QuiltCon 2016: Molly Upton

The Quilts of Molly Upton, a special exhibition sponsored by Bloc-loc at QuiltCon West 2016 in Pasadena, was a bit of a showstopper. All the quilts were done in the 1974-1976 timeframe, before Molly died in 1977 at age 23. A watercolorist, sculptor and quilt artist, her quilts were shown in the first major museum exhibition of non-traditional quilts, The New American Quilt at New York’s Museum of Arts and Design in 1976.

“Molly Upton (1953-1977) was a pioneer in the nascent art quilt movement of the 1970′.While others around her were making traditional quilts of the few available calicos, Molly found a way to paint with the many other fabrics available to her -velvets, silks, corduroy, and polyester blends.

Molly Upton’s quilts range from huge to tiny, but all exhibit a mastery of color, rhythm, and composition. Molly left this planet at the age of 23, leaving us a legacy of many quilts, most of them exhibited here”.

A legacy it is.

Summer Pine, 1974, by Molly Upton

Summer Pine, 1974, by Molly Upton

Summer Pine, 1974, by Molly Upton

Summer Pine, 1974, by Molly Upton

Blades 1974 by Molly Upton

Blades 1974 by Molly Upton

Blades 1974 by Molly Upton

Blades 1974 by Molly Upton

Construction, 1975, by Molly Upton

Construction, 1975, by Molly Upton

Construction, 1975, by Molly Upton

Construction, 1975, by Molly Upton

Symbol-Self Portrait Without a Mirror, 1975, by Molly Upton

Symbol-Self Portrait Without a Mirror, 1975, by Molly Upton

Symbol-Self Portrait Without a Mirror, 1975, by Molly Upton

Symbol-Self Portrait Without a Mirror, 1975, by Molly Upton

The Overcoat, 1976, by Molly Upton

The Overcoat, 1976, by Molly Upton

The Overcoat, 1976, by Molly Upton

The Overcoat, 1976, by Molly Upton

Watchtower, 1975, by Molly Upton

Watchtower, 1975, by Molly Upton

Watchtower, 1975, by Molly Upton

Watchtower, 1975, by Molly Upton

Pine Winter, 1974, by Molly Upton

Pine Winter, 1974, by Molly Upton

Pine Winter, 1974, by Molly Upton

Pine Winter, 1974, by Molly Upton

Trip Around the Block, 1965, by Molly Upton

Trip Around the Block, 1965, by Molly Upton

Trip Around the Block, 1965, by Molly Upton

Trip Around the Block, 1965, by Molly Upton

Nocturn Regalis, 1974, by Molly Upton

Nocturn Regalis, 1974, by Molly Upton

Nocturn Regalis, 1974, by Molly Upton

Nocturn Regalis, 1974, by Molly Upton

Greek 1974 by Molly Upton

Greek 1974 by Molly Upton

Greek 1974 by Molly Upton

Greek 1974 by Molly Upton

Fanfare 1975 by Molly Upton

Fanfare 1975 by Molly Upton

Fanfare 1975 by Molly Upton

Fanfare 1975 by Molly Upton

Bordering on Humor, 1974, by Molly Upton

Bordering on Humor, 1974, by Molly Upton

Bordering on Humor, 1974, by Molly Upton

Bordering on Humor, 1974, by Molly Upton

7 thoughts on “QuiltCon 2016: Molly Upton

  1. Molly was a dear dear childhood friend of mine. It is such a deep pleasure to see her quilts and know she has not been forgotten. She was a beauty inside and out, so talented, so much fun, such a dear, good friend and person. I’m 62 now, and I still miss her. Thank you for writing about her and posting pictures of her amazing work. Karen Mulvaney

    Like

  2. I remember Molly Upton from long ago. She was quilting before I started in 1979 and we were all doing beautiful but quite staid quilts. Then I saw her stuff! With what she had to work with, her work is a miracle of amazing. Hard to believe she was so young and producing work like this out of nothing. Heartbreak when she died like she did but her work is always in the moment and true to itself.

    Like

  3. I think if one didn’t know that these quilts were made 50 years ago, they could easily be mistaken for “modern” quilts. Using old clothes to make quilts, using low value(volume) fabrics to create “negative” space, using more than cross-hatching in the quilting itself, using a story for the quilt theme……everything old is new again.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s