In the Spring of 2018, Kay Yeomans and Peggy Norris met over a picnic lunch and decided to have a vintage and antique quilt and coverlet show. Three years later that vision culminated in the Bergen County Quilt and Coverlet Show, October 1-2, 2021.
By Spring of 2019 Kay and Peggy had put together a committee and gotten the sponsorship of the Upper Saddle River and Ridgewood Historical Societies.
Bergen County Quilt and Coverlet Show committee
Diane Mateo; Kay Yeomans; Joe Suplicki; Peggy Norris, chair; Dacey Latham; Vicky Herbert; and, behind the camera, Marion Brown.
We contacted all of the museums in Bergen County and received invitations from 13 of them to come to the museum and view their collections. We made our first visit to the Zabriskie House in Wyckoff on July 9, 2019. At every museum we took snapshots of the quilts and coverlets and reviewed their catalog records.
We then spent hours reviewing images and winnowed the selection down to one that was representative of Bergen County quilts and coverlets and a sample of the quilts and coverlets from other places held in the museums. We chose quilts that represented quilt-making through the United States Bicentennial in 1976. We chose coverlets that were made in Bergen County and told the story of the development of the Bergen County coverlet. We then officially requested the loan of the items and all of the museums agreed to participate. We also invited private collectors and families to participate.
Initially we had three sources of grant funding: Northwest Bergen History Coalition, Bergen County Division of Cultural and Historic Affairs, and the American Quilt Study Group. Additional grants were received from the Clinton D. and Grace A. Carlough Charitable Trust and Valley Health Foundation. These grants were not only important for the money provided, but also for the support for our vision of a quilt and coverlet show.
We recruited three organizations to be participating sponsors: Brownstone Quilters Guild provided volunteers, the Ridgewood Public Library provided techinical support and the venue for the lecture, 300 Years of American Quilts, and Old Paramus Reformed Church, in addition to renting us space, was helpful with welcoming support through all of the changes in schedule. Dana Balsamo, of Dana Auctions, provided our lecture without fee.
Without all of these organizations and their generous support we would not have had the show or the book.
The Show was scheduled for September 25-26, 2020. In March of 2020, with the world on lock-down, we realized that even if the pandemic had receded by September, we wouldn't have the time to do what was necessary before the Show. We cancelled the date. We eventually rescheduled for May 2021. That date was cancelled, too.
For a permanent record we photographed each item that was selected for the show. Marion T. Brown, a member of the committee, was also our photographer. She herself is very camera-shy, but her camera was willing to pose.
In September and October of 2020 we borrowed the quilts and coverlets to photograph at the Schoolhouse Museum. We met twice a week, wearing masks, and hung, measured and photographed the quilts and coverlets.
We determined that although the show itself would only be a few days, due to constraints of space and money, we would make a lasting record of the Show by publishing an exhibit catalog. This became the book, Stitched and Woven, published in April, 2021.
Although there couldn't be a big launch party in a pandemic, the committee had a little champagne and book-signing among ourselves to recognize the occasion.
In June of 2021, with the pandemic in retreat, we scheduled the show for October 1-2, 2021.