Friday, September 19, 2014

Little Road Trip

A few weeks ago, I discovered that Ruth B. McDowell (my art quilt idol) is the 2014 Honoree at the Quilters Hall of Fame and that her quilts are on display right now at the Marie Webster House in Marion, Indiana. I knew about the Quilters Hall of Fame but had never really payed much attention to where it was. Then I realized that it was just a short road trip away, and I just had to go. My husband did a little research online and found that the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automotive Museum was on the way, so this week we made the little drive with stops along the way that we could both enjoy. 

I actually really liked the car museum. It is in the restored Auburn Headquarters (in Auburn, Indiana), and many of the cars are in the original showroom, with it's stylish Art Deco design--carved beams, beautiful chandeliers and sconces, and terrazzo floors. Lots of quilty inspiration here. 

And then, this:
 "The Official Auburn Cord Dusenberg Museum Quilt" designed by Thais Heinzeling, made by the Spinning Spools Quilt Guild, and presented to the museum in 1988. We couldn't photograph it straight on because there was a car sitting right in front of it. (Imagine that. A car. In front of a quilt. Oh, that's right, it's a car museum.) Anyway, I could tell that the quilters had the same response I had. The cars were wonderful--but the building? A true work of art--with all the details preserved in quilt fabrics and stitches. I asked if they had a postcard of the quilt or if there was a picture online, and they said no, so consider this my contribution to documenting this quilt on the internet. 

That night, we stayed on the outskirts of Gas City What an unfortunate name for a town. There was a short-lived natural gas boom in the late 1800's, so I guess the name's historic, but just to be safe, we avoided eating burritos. The town is kind of cute, though, and celebrates its history with these street signs:
There's also a pleasant pathway (Cardinal Greenway) that we walked a bit of in the evening.

The next day, was my day--the visit to the quilt museum. I have no pictures of the exhibit of Ruth McDowell's quilts because photos weren't allowed (but you can find them online and in her books), and I don't think I even have words to describe how gorgeous they were. The colors were so much more vibrant than any photo could capture. And the museum is another work of art, a colonial revival home from 1902, lovingly restored to showcase the quilts. We were warmly welcomed and encouraged to take our time admiring the quilts (and the amazing woodwork.) I tried to absorb as much as I could about Ruth's techniques, color sense, and use of fabric prints and scales, and her stunning interpretation of landscapes, flowers, and images of people.  We did get a few pictures of the outside of the museum.

Now, I'll be sure to keep my eye on the schedule of exhibits, because I'm sure I'll want to go back again. 

On our way back home, we stopped at a few antique malls along the way. My husband found 3 (!) old baseball gloves that had to come home with him, and I saw lots of antique quilt tops. We both agreed that the trip was well worth it. I think if we go back, we'll take our bikes so we can ride the trail, too. 

If you are anywhere near Marion, Indiana and want to see Ruth McDowell's work, hurry. The museum is only open Thursday through Saturday, and September 27 is the last day for her exhibit.


  1. Sounds like a great trip!! The car museum flooring looked like a quilt wanting to be made!!

    1. And I guess some people go there to see the cars. : )