Cowgirl Boots & Jacobean Appliqué

Cowgirl Boots & Jacobean Appliqué

During the month of November, we’ve been taking part in a 30-day Instagram and Twitter challenge called #museum30, in which museums and museum professionals share a look into the work we do based on daily one-word prompts. For day 17, the prompt was “unique,” and we decided to share something that wouldn’t normally be found in a quilt museum: a pair of bright floral cowgirl boots!

The boots belonged to quilter, author, and teacher Patricia (Pat) Campbell (1941-2013). Those of you familiar with her work will recognize her style in these instantly. Pat, who claimed the color magenta as her “neutral,” was renowned for her appliqué skills and design work, and pioneered a Jacobean appliqué style using bold, bright colors; featuring flowers, birds, and swirling vines in elaborate combinations.

One of her most well-known quilts is Jacobean Arbor, pictured below. It was a big hit in 1990, when using black as a background for neon colors was considered a bold move. And as you can see by her many award ribbons, it was a great choice!

Jacobean Arbor is now part of the museum’s collection, and one of 33 gorgeous quilts Pat donated to us. In addition to the quilts, we were also given her portfolios full of original drawings and patterns, fabric sample cards from the lines she designed for Benartex and Timeless Treasures, photos like the ones included here, several silk scarves, and the boots. It’s wonderful to be able to see the range of her artistic processes and inspirations.

The boots were made by M. L. Leddy’s, in Fort Worth - a “Handmade Texas Legend.” While we don’t know much about how she came to own them, Pat must have treasured them. Like the boot-making Leddy family, Pat was proud of her Texan identity, and incorporated it into both her personal style and her quilts. She called Texas “an attitude, not just a place.”1

Pat rocking a different but equally fabulous pair of boots

Quilts of Pat’s such as Mexicali Rose, Sashay to Santa Fe, and Tex-Mas are examples of how she creatively brought Texas and appliqué quilting together. Since we’re near the holiday season, we hung Tex-Mas (made in 1994) in the museum’s gallery last week.

It’s full of Southwestern flair, including a chili-pepper wreath and of course, cowgirl boots. It’s also embellished with sparkling yarns, ribbons, and metal conchos.

Here’s a peek at the label on the back, complete with hand-drawn details:

We are so proud to be able to share Pat’s work and honor her legacy, whether through hanging her quilts in our gallery (or other museums’ galleries!), creating Block of the Month patterns based on her quilts and style (find the free pattern here!), or by sharing what we know about her through this blog and our social media. The atrium within the museum
has also been designated as the “Patricia B. Campbell Memorial Garden” by her husband, John Van Pelt. We love telling her story, and are so honored to be the museum who shares her work with the world.

Pat in her signature magenta, in front of the prize-winning Jacobean Arbor

1 Marcia Simmons, “Appetizing Appliqués,” Dallas Life Magazine, February 14, 1993.

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