I am not an expert in 19th century quilts. My research expertise has been focused on the contemporary quilt movement, which emerged in the 1950s, and which I wrote about in my book Uncommon Threads: Ohio's Art Quilt Revolution. Two of my friends, however, happen to be world renowned experts in quilt history: Virginia Gunn and Ricky Clark. I first met Virginia in 1988 when we moved back to Ohio from Philadelphia. She was presenting a program on quilt dating, and participants had brought quilts for her to look at. Recently retired from the University of Akron, Gunn is still teaching courses at the International Quilt Study Center. Seven years ago or so, we had both been invited to speak at the Ohio Historical Society in celebration of Ohio's bicentennial, as had Ricky. Having recently received a family heirloom quilt of my own, I decided to bring it along, so I could show it to Virginia. Having told her nothing about it, she took one look at it, and said, "This quilt was made in Knox County, Ohio in 1840; I recognize the fabric." I was stunned, and she was right. That's how good she is.
I met Ricky Clark around the same time I first met Virginia. I attended a program on quilt history that Ricky was presenting related to the Ohio quilt documentation project she was conducting. Over the years, Ricky truly became a mentor, enthusiastically supporting my artwork production and my interest in quilt research. It was she who suggested that Ohio University Press approach me to write a book; it was she who gave me all of her old Quilter's Newsletter Magazines, and generously shared her other research materials. It was she who invited me to serve as co-curator for several exhibitions she assembled, and it was she who suggested that I take over as curator of the Artist as Quiltmaker exhibition, which she had founded in the early 1980s.
When Christine emailed me the picture of her quilt, I responded with my initial observations, then immediately went to put my hands on two of Ricky's books, which I knew contained detailed information about the style of quilt in question.