Each student will create a flower patterned quilt square in response to the floral patterns on the Pratt Family Album Quilt.
Intended Age GroupEarly childhood (ages 3-5)
Length of LessonOne 30 minute lesson
Standards AreaVisual Arts
Students will be able to:
- move and dance in a way that represents the movement of flowers;
- describe the texture of three fabrics;
- recognize repetitive patterns and colors in the Pratt Family Album Quilt; and
- create their own fabric collage flower quilt square.
- Warm-up: Begin by playing either Waltz of the Flowers from the Nutcracker or Raffi’s Sunflower or Spring Flowers. While the students are listening to or singing the songs, have them move and dance throughout the room pretending to be flowers. Encourage them to think of how a flower would wave in the wind or what it would look like if it were dancing.
- Gather the children back together and show them the Pratt Family Album Quilt. Give them a brief history of the quilt and do they see? How is the center of the quilt different from the rest of it? What colors do they see in the flowers and leaves? Play “I Spy With My Little Eye” to involve them in finding the birds, butterflies, sheaves of grain, flowers, and borders.
- Pass around different kinds of fabrics such as felt, cotton, calico, velvet, corduroy, denim, wool, lace, ribbon, etc. for the children to feel. Ask students to describe the texture of the fabric as they handle them.
- Tell them they will each be making a fabric flower collage.
- Pass out pre-cut flowers (or if your students are able, allow them to cut out the pre-designed flowers themselves). Invite students to create arrangements with the flowers and help them glue the shapes to the pre-cut background square. Remind them how the Pratt Family Album Quilt had flower themes, just like the square they are making. This will help the children connect with the original quilt in a personal and meaningful way.
- Have the students create a border for their quilt squares with ribbon, lace, paper strips, etc.
- Have each student present his/her flower quilt square to the class, describing what patterns and colors they chose. Display the quilt squares around the room for everyone to admire.
Extended lesson idea: Have pre-cut flower shapes made from corrugated cardboard that children can dip in paint and use to make flower prints. Cut out a vase shape from a piece of fabric and glue it to the center of each student’s quilt square. Let students “stamp” on a bouquet with the corrugated cardboard flowers. Add stems with puffy fabric paints. Cookie cutters, sponges, and hands also make good flower prints.
- Assortment of different fabric pieces: cotton, calico, velvet, corduroy, denim, wool, lace, ribbon, etc.
- Pre-cut flower and leaf shapes in a variety of fabrics or different papers (If your students are able to cut the shapes out themselves, you could also provide stencils.)
- Glue and scissors
- One 8½ x 11 inch fabric or paper square per student to serve as the background for the flower designs
- Borders: ribbons, seam binding, lace, paper doilies, or paper strips
- A great source for assorted fabrics in Denver is RAFT Colorado: Resource Area for Teaching
- Track of Waltz of the Flowers from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite OR Raffi’s Sunflower or Spring Flowers
- About the Art section on Pratt Family Album Quilt
- One color copy of the quilt for every four students, or the ability to project the image onto a wall or screen
- Visual Arts
- Invent and Discover to Create
- Observe and Learn to Comprehend
- Relate and Connect to Transfer
- Envision and Critique to Reflect
21st Century Skills
- Critical Thinking & Reasoning
- Information Literacy
About the Art
Who Made It?
This signature quilt was made as a wedding present for Anna Eliza Pratt (1823–1895), granddaughter of one of Philadelphia’s leading merchants, on the occasion of her marriage to Lewis Perrine. Each well-wisher whose name appears on the quilt gifted a block (an individual square of quilted fabric), but the identity of the skilled maker is still in question. We do know that the quilt was made in the Delaware River Valley and is dated September 15, 1842 (a date of 1843 also appears on the quilt). Each block contributed to the quilt is different. To create bouquets, flowers were cut out from printed cottons, assembled into a design, and hand-stitched to the background fabric. This method of stitching one piece of fabric onto another is called appliqué. The Pratt Family Album Quilt displays elaborate cutting and appliqué techniques, and many of the blocks have fine details drawn in pen and ink.
What Inspired It?
Signature quilts were made to commemorate an event such as a wedding, birth, or major move. This quilt was made to celebrate the marriage of Anna and Lewis Perrine. Signature quilts became popular around the 1840s. When making a signature quilt, friends and family would sign their names and possibly a date, location, religious verse, or other token of remembrance as a way of expressing friendship for the recipient, not as a way of identifying their own workmanship. The names on the quilt were meant to remind the recipients of their friends and family; signing the quilt was like signing a card today. Women would sign with ink, demonstrating their elegant handwriting and creating a diverse array of handwriting styles on the quilt. It was very difficult to write on cloth, however, so signatures were not always written by the person named. Sometimes signatures were written by a professional calligrapher, and sometimes simply by the person with the best handwriting.
The block in the center of the quilt is larger than the rest and contains a large bouquet of flowers with four smaller flowers in each corner. Also in the center is a butterfly and what look like two hummingbirds. The large bouquet is set on white cotton with interlacing circle, leaf, and line stitches.
Notice how flowers are cut out from printed fabric and stitched to the background fabric—a technique known as appliqué. The appliqué technique used on this quilt involves printed fabric and is referred to as broderie perse [broe-dair-ee pearz] (Persian embroidery).
Some of the finely detailed leaves, flowers, and what appear to be sheaves of grain were hand-drawn with ink. All of the hand-drawn details are monochrome (one color) and surround the more colorful bouquets.
The signatures of well-wishers can be seen in the corners of many of the blocks.
There are four borders, or outlines, on this quilt. The inside border that surrounds the individual blocks is the narrowest border. It is made from a flower and lattice fabric and applied whole and not as cut-outs. The next border is made up of printed fabric that is cut and appliquéd. Outside of the appliqué border is a fabric border of flowers and leaves. The fabric for this border is used whole and not as cut-outs. The final border, which surrounds the entire quilt, is made of lace.