BACK TO QUILTS
Tree of Life; Tree of Life (Susan)
CITE THIS QUILT
QUILT INDEX RECORD
On this quilt Gasperik quilted the outline of the appliquéd blue bird which appears on all of her Indiana Wreath (#011, #032, #043, #063) quilts. On the other two Tree of Life (#065, #031) quilts, quilted birds are all outline copies and variations of the quilts' appliqué birds.
It appears that this quilt was finished in a hurry and may not have had Gasperik's usual painstaking attention. Its batting falls ~2" short of the top edge of the quilt,. A binding ‘tail’ protrudes in the upper left corner in an uncharacteristically sloppy way. Heavy pencil markings are visible on the quilt’s top. Interestingly, the topmost quilted bird on this quilt, an outline of the more elaborate McCall applique bird, is missing its head! It is the undated Tree of Life. It would be most interesting to know when she made it because it probably coincides with a particularly difficult time in her life.
Where are the records for this quilt housed?
Mary Gasperik Legacy Project
Who documented this quilt?
Mary Gasperik Private Collection
CONTRIBUTING INSTITUTIONAL INVENTORY CONTROL NUMBERS: Enter the main control number for this item you are entering.
TYPE OF QUILT OBJECT: Choose the best description for the quilt being documented.
QUILT'S TITLE, IF IT HAS ONE: Many quilts have no title, but contemporary quilters often give a name to their quilts.
Tree of Life
OWNER'S NAME FOR QUILT'S PATTERN: Enter the name given to the quilt by the owner. This can be the name the family used to refer to the quilt as it passed through different generations, e.g. "Aunt Susie's quilt" or a pattern name that the owner used.
Tree of Life (Susan)
OVERALL WIDTH: Enter how wide the quilt is.
OVERALL LENGTH: Enter how long the quilt is.
SHAPE OF EDGE: Choose the best description for the edges of the quilt.
SHAPE OF CORNERS: Choose the best description for the corners of the quilt.
PREDOMINANT COLOR(S): Enter all colors that are found in the quilt.
Beige or Tan; Brown; Cream; Green; Orange; Yellow
OVERALL COLOR SCHEME: Choose the best color scheme description for the quilt being documented.
Multicolor; Dark colors
OVERALL CONDITION: Choose the best description for the quilt being documented.
DAMAGE TO QUILT: Use this field to describe specific damage to the quilt.
COMMENTS OR NOTES ON QUILT'S CONDITION OR REPAIR HISTORY: Some quilts have had extensive or unusual repair work done. Please use this field to describe anything that didn't fit in the previous fields.
Batting falls ~2" short of the top edge of the quilt. Binding ‘tail’ protrudes in the upper left corner in an uncharacteristically sloppy way. Heavy pencil markings visible on quilt top.
TIME PERIOD: Choose the time frame that best describes when the quilt was made. The date does not have to appear on the quilt to enter it in this field. This can be your best guess based on family stories or your own knowledge of quilts.
DATE FINISHED: Enter the date the quilt was finished.
FAMILY/OWNER'S DATE FOR QUILT: If there are family stories that indicate a date when the quilt was made, enter that date.
Late 1930s-early 1940s
OTHER EXTERNAL OR PROFESSIONAL DATE ESTIMATION: If the date was estimated by an antique dealer, quilt historian or appraiser, enter that date.
OTHER DATE ESTIMATION BY WHOM: Enter the name and/or title of the person who estimated the quilt's date for field 23d.
FURTHER INFORMATION CONCERNING DATE(S): If you know anything else about the date the quilt was made, please tell the story.
Although the McCall pattern on which this quilt is based was published in 1931, other Gasperik versions of this Tree of Life design were made as early as 1935 and as late as 1942.
LAYOUT FORMAT: Choose the best description for the layout (or set) of the quilt.
Medallion or framed center
SUBJECT OF QUILT, IF IT HAS ONE: Some quilts are made with a specific intent (e.g. Commemoration of September 11, the 100th anniversary of a town, or an AIDS panel). Enter the subject of the quilt.
Tree of Life
NUMBER OF BORDERS: Borders are the strips of fabric that are added after the blocks (and sashings) are put together. They appear on the outside edges of the quilt. Quilts often have multiple borders. Enter the number of borders on the quilt.
BORDER DESCRIPTION: Describe the style of the borders (i.e. pieced, appliqued, stenciled) and the width of each border, from the inside to the outside.
