Event Calendar

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Greta Mikkelsen: Tobacco Silks Reimagined

Greta Mikkelsen: Tobacco Silks Reimagined, May 2–August 11, 2019, at the Wisconsin Museum of Quilts & Fiber Arts (WMQFA) debuts Mikkelsen’s stunning contemporary quilts inspired by antique tobacco silks. Found in cigarette packages, tobacco silks were used at the turn of the twentieth century as a marketing strategy intended to increase competition among brands and ultimately to entice women to smoke. Women clientele were encouraged to collect the precious silk inserts with images of glamorous women, decorative objects, birds and flowers, among others, and incorporate them into sewing projects.

Mikkelsen became fascinated by tobacco silks when she saw them fashioned into a lustrous vintage pillow top. Captivated by the dichotomy between the preciousness of the silk inserts and the insidiousness of the marketing and manufacturing of the tobacco products they represented, she began integrating the silks into handcrafted quilts that preserve the medium’s delicacy and timeworn qualities while reimagining their context.

The exhibition features twenty-three quilts by Mikkelsen on view for the first time. Each quilt presents a collection of a given motif – ceramic art, types of seashells and actresses, to name a few, are grouped together in Mikkelsen’s sensitive designs. Enhancing the physical qualities of the silks, Mikkelsen hand-pieces each quilt with silk taffeta and dupioni, vintage silk sari and kimono fabrics, hand-dyed silk ribbon, beads and satin embroidery floss. Every quilt presents an opportunity for Mikkelsen to experiment with material, color, pattern and execution. Taken together, the quilts speak to the allure of stylish collectibles and the exploitation of desire from a bygone era.


Date(s): 05/02/2019 to 08/11/2019

Cost: ADMISSION $8 per person $7 for Seniors 65 and older $5 for Students and Children 6 and older WMQFA Members and Children under 6 are free (become a Member)





Wisconsin Museum of Quilts & Fiber Arts
Cedarburg, Wisconsin United States