Quilts from the Claire Vlasin Collection

Quilts from the Claire Vlasin Collection

Helen Claire Vlasin (1932 - 2012) was born in Spalding, Nebraska, and was a graduate of St. Elizabeth Hospital School of Nursing in Lincoln, Nebraska; Central Michigan University; and Michigan State University. Claire’s initial educational experiences led her into nursing, but she later switched paths, turning to educational administration. Her family, including her beloved husband Ray and her children Theresa, Celia, Ilene, John, and Marie, as well as her large extended family, were another strong focus of her life.  

Claire also was an experienced and skillful sewist. It was out of her interests and skills that she became enamored with quilts and quilting. She not only loved to create quilts, but she wanted to preserve antique quilts. In 1999, Claire and Ray built a new home that would allow her to have a quilt studio for her creative work and for enjoyment by her many quilt friends. A large climate-controlled room to preserve her growing quilt collection was adjacent to her studio. 
As a loving, sharing educator, Claire advised quilters about ways to recover and preserve family heirlooms, and was always the educator and friend to those with whom she interacted in her studio, in several quilt groups, and in other ways and times. She taught quilting and held quilt history presentations for small and large groups, displaying selected antique quilts and giving any funds raised to Habitat for Humanity. 
Claire hoped she would be able to give her quality antique quilts to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., and to the International Quilt Museum in Lincoln. As of 2019, 34 of her antique quilts were selected by the American Art Museum at the Smithsonian, another 34 by the International Quilt Museum, and 20 by the Wisconsin Quilt and Fabric Museum.

— As told by Ray Vlasin to Jamie Swartz and Sarah Walcott

The quilts in this exhibition are from the International Quilt Museum’s Education Collection. The Education Collection fulfills an important facet of the museum’s mission: engaging and educating the public about global quiltmaking practices. 

Event Date
Tuesday, September 10, 2019 to Saturday, February 8, 2020