Monday, June 20, 2011

Crazy Quilts in Highland Park

Crazy Quilt Exhibition

Highland Park Historical Society Hosts One-of-a-Kind Crazy Quilt Exhibition; Museum Chosen as Anchor Site for Northern Illinois Quilt Fest.

The Highland Park Historical Society will host a Crazy Quilt exhibition, “Crazy Quilts and More by Addie Mangoian Davis,” July 1 – September 30, 2011, Wednesday – Sunday, 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m., at its museum located at 326 Central Avenue, in Highland Park, IL. The museum has been chosen as one of more than a dozen anchor sites for the Northern Illinois Quilt Fest, which will span across the six counties in Northern Illinois. Admission to the exhibition is $5.00, and special group tours are available upon request.

Crazy Quilts became popular during the late 1800s. The Historical Society exhibition will feature a collection of one-of-a-kind newly-made Crazy Quilts by Highland Park resident Addie Mangoian Davis, who loves to use vintage silks, velvets, and satins that she stitches together to construct each quilt block. She embellishes the blocks with a variety of enhancements including cigarette silks, cigar flannels, ribbons, jewels, commemorative badges, and political buttons to create her unique and dramatic designs. The results are quilts so rich in color and pattern, and here and there sprinkled with an element of surprise, that in order to fully appreciate their beauty, one quilting expert states “Hers have to be seen in living color.”

Davis, a native of Waukegan, IL, lived 25 years in Chicago, before she began quilting in 1974, in Friendship, Indiana, where she and her husband moved after his retirement. She describes herself as an “intuitive fiber artist.” “I couldn’t even sew on a loose button,” says Ms. Davis. “But, I believe you can do what you want to do. I fell in love with Crazy Quilts, and I was determined to make them.”

Davis insists Crazy Quilts, which are meant to be whimsical in nature, are anything but crazy. “The Sioux Indian translation for their war leader Crazy Horse was the “enchanted one,” Davis notes. “And that’s how I feel about Crazy Quilts, there’s something enchanting about them.” Davis has expanded her love of Crazy Quilts into other fiber art projects, which also will be on display during the exhibition.

During the three-month quilt fest, a variety of other quilt-related events, including a speakers series, workshops, and appraisals will be held throughout the six-county Northern Illinois region. For a schedule of events at the Highland Park Historical Society, please visit Information will be updated as events are finalized.

In addition to the Crazy Quilt exhibition, the Highland Park Historical Society will feature a display of mid-20th century crocheted and knitted doilies from the collection of Carol Sanes-Miller, also of Highland Park. The Highland Park Historical Society was formed in 1966. Its museum is a 12-room, two-story Italianate Victorian house donated to the Society in 1969, by Jean Butz James. The Society’s mission is to discover, preserve, provide access to, and disseminate the history of Highland Park.

For more information, you are invited to call 847-432-7090, to visit the museum’s website at, and to visit Facebook under Highland Park Historical Society.


Jenny Woolf said...

Beautiful quilt. I'd like to see more of her work, so I'll look on the website you gave and see if there are other pictures. I guess these are decorative rather than practical but I like the idea of "enchanted" rather than "crazy".

terryb said...

Jenny focused on the same detail that I did. I loved the comparison to the Sioux translation of Crazy Horse. I do enjoy crazy quilts, though I've never been "enchanted" enough to make one.