texture of straight line quilting on a muslin ground provides an effective contrast.

Quilts, America's favorite folk art, are especially welcome to enjoy during the holidays. In some ways, even just viewing their images may offer respite from the tough realities that accompany this 2012 holiday season.  

We at Woodard & Greenstein send you our best wishes for the holidays! 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Looking Back

Every so often a journalist will flatter my partner, Blanche Greenstein, and myself by interviewing us as "influential" or "notable" in expanding people's interest in quilts over the last few decades.  Suddenly feeling like dinosaurs, we are reduced to stumped silence by questions like "What did you do to influence the quilt world, and why?"  The last thing that ever would have occurred to two young, passionate quilt aficionados such as us in the early 1970's was to embark on doing something important and/or significant.  

Our prime focus was to get out there and find the best quilts possible, those amazing and peculiarly American marvels that quilters in the 19th- and early 20th-Century quilters created.  Competition was lively, and getting to flea markets like Shupp's Grove in Pennsylvania before dawn was imperative. Working hurriedly with a flashlight through fresh loads of goodies being brought in by country dealers, was exhausting and, sometimes, exhilarating.  "The lure of the chase" as it has been called was foremost in our minds.  

The delight at occasionally discovering genuine masterpieces is hard to describe.  Those real treasures of the quilting world were on this planet before we arrived, and hopefully will be here long after our departure.  We simply followed our passion, and, with a little luck and a lot of help from friends and clients, we are still at it.  To read more about our partnership, please see our web portrait on Quilt Alliance: http://www.allianceforamericanquilts.org/treasures/main.php?id=5-16-C

Friday, October 5, 2012

Vote for Your Candidate! Historic Bandanas for Campaigns for U.S. President

The presidential election season is entering its final days, and the trappings of campaigning are ubiquitous. It's during this quadrennial event that we look back at what Presidential campaigning was before mass media transformed elections into what they are today, replete with television and radio advertising, talk show appearances, and daily news. Long before bumper stickers, there was the colorful, graphic campaign bandana.

Cleveland and Thurman Political Bandana 1888
Grover Cleveland/Allen Thurman Political Bandana 1888
(click for additional info)

Martha Washington probably was not aware that when she commissioned a souvenir bandana depicting an heroic Commander-in-Chief as a surprise gift for her husband, she launched a kind of “bandana bandwagon” that never seems to run out of steam, even to the present day. That particular bandana, thought to be America’s first, is safely secure in the collection of the New York Historical Society, NYC. Important history was recorded in that unique textile, created by a defiant printer, John Hewson, despite the British ban on textile printing. Cannons, flags, and a salute to Washington as founder and protector of liberty and “independency” encircle a strong leader on horseback in this small cloth square, marking the beginning of America’s love affair with the lowly bandana.

Harrison and Morton Political Bandana 1888
Benjamin Harrison/Levi Morton Political Bandana 1888
(click for additional info)

Pre - television politics in America readily embraced the idea of using bandanas as a means of spreading the word to everyone, including the working classes, whose votes were needed to win elections. Portraits of the candidates surrounded by spectacular patriotic displays of flags, eagles, stars, and inspiring legends, such as PROTECTION & PROSPERITY and TARRIFF REFORM were printed on cotton, and some times silk, as textile advertisements.

Wendell Willke Political Bandana 1940
Wendell Willke Political Bandana 1940
(click for additional info)
The rage for political bandanas swept the country as an inspiration for songs about the “red bandana”, fashion statements featuring bandanas worn in men’s pockets, the formation of a Bandana Club, and enthusiastic displays of support for political party candidates by fired up delegates, cheering and waving their cloth banners in convention halls.

