Marie D. Webster
Born in 1859, Marie Webster first began to design quilts when she was in her 50's. Color pictures of her first fourteen quilts appeared in the immensely popular Ladies' Home Journal in 1911 and 1912, bringing her nationwide fame. Marie Webster's own workmanship was superb, upholding the highest standards of the craft. She loved to make quilts, but her greatest pleasure was to inspire others to create their own handmade works of art, to be enjoyed now and cherished by their descendants for generations to come.
The demand for her patterns was so great that in 1911 she decided to start a mail order business in her home in Marion, Indiana, with the help of her sister and her son. In 1921, she joined forces with 2 friends to found the Practical Patchwork Company, selling kits, basted tops and even finished quilts. The business thrived until Marie's retirement in 1942, at the age of 83.
In 1915 Marie wrote her ground-breaking book, Quilts: Their Story and How to Make Them, the first to be entirely devoted to the subject. This highly successful book went through several editions and remains popular today. In 1990, to mark its 75th anniversary, an new edition with a biography of the author and additional photographs was published.
The Webster designs changed the look of American quilts by introducing graceful natural forms in delicate pastel shades. Many of these patterns have become classics, executed by America's leading quiltmakers and published in numerous quilt books, magazines and museum catalogues. Marie's granddaughter, Rosalind Perry, is dedicated to publishing her grandmother's unique patterns, through her company, also called Practical Patchwork in honor of her grandmother.
The first pattern book, containing 12 original patterns, is entitled A Joy Forever.
The second pattern book, Marie Webster's Garden of Quilts, is now available.
In 1991, Marie Webster was inducted into The Quilters Hall of Fame. Marie's house in Marion, Indiana, a National Historic Landmark, is now the permanent home of The Quilters Hall of Fame. The Grand Opening Celebration was held in July 2004, and the house and garden are open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Closed January and February.) For more information about the exhibits and programs of The Quilters Hall of Fame, please visit their web site: www.quiltershalloffame.net