This article investigates a fair-ribbon quilt crafted by Bernice, Irene, and Edna Rudd to reveal the multiplicity of meanings that exist in a single artifact. The quilt was pieced together in 1901 from a variety of prize ribbons won by their father, William James Rudd, for his superior North Devon cattle at regional, national, and international fairs between 1891 and 1901. Aesthetically, the quilt is beautiful and striking in its design; however, the object’s greater significance lies in its ability to express a host of meanings, including its commemoration of familial accomplishments and memories, display of individual creativity and style, expression of larger social goals and aspirations, and representation of the existence of shared interests and values among kin of both sexes. Furthermore, quilting embodies a particularly feminine art form used to fuse together people, places, and things, and to add new layers of meaning to objects, thus allowing women to act as custodians in addition to creators.

The text of this article is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.