Quilt surprise

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Passing through the foyer/gallery of my synagogue, I happened upon a display of quilts at a moment when art was not on my mind. What a treat! The quilts are by Linda Rosenstein, who it seems is not exactly a closet quilter but, like so many quilters of the past, is someone who fits quilting in with the rest of her life. The work is quirky, beautiful, and varied, reworking the traditions of quilting and of art some of the time, ignoring them at other times (right, “Tangle,” 25″ x 25″).

The quilts include surprising fabrics and threads, some formal, some more gestural. In some sense, each one is a flight of fancy and a hard-headed thought process.

“Two Hearts” (left, 8.75″ x 12″) isn’t pieced, just quilted, but the thread is metallic, and the stitchery is the subject, following no pattern but creating the image of the two hearts and radiating spokes of love.

rosenstein, linda

The largest quilt is a narrative told in traditional squares:

“Passover Hagadah” (right, 56″ x 56″), uses the squares to describe the ancient Jew’s exodus from ancient Egypt, the 10 plagues that befell the Egyptians and the symbols of the Passover seder. Materials include beads and whatever else Rosenstein needs to tell the story. Each motif contributes a piece of the tale. A figure-ground joke becomes the perfect metaphor for part of the tradition–a hidden piece of matzah, easier to detect in the photo than in the real thing, where texture and pattern overwhelm it.

Rosenstein, has exhibited her quilts at Quilters’ Heritage Festivals in Lancaster, and was part of the traveling “A Gathering of Women” exhibit.

The quilts are up at Society Hill Synagogue, 418 Spruce St., through April. Enter by the side door (ring the bell, there) and call 215.922.6590 for hours before you go.

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