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Designing Pieced Quilts
3-Session Weekend Course

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Sun., March 3–24, 10:15 a.m. to 3:15 p.m.
Code: 1K00WX

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Even when quilts were being made primarily for bedding and shelter, quilt makers used them as their canvas to express their enjoyment of color and pattern. These quilts told the stories of a culture, a time, and a place.

Jacob’s Ladder, Kansas Troubles, Bear’s Paw, Storm at Sea, Railroad Crossing, Lincoln’s Platform, Rosebud, and Rocky Road to California are some of the hundreds of patterns that were designed, printed, and shared.

Learn how to identify and draw traditional quilt blocks using the five basic grids of pieced design: four-patch, five-patch, seven-patch, nine-patch, and eight-pointed-star. Students may choose to update their designs using step-by-step exercises that take tradition into a more personal and contemporary expression.

Since the focus of this class is on design and not technique, it would be helpful for students to have taken Introduction to Quilt Making or a similar introductory class.

Instructor Jeanne Benson is an experienced teacher whose quilts have been exhibited widely. She is author of the book The Art and Technique of Appliqué.

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No class March 17

3 sessions, 5 hours each

About the Instructor

Jeanne Benson has known that she liked to make art since the eighth grade. Benson received a Bachelors degree in Art in 1970 and has continued her education in drawing and in design and sewing techniques. She is currently working toward Certification in Botanical Illustration through Brookside Gardens School of Botanical Art and Illustration. Two of her quilts are included in exhibitions with SITES (Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service): Ten of Spades with The Full Deck Art Quilt and Heart of Katell with Women of Taste: A Collaboration Celebrating Women Artists and Chefs. More..

Smithsonian Connections

Calico and Chintz: Early American Quilts from the Smithsonian American Art Museum features 22 rare pieced and whole-cloth American quilts made before 1850. View the entire exhibition online here.


S. Dillon Ripley Center
Room 3031
1100 Jefferson Dr, SW
Metro: Smithsonian (Blue/Orange Lines)