Quilt patterned after Tree of Life Wins Grand Prize at Detroit News Show

May 25, 1940
Detroit News Quilt History Project; Michigan State University Museum; Susan Salser
Detroit, Michigan, United States
An article describing the 1940 Detroit News Quilt Show.
Quilt patterned after Tree of Life Wins Grand Prize at Detroit News Show
An interesting group gathered around the grand prize winning quilt at The Detroit News Quilt Show in the Naval Armory as Helen Genrty (left) and Jean Cook displayed it. The quilt, copied from the Tree of Life Pattern that hangs in the Metropolitan Museum is the work of Mrs. Charles Voelker, 12022 Hartwell avenue. At right, Mrs. W. R. Goodson of Monroe, explains to Judy Farewell, a show visitor, the interesting figure in her quilt which is the winner of the appliqued class.

Quilt Beautiful as a Painting Wins Its Skilled Maker $50
By Garnet Warfel

Mrs. Charles Voelker, 12022 Hartwell Avenue, who can sew a fine seam or stitch a magnificent quilt, whichever the case may be, copied a Tree of Life wall hanging at the Metropolitan Museum in New York, and fashioned it into a quilt so handsome that it was the unanimous choice for the grand prize of $50 at the Detroit News Quit Show, now in progress at the Naval Armory, 7600 Jefferson Avenue east.

Bits of color blend so perfectly in the grand prize winning quilt that it resembles a painting when first viewed from the entrance, and on closer inspection it reveals the beautiful needlework of skilled fingers.

First prize winner in the appliqued quilt class was Mrs. W. R. Goodson, 501 East Elin street, Monroe. The quilt is the result of woman's inborn desire for personal creative expression, since Mrs. Goodson used figures well known in the nursery rhymes, but gave them her own interpretation and clothed them in raiment not only original but enchanting to great degree. Mrs. Mary Gasperik, of 9314 Cottage Grove avenue, Chicago, a prize winner of last year, won second prize, and Mrs. Arthur Miller, 12251 St. Mary's avenue, won third prize with her lovely patchwork ladies quilt.

Star Design Wins
First prize winner in the pieced quilt class was Mrs. Helen Kohn, 1960 Reyburn court, Cleveland, with her feathered star designed entry, done in shades of violet and white. Second prize winner was the quilt of Ann Hathaway's cottage, submitted by Ellen E. Austin, 120 South Fifth avenue, Maywood, Ill.; and third prize winner was Mrs. Louise H Thiebout, 549 Leonard Street, Grand Rapids, Mich.

IIn the children's quilt division, first prize went to Mrs. F. W. Bickel, 18701 Sorrento avenue, and second prize to Mrs. Bernadine Kruck, 17404 Vaughn avenue, for the beautiful baby quilt she made for her own daughter, born last year. The quilt is circled with nursery scenes and in the center is a beautiful clock marking the time at 3:30 a. m. when her daughter was born. Third prize went to Mrs. Clyde Waldo Truxell, 783 Westchester Way, Birmingham. This depicted circus scenes.

In the appliqued tops, first prize went to Mrs. George Maki, 14415 Archdale avenue, second to Mrs. J. Charlow, 1206 Meek Avenue west, and third to Mrs. Cora Gripman, 55 Devonshire Road, Pleasant Ridge. In the pieced tops first prize went to Mrs. P. H. Flint, 14250 Sussex avenue, second to Mrs. M. J. Markley, 5751 John R street and third to Mrs. W. G. Clark, 1566 West Grand Boulevard. In the crocheted spreads class, Mrs. L. C. Alleman , 15362 Parkside avenue, won first prize and Mrs. A. M. Andrews, 4653 Seebaldt avenue, second.

Antiques Admired
The crowds that poured into the armory from the opening hour until the show closed for the night, lingered almost sentimentally among the antiques. They displayed the same feeling families have for treasured relics, that loving hands have made and cared for. There are elaborate Victorian quilts made of silks, and satin and velvets. One, 80 years old, is loaned by Mrs. George Reusel, 1578 Lycaste avenue. It was made by her mother's school chums, each of whom added a piece bearing names.

One entire section is devoted to quilts made by women of the Grand River Avenue Baptist Church. So many are there, in fact, it seems as if these women must do nothing else in their spare time but have quilting bees, and right well have they done in reviving that ancient art.

In the new quilts division, the quality of workmanship, designing, and color combinations make each other appear lovelier than the other, according to an expert in such matters, Mrs. Pheobe Edwards, of Cinncinatti, who came to Detroit for the sole purpose of seeing the show. She saw plenty for, ushered about by Edith B. Crumb, the director of the Detroit News Quilt Club, she was shown every quilt and virtually every stitch.

Symbols of Peace
The prize quilts are hung on high racks at the south end of the armory, against a background of the model destroyer, recently added to the room. Sight of the big ship, wedged in between the walls, calls to mind the calamities now befalling the nations of the earth, and the quilts, symbols of peace and home and love, suddenly endeared the visitors.

Probably as outstanding as any single quilt in the show, is the second prize winner in the pieced quilt class, the Anne Hathaway cottage. It appears as a large picture and, in fact, was copied from a tiny picture of the famous cottage at the Stratford-on-Avon. It contains 18,124 hexagons and has no running seams, the material being basted over paper and whipped, in an over and under stitch. It has 225 different prints and was five years in the making. Four generations, all eldest daughters of the family fashioned the quilt, which is valued at $1,000. It will be given to a historical society when the owner is through with it.

Entire room of Aprons
The hooked rugs, woven afghans, braided rugs, coverlets, and crocheted spreads, are interesting enough that hours could be spent in their company and then, there is a whole room full of aprons. Some of these are destined, it now appears to start a new apron vogue, for foremost among the exhibits is a bobbinet tea apron 55 years old, made by Mrs. W. B. Joyce, 11778 Wyoming avenue, when she was 14 years old and it is lovely! In the same class is that exhibited by Mary E. Seiler, 257 Beresford avenue, Highland Park. It is edged in beautiful handmade lace and is 70 years old. These caught every eye.

The show will continue today and Sunday from 10 a. m. to 10 p. m. and is free to the public.

​Courtesy of The Detroit News Archives.

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