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The Harmon’s Pie Town Restaurant. Photograph © by Russell Lee, image courtesy of John and Sue Bunton.
Pie Town, New Mexico Quilt
by Marian Ann J. Montgomery, Ph.D.
Curator of Clothing and Textiles, Museum of Texas Tech University
Pie Town is a small town in western New Mexico that was on the road taken by many who were escaping the Dust Bowl on their way to California during the Depression. Pie Town and its people were photographed in 1940 by Russell Lee, a photographer for the Farm Security Administration of the United States Government during the Great Depression.
One of the founding settlers of Pie Town was Harmon L. Craig, who moved there in the 1920s. He met his wife, Theora, when she brought food from town to feed hungry cowboys who were working a roundup for one of the ranchers. She had been cooking and doing laundry in the Hall Hotel in nearby Magdalena. Theora had been abandoned by her first husband, who left her and their two daughters when he fell on hard times in business. After their marriage on July 29, 1924, Mr. Craig brought his family to live in a log home he had built in Pie Town. Shortly thereafter, a small addition (which served as a café), was built onto the house. While Theora was busy managing the café, H.L. focused on building other businesses in town.
Harmon L and Theora Craig on their porch. Image courtesy of John and Sue Bunton.
The family states that interviews with New Mexico residents at the time document that the pies, cakes and cookies offered at the café were famous for a hundred miles. Cowboys on long cattle drives began to plan routes to include a stop for a rest in Pie Town just so they could have a slice of pie and a cup of coffee.
Although others have claimed the title, Theora’s descendants claim she was the original Pie Lady of Pie Town. H.L. Craig was instrumental in the development of Pie Town, often interviewing people driving through who were escaping the Dust Bowl. If he liked the person’s work ethic, H.L. would offer to help them get started, with the understanding that they would settle in Pie Town.
The images of Pie Town taken by Russell Lee document the hard life and determined spirits of its residents. Many were photographed wearing garments made of printed cotton feed sacks; those images were included in the museum’s recent exhibit on feed sacks.
Harmon L. and Theora Craig in their Pie Town, New Mexico home, where the quilt was used. Photograph © by Russell Lee, image courtesy of John and Sue Bunton.
The family says that Theora loved her garden more than quilting, but she left behind a beautiful charm quilt made to keep her family warm. Typical of many quilts made at this time, this one employed a wide variety of scrap fabrics cut into large hexagon shapes.
Charm Quilt made by Theora McDonald Baum Craig (b. 1887, m. 1907, m. 1924, d. 1980) Mrs. Harmon L.)
circa 1940 in Pie Town, NM. Gift of John and Sue Bunton, 2020-009-001.
Image © the Museum of Texas Tech University.
Learn more about the Clothing and Textiles Collection at the Museum of Texas Tech University.
Erika Mulvenna at WeAllSew.com has a fun tutorial for creating this sewing machine mat that can hold all your necessary tools for creating your quilt. Learn about triangular patchwork and use up your scraps all at the same time.
We love the "vision" behind this quilt and we might have to keep our "eyes" on this group of quilters from the beautiful beach city of Capitola in California. Take a look at all the different quilting designs, they are quite "eyelightening". (groan).
Eyes by Karen S. Foster and others (see sign below), of the South Bay Area Modern Quilt Guild, was featured in the Group & Bee Quilts category at QuiltCon 2020.
Photos by Mary Kay Davis
Kim Lacy's quilt, Ammonite Celebration, does not fit into a "traditional" shape for a quilt. It does, however, fit the requirements of nature in that it is inspirational and quite beautiful.
She writes, "I am inspired by the shapes and forms of nature. My access to the professional and amateur photography of my friends is a constant source of inspiration. Their images of wildlife, natural wonders, and fractals have been the focus of many of my quilts. Geology and paleontology have also influenced much of my recent work, especially the fractal nature of the ammonite."
Ammonite Celebration won 2nd Place Wall Stationary Machine, AQS, Spring Paducah, KY 2017.
Watch Kim in Show 2606.
Original Photo: Mary Kay Davis
Beginning today, TQS will be featuring quilts from the Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA) exhibit, Layered & Stitched: Fifty Years of Innovation, as featured at the Texas Quilt Museum. The exhibit is described as:
Studio Art Quilt Associates presents Layered & Stitched: Fifty Years of Innovation at the Texas Quilt Museum in Galleries I and III. These studio art quilts, dating from 1968 to 2016, represent the extraordinary range of talented artists working in contemporary quilt art. Featuring a balance of abstract and representational styles, Layered & Stitched includes several foreign artists, with a wide geographic distribution of makers in general. The curatorial vision of this exhibition embraces diversity and excellence, including three-dimensional works. Juried by Nancy Bavor, Director of the San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles; Martha Sielman, Executive Director of SAQA; and Dr. Sandra Sider, Curator of the Texas Quilt Museum, who says, "Jurying this spectacular exhibition was one of the highlights of my career! It is an amazing show of historic significance."
The exhibit has also been collected in a companion book as well, titled Art Quilts Unfolding: 50 Years of Innovation by Nancy Bavor, Lisa Ellis, Martha Sielman, and edited by Sandra Sider. The book is described as:
Please enjoy the first quilt from the exhibition by Arturo Alonzo Sandoval.
Title of Quilt: Pattern Fusion No.14-Motherboard No.5
Quilter's Name: Arturo Alonzo Sandoval
Photos by Mary Kay Davis
When you think of Karen K. Stone, you think of bright New York Beauty quilts with lots of points and intricate piecing. Karen's quilt, Away, has a completely different feel. Inspired by a trip to the Tokyo Quilt Festival, this quilt contains vintage woven silks and cottons in muted tones. Not a New York Beauty in sight, Away is filled with a wonderful mix of traditional blocks and appliqué.
Away by Karen K. Stone of Dallas, Texas won Second Place, Balanced Piecing and Appliqué, sponsored by Quilters Select, at the Houston International Quilt Festival 2019.