Campaign Bandana Harrison/Morton 1888
Benjamin Harrison/Levi Morton Campaign Bandana 1888
(click for additional info)
Much of the flavor and fervor of America’s political history has been captured and preserved in these colorful printed cloth squares, documenting important issues of the day, such as fair wages for workers, and even the words and music for a song entitled “We Want Teddy”.
Theodore Roosevelt 1912 Campaign Bandana
Progressive/Roosevelt/1912/Battle Flag
(click for additional info)

The Smithsonian Institute, as well as other museums and private collectors, have recognized the significance of these textiles for providing an exuberant pictorial history of American politics. A number of outstanding examples from their collections are illustrated in Threads of History,(Collins, Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington DC,1979) and The American Bandana,(Weiss, Chronicle Books, San Francisco, 1990), and Long May She Wave (Hinrichs & Hirasuna, Ten Speed Press, Berkeley, 2001).

Monday, August 27, 2012

Labor Day is on it's way

Labor Day weekend is just about here! The perfect time to get out of the city and into the country to enjoy the fresh air, friends and family. In anticipation of the break we pulled together a few paintings and pieces all about travel and relaxation. As always, more information about our antiques is available on 1st Dibs. We hope you enjoy, and have a wonderful Labor Day!

Wooden Quebec Duck Decoy
Quebec Decoy early 20th century. Distinctive carving on tail feathers and wings, with blue and white painted details on wings, green painted beak.
Late 19th century Sailing Ship Diorama
Sailing Ship Diorama late 19th-Century.
Carved and painted three-dimensional image of sailing ship in wood frame behind glass.
Royal Scot Locomotive
Royal Scot Locomotive circa 1923-25.
Magnificent train, said to be the 6100-First Engine, early LMS (London-Midland-Scotland).
Pair of Bookends: Golfers
Pair of Golfer Bookends early 20th century. Detailed figures, each standing on a book.  
Hooked Rug: Mallard Ducks Take Flight
Grenfell Mat: Mallard Ducks Take Flight, circa 1930. Handmade by well-known cottage industry. Pictured in Silk Stocking Mats, Laverty, Paula, Page 84. Exceptionally vivid colors.
Gone Fishing early 20th century. A watercolor image of two men fishing. Inscribed "Too Bad", probably referring to the one that got away.
Rustic Landscape oil painting
Rustic Landscape dated 1923. Oil on canvas. A finely detailed autumn scene. Signed and dated "R.M. Kelly. 10-23-26". All original in original frame, no restoration.
New Hampshire White Mountains oil painting
New Hampshire White Mountains circa 1920. Oil painting of Mount Chocorua and Lake Chocorua, New Hampshire. Signed C.A. Knight. View of the White Mountains, a picturesque area in New England, still visited by travelers year round.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Celebrating the Fourth

Over the years Woodard and Greenstein has acquired many rare pieces of Americana, including an extensive collection of 19th and 20th century campaign bandannas, and what more fitting time to showcase these unique and charming finds than on the Fourth of July? Here's a sampling of our favorite pieces paying homage to the red white and blue. As always, these and other American antiques can be found and purchased on 1stdibs.com. Have a happy Fourth!

Applique and Pieced Quilt top: GOD BLESS AMERICA
Applique and Pieced Quilt top: GOD BLESS AMERICA c.1914-1920. A patriotic handmade quilt top mounted on stretchers with 48-star American flag, and a soldier at the pole base.
1888 Campaign bandanna: Harrison/Morton
Campaign Bandanna: Harrison/Morton 1888. Inscribed "Protect Home Industry" with portraits of the candidates.
Political Bandanna Harrison/Morton 1888
Political Bandanna: Harrison/Morton 1888. Inscribed "Protection vs. Free Trade / "Pension for Soliders / Aid for Free Schools". 
1940 Political Bandanna: Wendell Wilkie
Political Bandanna: Wendell Wilkie 1940. Wendell Wilkie campaigned against  Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1940 presidential election.
Pair of 1888 Harrison/Morton campaign bandannas
Pair of Campaign Bandannas 1888. A pair of Harrison/Morton bandannas, included in "Threads of History" published by the Smithsonian Institute. 
Antique 19th century pieced quilt
Antique Quilt: Feathered Star Variation: Late 19th century finely pieced graphic variation of traditional design in red, white, and blue.
Early 20th century miniature Adirondack chairs
Pair of miniature Adirondack chairs and single Adirondack chair c. early 20th century. A charming pair of red and white painted wood miniature chairs, and a single red painted wood  miniature chair.
Trade Sign: National Union Fire Insurance Company 1900
Trade Sign: National Union Fire Insurance Company c. 1900. Red white and blue patriotic shield with capitol building inspiring trust and confidence.
Early 20th century paper covered barrel cover
Paper covered barrel cover c. early 20th century. Patriotic colors and motifs decorate this exuberant advertisement for an American flour company.
Woodard Weave Georgetown 254
Woodard Weave design Georgetown 254 brings our love of Americana to our Woodard Weave Woven Rug collection with bold red, white and blue. 

