Grandmother’s Flower Garden Quilt, circa 1930, Gift of Mrs. Don Wellborn from the George M. Boles, Collection.
TTU-H1971-028-011a. Photo courtesy of the
Museum of Texas Tech University.

The Green of the Times

By Marian Ann J. Montgomery, Ph.D.

Curator of Clothing and Textiles, Museum of Texas Tech University

Every era has its favorite colors. These days Pantone unveils the trending hot color for the next year in early December with much excitement across a wide range of industries. This selected color becomes a hot branding and marketing tool. Very shortly thereafter the color is found in everything from pillows and towels, clothing and accessories, to marketing and ad campaigns. In 2017 the color was Greenery—a shade of lime green.

According to the Pantone website:

  • "A symbolic color selection; a color snapshot of what we see taking place in our global culture that serves as an expression of a mood and an attitude.
  • A refreshing and revitalizing shade, Greenery is symbolic of new beginnings.

Greenery is a fresh and zesty yellow-green shade that evokes the first days of spring when nature’s greens revive, restore and renew. Illustrative of flourishing foliage and the lushness of the great outdoors, the fortifying attributes of Greenery signals consumers to take a deep breath, oxygenate and reinvigorate.

Greenery is nature’s neutral. The more submerged people are in modern life, the greater their innate craving to immerse themselves in the physical beauty and inherent unity of the natural world. This shift is reflected by the proliferation of all things expressive of Greenery in daily lives through urban planning, architecture, lifestyle and design choices globally. A constant on the periphery, Greenery is now being pulled to the forefront - it is an omnipresent hue around the world.

  • A life-affirming shade, Greenery is also emblematic of the pursuit of personal passions and vitality."

In the 1930s the hot color was Apple Green.  Finding that color in quilts is a strong indication that the quilt was made in the 1930s. The color was a popular color throughout the houses of America in the 1930s. If you visit an antique shop you will likely find kitchen utensils with the handles painted apple green or refrigerator jars whose lids are apple green from that time. The quilts featured here in the collections of the Museum of Texas Tech University document that color.

Drunkard’s Path Quilt made by Miss Mabel Erwin’s 435 class
in the 1930s, quilted by Mrs. Penney, a professional quilter. 
Gift of the Department of Clothing and Textiles, Texas Tech University, TTU-H1976-283-003. 
Photo courtesy of the Museum of Texas Tech University.

Snowball and Nine-Patch Quilt c 1930 Gift of Walter Diggs, TTU-H1978-023-003.
Photo courtesy of the Museum of Texas Tech University.

Water Lily Quilt, designed by Anne Orr, 1930s. Gift of Alice L. Larson, TTU-H 2017-003-001.  
Photo courtesy of the Museum of Texas Tech University.

Click here for related articles from the Museum of Texas Tech University Textile Collections.


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