Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Rose Ann Cook's Modern Antiques

Rose Ann Cook's Modern Antiques collection is such a breath of fresh air. Comprised of many small prints in a range from the super light to very dark, these fabrics have so much potential! The idea for this collection came from a worn antique quilt that Rose Ann purchased many years ago--a quilt that she has remade in her fabrics! 

Today we're sharing an interview with Rose Ann about the fabrics themselves; the rest of the week will be filled with more Modern Antiques inspiration! 

Where did the inspiration for Modern Antiques come from?
Years ago, when I was working on my book, “Czecherboard Quilts”, I visited a quilt shop in Galveston, TX, owned by Robyn Pandolph.  When I walked in the door, I spied an antique quilt carefully folded in a basket across the room.  I made a beeline over to it and pulled it out to get a closer look.  It had the most lovely, time worn colored 25 patches throughout and I knew I had to have it.  The condition was/is terrible but I didn’t care.  I bought it on the spot and knew I had a treasure!  I knew that when the quilt was new (estimated to be 1870), the colors would have been very, very different…much brighter and, for me, not as appealing.  But “Old Man Time” aged these colors to the softest hues that are so appealing!

My staff and I spent weeks trying to locate fabrics so that we could recreate it as the bonus project in my book, which we eventually did.  The kit for this reproduction quilt is still the best selling kit we have ever had.  Sadly though I realized that I was playing WackAMole in trying to re-source the same fabrics.  Over time the collections were discontinued and I finally gave up.  I am thankful to Benartex because Modern Antiques is THE collection for this quilt.  The small prints and colors are spot-on perfect for recreating this quilt.  When we made the new reproduction from the Modern Antiques quilt, it felt like “coming home.” 

So many different prints!

Can you talk about the border stripe? 
That engineered borders stripe makes me seriously happy!  Back to the original quilt…there is a border strip that looked like it was a pieced checkerboard on point, cut into skinny strips.  In much of the quilt, the center pink square in the strip fabric is totally gone.  But we found small sections of the quilt where the pink fabric was still visible.  The checkerboard was NOT pieced, but printed.  The dyes must have been unstable because the pink square fabric disintegrated.  We couldn’t find any fabric that could even come close to that, so we ended up sewing our own, very tiny, checkerboard panel and cutting it into long strips to create that border.  Pam, the sample maker, loves to work with tiny pieces, so thankfully, this was right up her alley!

But many customers who purchased the kit were not looking forward to making that border.  This border print looks very similar to what is in the original quilt.  It is offered it in two different colorways, pink and blue.  I love working with that border strip.  In my new quilt patterns, you can see it used in borders, blocks and sashes.

How did you develop the color palette? 
The color palette is really the palette from the original quilt.  The colors do have a nice variety to them, from the very, very pale Spinnings in Coral, to the darkest piece, Leaves in Navy.  Even in the original quilt, there was this wide range in color.  The prints are inspired and updated to include stripes, checks, leaves, Dots, Buds, Spinnings and the very lovely Blooms prints.

Tell us about some of your favorite prints in the collection.  
The background fabric, Blooms--Cream 2149-07--I believe is going to be one of the best-selling pieces in the collection.  The color is cream…just as what you would see in a kitten’s bowl.  And the soft, barely-there texture of the bloom in that print gives it just enough pattern to make it interesting.  I’ve used it exclusively as the background fabric in over a dozen quilt designs now and I love it just as much now as I did in the first quilt. 

The Spinnings print is also very charming.  Spinnings are available in 5 colors and I think they are as sweet as a baby’s quilt.

How did the line get its name? 
It was easy!  Because the collection was inspired from this one antique quilt, the word “antique” just had to be a part of its’ name.  But we did update these prints and colors just a touch to make them applicable and useful to modern quilters. Bing! Modern  Antiques!   

You’ve designed three very different collections for Benartex: Glass House, Joey the Shop Dog, and now Modern Antiques. Can you talk about how that came to be?
As a former actress, I know staging.  I can see colors and hues and the emotions that they evoke.  I love to collect antique textiles, vintage glass windows, Depression Glass, etc.  My husband, playwright Pat Cook, and I have filled our home with old treasures that we found on our travels.  Since I also own a quilt shop, Quilter’s Emporium, I know what I need and want to sell in my shop.  I recognized that there was a need for this type of collection and I filled it!  I still have a lot of ideas…and all of them just as different.  “Emporium,” to me, indicates variety…something for everyone.  That is what I strive to provide within my store.

My first collection, Glass House, was inspired by the movement and color that I see in stained glass.  I adore that collection!  The textures are amazing and the strength of the colors find their way into a variety of quilts.  As a shop owner, I’ve seen these prints look right at home in everything from a simple first quilt project to a Judy Neimeyer quilt.  That collection earned space in my shop as a staple.  You don’t see it everywhere and I’m delighted that Benartex keeps all 20 pieces in stock!

Joey the Shop Dog has a special place in my heart because it was designed for my sweet dog, Joey.  (Click here to read more about Joey and the fabric collection.)

How do you see these fabrics appealing to a wide range of quilters? 
There is a timeless feel to this collection that I think is versatile.  The prints are small but interesting.  When you see them in quilts, the viewer basically sees the color and the pattern of the quilt design itself.  I think this collection is a must-have for every quilter.  

What excites you most about the collection?  

The versatility of the collection is going to be valuable for any quilter’s stash.  It isn’t the type of collection where there is a focus print, a large border print, 3 or 4 blenders, etc.  That type of collection can be very beautiful but it is also limiting.  Those pieces are rarely seen outside of their groupings and once the focus piece is sold out, the left over fabrics are danglers: leftover bits in the sales bin or in the back of a closet.  Modern Antiques is not that type of collection.  It is a range where each piece can work its way in almost any quilt:  traditional, modern, baby, shabby chic, Reproduction-Civil War, Reproduction-30’s, 50’s, etc. 

Click here to see the entire Modern Antiques collection.
Click here to visit the Quilter's Emporium website.

We'll be sharing more about Rose Ann's Modern Antiques collection this week--come back for a project tutorial and a virtual quilt show!
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  1. Very nice article with great information. Thank you.

  2. Beautiful fabric!! Enjoy your day!!

  3. One again Rose Ann has come up with a beautiful collection of fabrics. Good job.

  4. Nice, Nice fabric and quilt! On my want list. Great nformation.