OLD CROW, from WOMEN'S WORLD, 1931, is a classic design with many names (15 in Barbara Brackman's ENCYCLOPEDIA, #1262a), including FOUR LEAF CLOVER, along with the obvious PINWHEEL, WATER, FAN, MILL and other types of wheels, etc. It first appeared in print in the late 19th c. as a sort of generic, nearly nameless in personality, as MOSAIC #9 in the LADIES ART COMPANY catalogue (#337). As OLD CROW, the block takes on the distinction of lively intensity, black color and a real identity. Interestingly, Alexander Calder in his lithographic abstraction, "Quilt," (1966, illustrated below) blackens the pinwheel in similar fashion. |
An important note by Marie D. Webster, in QUILTS, THE STORY OF HOW TO MAKE THEM, 1915 (online at Gutenbierg), says that variety of names for a given quilt design reflects on its history and longevity, and therefore should be retained, an idea delightfully in synch with this motif of an OLD CROW (compare with THE OWL QUILT). Elsewhere on quilt naming, Webster writes:
"Among the most fascinating features of quilt lore are the great number and wonderful variety of names given to quilt designs. A distinct individuality is worked into every quilt by its maker, which in most instances makes it worthy of a name. The many days spent in creating even a simple quilt give the maker ample time in which to ponder over a name for the design [....] Careful consideration of a large number of quilts reveals but few that have been named in a haphazard way; in nearly every instance there was a reason or at least a suggestion for the name."
All of the colors chosen for this page are adapted from Calder's lithograph. Compare with DELFT MILL, where the color combination is picked up from a painting by Vermeer, or SUNSHINE AND STAINED GLASS, inspired by a gorgeous color scheme by the Cubist painter, Sonia Delaunay.
"QUILT" by Alexander Calder, Lithograph, 1966
See STAR LANE for more quilt designs at this site
with color harmonies from art history.