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Mary Gasperik's "Road to Recovery" quilt

Pacific Palisades, California, United States

Mary Gasperik's original design to commemorate the 1939 New York World's Fair was made for a quilt contest "Better Living in the World of Tomorrow." She did not win a prize, but it is considered one of her masterpiece quilts. Although she did not sign this quilt, she often said the seated woman appliquéd in the center of the quilt represents herself. The pattern source for two of the appliqué elements in this quilt, the pair of robins in the lower left and the brown wren at the right side of the tree on the right, have been identified. Gasperik traced them from illustrations by Fern Bisel Peat published in popular books about birds printed in the early 1930s. In copying the robins from a book, Gasperik not only traced the book illustration's outlines to create her appliqué pattern, but she also duplicated Peat's detail through elaborate embroidery.

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Road to Recovery
Mary Gasperik
Chicago, Illinois
1939
Private Collection

Mary Gasperik's original design to commemorate the 1939 New York World's Fair was made for a quilt contest "Better Living in the World of Tomorrow." She did not win a prize, but it is considered one of her masterpiece quilts. Although she did not sign this quilt, she often said the seated woman appliquéd in the center of the quilt represents herself. The pattern source for two of the appliqué elements in this quilt, the pair of robins in the lower left and the brown wren at the right side of the tree on the right, have been identified. Gasperik traced them from illustrations by Fern Bisel Peat published in popular books about birds printed in the early 1930s. In copying the robins from a book, Gasperik not only traced the book illustration's outlines to create her appliqué pattern, but she also duplicated Peat's detail through elaborate embroidery.

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Mary wrote the story of the quilt in her native Hungarian.

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Mary's daughter Elsie Krueger translated the story.

Translation:

History of the quilt.
"Road to Recovery"

This dear old lady is trying to bear the trials of poverty inflicted upon her by the depression, and in passing along with the years, she must stop and rest to gather fresh courage to reach the "World of Tomorrow." Heedless of the traffic only one thought persists in her mind, to attain her goal. The autumn leaves represent the poverty of the depression as it touched humanity. The birds are singing songs of encouragement. Beyond those mountains lies Recovery. The New York World's Fair of 1939.

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Mary Gasperik pointing out the representation of herself on her quilt Road to Recovery to her great-grandson Andy Finn and her daughter Elsie Krueger. Photo taken at Gasperik’s home in East Hazelcrest, IL, in June 1968.

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Hank Finn, August 2011, holding a wooden replica of Gasperik’s quilt “Road to Recovery” which he created for his wife Karen, Gasperik’s granddaughter. Hank not only rendered the quilt’s applique design in paint, he also, by making over a thousand tiny indentations into the wood, illustrated Gasperik’s quilting designs.

Susan Salser
Gasperik Quilt Project, 2018
All rights reserved

Written by Salser, Susan

Mary Gasperik Legacy Project
 

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