Wide border on four sides frames the center panel.
FABRIC FIBER TYPES USED IN QUILT TOP: Choose all the types of fiber that are used to make the quilt top.
FABRIC PATTERNS, STYLES, MOTIFS, OR PRINT CATEGORIES USED IN QUILT TOP: Choose all the types of prints that are used to make the quilt top.
CONSTRUCTION TECHNIQUES USED IN QUILT TOP: APPLIQUE TECHNIQUES: Choose the applique method used to construct the quilt.
CONSTRUCTION TECHNIQUES USED IN QUILT TOP: EMBELLISHMENT TECHNIQUES: Choose the embellishment technique used to make the quilt.
FABRIC FIBER TYPES USED IN QUILT BACK: Choose the fiber type used to make the quilt back.
COLOR OF BACKING: Enter all colors that are found in the quilt backing.
Beige or Tan
NUMBER OF PIECES: Enter the number of pieces of fabric used in the quilt back.
WIDTH OF PIECES: Enter, in inches, the width of the pieces of fabric on the back of the quilt.
3", 33", 32"
DESCRIPTION OF BACK: Choose the best description for the back of the quilt.
MATERIALS USED IN QUILT BINDING: Choose the fiber type used to make the quilt binding.
CONSTRUCTION TECHNIQUES USED IN BINDING: Choose the construction technique used to make the quilt binding.
Bias grain; Machine sewn
WIDTH OF QUILT BINDING: Choose the width (in inches) of the binding of the quilt. Measure from the front side only.
less than a half inch
MATERIAL USED FOR QUILT BATTING OR FILLING: Choose the fiber content that best describes the material used to fill the quilt.
QUILTING TECHNIQUES USED: Choose the technique that best describes the way the quilt layers are held together.
THREAD COLOR: Enter the color(s) of thread used to hold the quilt layers together.
NUMBER OF QUILTING STITCHES PER INCH (PLACE 1): Count only the stitches that are visible on the top and measure in one place on the quilt. Enter the measurement.
NUMBER OF QUILTING STITCHES PER INCH (PLACE 2): Count only the stitches that are visible on the top and measure in a different place on the quilt. Enter the measurement.
QUILTING DESIGNS USED: MOTIFS/OVERALL PATTERNS: Choose the overall quilt design found on the quilt top.
Clamshell; Grid diamond
QUILTING DESIGNS USED: DECORATIVE PATTERNS: Choose the decorative quilt design found on the quilt top.
Feathering; Floral; Other
QUILTING DESIGNS USED: BACKGROUND FILL PATTERNS: Choose the background quilt design found on the quilt top.
PLEASE DESCRIBE OTHER QUILTING DESIGNS USED: Describe any other quilting designs that appear on the quilt.
A quilted line of feathering frames inner edge of center panel. Cross-hatch filled feathered hearts, cross-hatch filled feathered leaves and three quilted birds are embedded in the diamond patterned background of the center panel.
ANY OTHER FEATURES OR NOTES ABOUT THE QUILT'S APPEARANCE, MATERIALS, OR CONSTRUCTION: Describe anything about the physical appearance of the quilt that wasn't already recorded in a previous field.
Gasperik used a yellow print fabric in the large blue bird of quilt #044. All other applique bird and flower fabrics are solid colors. Lots of print fabrics are used in the flower and bird appliques of Tree of Life #065. None appear in the flowers and birds appliqued on Tree of Life #031. All three quilts use the same array of prints to shape the mounded ground under the tree.
QUILT TOP MADE BY: Enter the name of the person(s) who made the quilt top.
QUILTED BY: Enter the name of the person(s) who quilted the top.
CITY: Enter the name of the city where the quilt was made.
COUNTY: Enter the name of the county where the quilt was made.
STATE: Enter the name of the state where the quilt was made.
COUNTRY: Enter the name of the country where the quilt was made.
HOW WAS QUILT ACQUIRED BY OWNER: Choose the best description for how the owner acquired the quilt.
DETAILS ON HOW THE QUILT WAS ACQUIRED:
Susan acquired this in a quilt trade with her sister Karen. Karen had been brought two different Tree of Life quilts by Elsie. Susan wanted to own one of the three Gasperik Tree of Life quilts. Because their mother helped design these quilts and loved them, the Tree of Life quilts are a sentimental favorite of the three girls.
