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Spoken Without A Word Quilt Making History in Our Every Day Lives
Stitching Revivalist Baltimore Album Quilts!
When did the Turn of the 20th Century Baltimore Album Quilt Revival Start?

1982: The Baltimore Museum of Art

1983: Spoken Without a Word is released, the first of five printings: Within a year of that Baltimore Exhibition, in 1983, Turtle Hill Press (my imprint) published its first and only book, Spoken Without A Word, A Lexicon of Symbols with 24 Classic Baltimore Album Quilt Patterns. It brought quilters patterns - and challenged them (by a contest) to stitch them. Charlotte Patera wrote me that her book Cutaway Appliqué (1983) by needleturn would be perfect for making SWAW’s Heart pattern. Stitching that block, her way, changed my life: I became a dedicated appliqué-ist… and began teaching others to do so, too.

1989: Baltimore Beauties and Beyond, Volume I debuts and remains in print almost three decades. Many credit this first in a series of BAQ lesson boos as teaching them the ways of Baltimore Albums. The multi-volume Baltimore Beauties series begun in 1989 - has done just that - gone beyond, both in style and in time. It invited the reader to learn, then teach from its pages. At the time of its publication, books did not do this. There was a feeling of inhibition about "copying" another's work. But imitation is how classic art has always been learned. Across the industrialized world, appliqué itself was being revived. 2013 will be Spoken Without a Word’s 30th Anniversary and, arguably, the 30th Anniversary of the Baltimore Album Revival itself. Year’s ago, I wrote in one of my books, "Baltimore’s historic beauty, rejuvenated, intrigues us and salves our spirit. Teachers and shop owners note a new revival within a revival, citing great numbers of beginners sojourning with Album appliqué. Some of these beginners look so young – and I smile, realizing they are me at that age. But why Baltimore style Albums? They are beautiful, no question. But the world is full of beautiful quilts. Why did these particular quilts so catch our hearts, so that early in the 1980s a Baltimore Revival began?"

2014: In this revived, Commemorative 30th Anniversary Edition of Spoken Without a Word — the elegantly old black-on-cream original book, is embraced by a thoughtful Foreword on where we were, where we now are; and a surprising forward-looking Afterword. Full-color galleries bookend the quaint original book and feature the work-of-our hands: The antiquarian reflected in the new; the new stitched with awe, in homage to the old. We now understand that contributing Needleartists were the wings beneath so many Albums of old, as they have been of my Baltimore Beauties® books. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.



Copyright 2009 by Elly Sienkiewicz