Quilt Museum Exhibits Water Quilts From the John (Jack) M. Walsh III Collection

Quilt Museum Exhibits Water Quilts From the John (Jack) M. Walsh III Collection

September 30, 2022

Water has always played a huge role in Walsh’s life, so it stands to reason that Water FEATURED, an upcoming exhibition at the International Quilt Museum, includes pieces commissioned by Walsh to celebrate his love of water, inspired by his career in water utilities and the proximity of Lake Michigan in his childhood and later, by the waterfalls of Watkins Glen, New York.

Walsh, working with art curator Penelope McMorris, has established a singularly important collection of studio art quilts. Seeking innovative and extraordinary vision, he acquired pieces by leading art quilters of the Studio Movement, including quilts featured in the Top 100 Quilts of the Twentieth Century and by honorees of the Master of the Medium award from the James Renwick Alliance for Craft. The creativity of the Water FEATURED exhibition promotes a feeling of calmness and tranquility, and creates a sensory experience for guests of the museum in the West Gallery. 

"When I commission a work for the collection, I normally request that water be the theme. Water takes so many forms—lakes, clouds, snow, steam, ice—that it allows the artist freedom of expression while tying the works together with a common thread,” Walsh told the New Jersey Stage.

Walsh and McMorris have commissioned renowned quiltmakers and textile artists like Pauline Burbidge, Susan Shie, Tim Harding, Ruth McDowell, Terrie Mangat, and many others to create pieces for Walsh’s collection. Burbidge, one of the U. K’s most prominent quiltmakers, had just made her first quilt based on photos of herself being reflected in water before Walsh and McMorris approached her for a commission. Burbidge described her commissioned piece for Walsh, Nottingham Reflections, as a great opportunity to continue to explore this new direction of water reflections.

The resulting work in John M. Walsh III’s collection encompasses many of the trends developed in quilting in the last decades: threadwork, hand-dying, digital printing, machine quilting and embellishment. Water FEATURED: The John M. Walsh III Collection includes these commissioned pieces by Walsh, which will be on view in the West Gallery from September 30th to April 15th.