QUILTMAKER'S REASONS FOR MAKING THE QUILT: If the quilt was made for a specific purpose, choose the reason from the list.
Art or personal expression
QUILT WAS ORIGINALLY DESIGNED TO BE USED AS: Choose how the quilt was originally used.
Bedding, special occasion
QUILT IS PRESENTLY USED AS: Choose how the quilt is being used by the present owner.
OTHER PRESENT USE(S) OF QUILT: If you chose Other, please explain the quilt's present use.
Mary's grandchildren regard her quilts as a unique collection to be preserved and appreciated.
SOURCE OF QUILT'S MATERIALS: Choose how the quilt maker acquired the fabric for this quilt.
OTHER SOURCE(S) OF QUILT'S MATERIALS: If you chose Other, please explain how the quilt maker acquired the fabric for this quilt.
Note: The dark green calico print (top row of the triple mound under the tree) may be the same fabric supplied with Calico Rose (see #049) kit--Paragon kit No. 01082.
QUILT TOP PATTERN SOURCE: Choose where the quilt maker found the pattern for this quilt.
Commercial/Published source: Pattern
COMMERCIAL SOURCE NAME(S): If you know the commercial name of the pattern used for this quilt, please enter it. This may include books, magazines, newsletters, pattern companies, computer software programs, and kits.
"McCall #1853 Crewelwork Pattern/Tree of Life" published in McCall Decorative Arts and Needlework 1931-1932.
EXHIBITIONS: List all known exhibits where this quilt has been displayed.
The Quilts of Mary Gasperik, Ravenswood Historic Site, Livermore, CA, March 14-15, 1992.
OTHER RELATED ITEMS: List other materials that exist about this quilt like oral histories, wills, diaries, or patterns.
Pattern envelope (including contents with yarn color chart) McCall Kaumagraph #1853 Crewel Tree of Life - Susan Salser private collection.
The family has Gasperik's own copy of the McCall Kaumagraph #1853 pattern (printed in black and white).
Complete Catalogue of McCall Designs, Dec. 1931 (private collection of Susan Salser)
Letter from Gasperik's niece Vilma McClure to Susan Salser, dated Jan. 9, 1994 refers to the Gasperik 'Tree of Life' quilts (she calls the design "the family tree quilt": "About your mother. She helped design many of the quilts. I particularly remember the family tree quilt. I saw it in the making. I think your mother designed that one. Elsie was most pleased that her mother had such a passion for making quilts. Indeed, Aunt Mary didn't do anything else - literally! Your mother went to Hazelcrest and cleaned her mother's house and did her wash on a regular basis." (private collection – Susan Salser)
AVAILABLE SOURCES FOR QUILTMAKER: List other source materials about this quiltmaker such as photos, oral histories, book or newspaper publications, fame for some other reason or event.
Merikay Waldvogel and Barbara Brackman. Patchwork Souvenirs of the 1933 Chicago World's Fair, (Nashville, TN: Rutledge Hill Press, 1993)102-103.
Merikay Waldvogel "One American Dream Comes True", Quilters Newsletter Magazine, March 2008, 46-49.
OWNERSHIP OF THIS QUILT IS:
NAME OF QUILT OWNER:
Susan Krueger Salser
QUILT OWNER'S COUNTRY:
AUTHOR/INTERVIEWEE'S RELATION TO THE QUILT:
Author/researcher; Quilt owner; Relative of quiltmaker
OTHER RELATIONSHIP TO SOURCE: If you chose Other, for the relationship to the source, describe the relationship here.
IF SOURCE PERSON IS QUILT OWNER: If the source is the owner, choose how they came to own the quilt.
OTHER INFORMATION ON SOURCE PERSON TO QUILT:
Grand-daughter Susan Salser began this research effort in 1991, after she and her two sisters divided up the quilts which belonged to their mother (Elsie Gasperik Krueger) who died in 1988. Her ongoing research has been fruitful and interesting.
QUILTMAKER'S MAIDEN NAME:
QUILTMAKER'S BIRTH DATE:
DEATH DATE OF THE QUILTMAKER, IF APPLICABLE:
QUILTMAKER'S ETHNIC BACKGROUND:
QUILTMAKER'S EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND:
QUILTMAKER'S COUNTRY OF BIRTH:
IN WHICH KIND OF ENVIRONMENT DID THE QUILTMAKER GROW UP?
