Peony Variation

June, 2021

Peony Variation

Mary Campbell Ghormley

Lincoln, Nebraska
Dated 1992
hand pieced, appliquéd, and quilted
Mary and Roger Ghormley Collection
IQM 2007.031.0002

Just as American women have done for two centuries, Mary Ghormley (1919-2015) displayed her quilts in agricultural fairs. Peony Variation earned first prize at the 1992 Nebraska State Fair. 

In the early 1970s, Ghormley significantly influenced display, documentation, and study of quilts in Nebraska. As interest in DIY quiltmaking grew, she taught quilting and co-founded the Lincoln Quilters Guild (LQG) in 1973. She saw the Holstein and van der Hoof Collection at the University of Iowa’s art museum and then initiated a guild-sponsored exhibition of Nebraska quilts at the University of Nebraska’s Sheldon Art Gallery in 1974. 

In addition, Ghormley was instrumental in LQG’s organization of a national quilt symposium in 1977 and the Nebraska Quilt Documentation Project a decade later.

This quilt is featured in Raising the Profile: Abstract Design in American Quilts at 50.