Monday, May 7, 2012

Annual Warehouse Sale extended to May 11th!

The sale has been a real success this past week, and so we're excited to say that we'll be extending it to this Friday May 11th! For more information on the sale, hours, and placing an order over the phone see our post here.
Below are some pictures from the sale--enjoy!

Mother's Day

In anticipation of Mother's Day this Sunday, we thought we'd share some pieces from our jewelry collection. Over the years we've collected many colorful and beautifully carved Bakelite bracelets, as well as vintage William Spratling and Antonio Pineda silver. You can shop our entire collection of antiques on 1st Dibs. We hope you enjoy, and have a wonderful Mother's Day!

Red green and mustard Bakelite bracelets
Set of 3 Bakelite bangle bracelets in red, green, and mustard. Circa 1930s 

Carved mustard Bakelite bracelet c.1930s
Mustard colored hinged Bakelite bracelet carved with flower and leaf motifs. Circa 1930s.
Red and mustard graphic Bakelite bracelet c.1930s
Red and mustard side-hinged graphic Bakelite bracelet. Circa 1930s.
Antonio Pineda silver bracelet c.1950s
Beautiful architectural piece with spheres framed by opposing C's, by famous Mexican modernist Antonio Pineda. Circa 1950s.
William Spratling wood and silver cuff bracelet c.1931-1946
William Spratling large cuff bracelet of rosewood and silver. Circa 1931-1946.
William Spratling silver Petate bracelet c.1940s
Iconic William Spratling vintage silver Petate bracelet. Circa 1940s.
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Monday, April 16, 2012

Gearing Up for the Annual Warehouse Sale

Spring is here, with the Woodard Weave Warehouse Sale soon to follow! Each year we open our warehouse to the public for a sale of Woodard Weave woven rugs, with 40% to 75% discounts on area rugs, runners, floor samples, discontinued designs, remnants, and odd sizes. 
It's a once-a-year opportunity - be sure to mark your calendar! 

The sale starts Monday April 30th to Wednesday May 9th. 

37-24 24th Street, Suite 307, 
Long Island City, NY 11101
If you're not close to Long Island City, don't fret! 
You can order by phone - sale prices honored for all sale rugs.
Sale Hours: Monday through Friday, 10:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Closed Saturday and Sunday

(t) 212-988-2906 (f) 212-734-9665 

Monday, April 2, 2012

A Visit to India

Welcome to the new Woodard & Greenstein blog! For our inaugural post we'd like to share about our recent trip to India. We had a wonderful time - yes, Incredible! - visiting the factory where Woodard Weave and Woodard & Greenstein Hooked Rugs are created, as well as attending the traditional wedding of the daughter of our long-time partner in Mumbai.

Gerorgetown #254, a Woodard Weave cotton rug, on the loom.
Reading #19-B, a Woodard Weave cotton rug, on the loom.
It was a real pleasure to see the skilled craftsmanship that goes into each and every one of our rugs, all handmade in every aspect, from the dyeing of the yarn to the weaving of our own designs on traditional hand looms.

Some of the yarn used to weave our hooked rugs.
Thomaston HR #103, a Woodard & Greenstein Hooked Rug, in the making.

The Mumbai wedding, with a packed schedule of accompanying celebrations, was full of excitement and, of course, India's signature colors.

The warmth and energy of India's people made our experience unforgettable.
We look forward to our next visit!

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