CITY WHERE THE QUILTMAKER LIVES/LIVED:
COUNTY WHERE THE QUILTMAKER LIVES/LIVED:
STATE WHERE THE QUILTMAKER LIVES/LIVED:
COUNTRY WHERE THE QUILTMAKER LIVES/LIVED:
QUILTMAKER'S FATHER'S NAME:
FATHER'S ETHNIC BACKGROUND:
QUILTMAKER'S MOTHER'S NAME:
MOTHER'S ETHNIC BACKGROUND:
SPOUSE'S ETHNIC BACKGROUND:
Milk Dealer/Grocery Store Owner/Butcher
NUMBER OF CHILDREN:
NUMBER OF FEMALE CHILDREN:
1 (Elsie 1909-1988)
NUMBER OF MALE CHILDREN:
2 (Elmer and Stephen)
HOW DID THE QUILTMAKER LEARN TO QUILT?
From guild or club member; Self-Taught
WHEN DID THE QUILTMAKER LEARN TO QUILT?
WHY DOES/DID THE QUILTMAKER QUILT:
OTHER, WHY THE QUILTMAKER QUILTS:
To make her Tree of Life quilts (#044, #065, #031, #082 and #083) Gasperik transformed a McCall Kaumagraph #1853 crewel work pattern into an applique quilt pattern. This required considerable skill, judgment, and allowed the maker full choice of fabrics and colors. Like the Indiana Wreath quilts (#011, #032, #043, #063), the Tree of Life quilts constitute a series of quilt studies based on a very specific design. Mary Gasperik made quilts to exhibit in shows held by her Tuley Park quilt club in Chicago, the Detroit News quilt show in Detroit, many Illinois State Fairs, at least one Indiana State Fair. She entered quilts in at least 2 Chicago department store contests. She made at least one quilt and one quilt top specifically for the 1939 New York Worlds Fair quilt contest. She also made children's quilts specifically for grandchildren and great-grandchildren; and wedding and wedding anniversary quilts for her son Elmer and grand-daughter Karen. Primarily, she wanted to make quilts because it was her life passion and her greatest talent. The occasions and venues to show them presented themselves. It should be noted that prior to Mary's emigration to America in late 1904, at age 16, she was an apprenticed needleworker in her native Hungary. The intricate and colorful floral embroideries traditional to Hungary lend themselves especially well to applique, the quilt style Mary preferred.
NAME OF QUILTING GROUP: If the quilt maker belonged to a group, enter the name of the group.
LOCATION OF GROUP:
Chicago, IL; Detroit, MI
SPECIALIZED ACTIVITIES/EVENTS OF QUILTING GROUP: Enter activities the group participated in.
Group showings of quilts and quilting demonstrations (Tuley Park); national quilt contest (Detroit)
ESTIMATED NUMBER OF QUILTS MADE BY THIS QUILTER:
more than 50
DID THE QUILTMAKER SELL QUILTS?
DOES/DID QUILTMAKER TEACH QUILTING: Is the quilt maker also a quilt teacher?
ACCESS AND COPYRIGHT IS:
HOLDER OF COPYRIGHT:
Cite this Quilt
Gasperik, Mar. Tree of Life. 1935-1945. From Mary Gasperik Legacy Project, Mary Gasperik Private Collection. Published in The Quilt Index, https://quiltindex.org/view/?type=fullrec&kid=18-14-50. Accessed: 08/19/22
Gasperik 03: 1930s Quilt Pattern Sourc...
Gasperik 03: 1930s Quilt Pattern Sources
May; 12; 2005
Tree-Of-Life Wall Hanging for Crewel E...
Tree-Of-Life Wall Hanging for Crewel Embroidery
May; 12; 2005
Five Tree of Life quilts are based on the crewelwork design McCall Kaumagraph #1853.
The Quilts of Mary Gasperik
The Quilts of Mary Gasperik
In 1992, three of Mary Gasperik's granchildren, worked with other family members to present the quilts of their grandmother.
The Quilts of Mary Gasperik
The Quilts of Mary Gasperik
March; 14; 1992
An exhibit catalog for a display of quilts made by Mary Gasperik at Ravenswood Historic Site, Livermore, California. March 14-15, 1992.
Chicago; Illinois; United States
Mary Gasperik made more than 80 quilts while living in Chicago at the height of the quilt revival of the 1930s and 40s.18-47-2
Tree of Life
Tree of Life