Blue Medallion
Printable version

  • Copyright 1982 Caryl Bryer Fallert
  • Size: +/- 60” x 70”
  • Techniques: Machine pieced, hand quilted
  • Materials: fabric: 100% cotton and cotton/poly blends / batting: 100% polyester
  • Owner: Private collection, Florida
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Design Concept

This quilt marked the transition point between traditional quilts and art quilts for me. It was made in 1982 as a commission for a flight attendant friend that I worked with at the time. This was before I knew any other quilters except a 90 year-old woman named Ida Vohs, from whom my husband and I purchased a farm in Missouri. She made traditional quilts, which were hand quilted on Wednesdays by the women in the local Methodist church in Owensville, MO. One evening she invited us over for coffee, opened her closet door and began showing us her huge stack of quilts. I loved every one of them and went right home and ordered a book about quilts from the literary guild. See the story of my first quilt at: http://www.bryerpatch.com/images/quiltrecords/FirstQuilt/RailFence.htm

In 1982, I knew nothing about quilt guilds, or quilt shops, and I had never heard of the whole quilting subculture but, having made three bed quilts and a series of baby quilts, I went to the public library in search of inspiration. I found a book called A Quilters Album of Blocks and Borders, by Jinny Beyer, and I was immediately enthralled.  Right on the back cover was a block I loved, called Castle Keep. I got out my graph paper, pencil, and ruler, and designed a medallion quilt around it.

After the quilt was pieced, I began carrying it around in my garment bag and hand quilting on my out-of-town layovers.  On a layover in Buffalo, New York in November of 1982, I ran out of thread, and the desk clerk at the Williamsville Inn  sent me to a quilt shop a block away. Right at the front counter was the most wonderful calendar I have ever seen, full of quilts that were intended to be fine art.

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As I was gawking at the calendar the shop owner saw me in my uniform and said, “If you’re staying at the Williamsville Inn, and you’re a quilter, you ought to come to our lecture tonight.  We’re having Jean Ray Laury talking about quilting or the breakfast dishes”. 

The only other quilter I knew at the time was Ida Vohs. I couldn’t imagine what kind of person would lecture about quilts, but I guessed she would be close to a hundred years old, and would definitely have the breakfast dishes done before she started quilting. However, I didn’t have anything better to do that evening, and the shop owner assured me that I wouldn’t be mugged walking the three blocks to the Amhearst Museum, so I decided to go. 

The room at the museum was crowded with well over a hundred enthusiastic women, and Jean Ray Laury turned out to be a witty and articulate Californian, with a master’s degree in ART from Stanford University, and she made quilts…………..as art!....and traveled around the country talking about them………..and got paid for it!!!

At that moment I knew without a doubt what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I wanted the whole package.

I went right home and designed my first completely original quilt (Red Poppies: http://www.bryerpatch.com/images/quiltrecords/RedPoppies/RedPoppies.htm ), which led to my first quilt show, my first award, my first two publications, and my first quilt in a museum collection. Fifteen years later I was the featured speaker at the same conference at the Amherst museum in Williamsville, New York.


Exhibitions and Awards:

  • none


  • none
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