Contemporary Quilts of Mimi Dietrich
Mimi Dietrich is one of Maryland’s and the nation’s most accomplished quilters. She has traveled nationwide to teach quilting, and in 2013 the International Association of Creative Arts Professionals named her Professional Quilt Teacher of the Year. In 2015 she was inducted into The Quilters Hall of Fame. Hometown Girl tells Mimi Dietrich’s story as a life-long Marylander and Baltimore native, and draws inspiration from the many students she taught over 35 years.
Image, large: Baltimore Hon quilt. Fused appliqué by Mimi Dietrich; machine-quilted by Maria O’Haver. 2013.
Image, small: Mimi Dietrich, courtesy of Kathleen Hertel.
The Story Behind the Exhibition
Mimi Dietrich has a long history of working with the MCHC quilt collection, beginning in 1993 with the MCHC exhibition, Lavish Legacies: Baltimore Album Quilts, 1845-1855, when she lectured and gave a workshop that coincided with the exhibition. In 2001, she and members of the Baltimore Appliqué Society (BAS) prepared quilts for the MCHC exhibition, The Baltimore Album Quilt Tradition. Between 2011 and 2015, Ms. Dietrich was a key member of the volunteer group that catalogued and rehoused the MCHC quilt collection. Additionally, in 2014, MCHC selected Ms. Dietrich to appliqué the stars on a reproduction Star Spangled Banner and lead 200 volunteers in the effort.
“Mimi is truly a ‘hometown girl’ whose philosophy of teaching centers on Baltimore and her love of Maryland translates into her quilts,” said Alexandra Deutsch, former Vice President of Collections and Interpretation at MCHC. “She believes every Baltimore quilter should know about the history of quilts in her hometown.”
Ms. Dietrich’s quilting technique focuses on appliqué, which involves stitching smaller pieces of fabric onto a larger piece of fabric in a decorative manner. It is the signature technique used in Baltimore Album Quilts, which have been a source of inspiration for Ms. Dietrich.
Baltimore Album Quilts are an original Maryland art form that dates to the 1840s and 1850s. Individual cloth squares—sometimes over 40 unique blocks—were fabricated by individuals who were often friends or family members. Completed squares were then arranged in a grid to create a pleasing pattern and were stitched together to form a whole.
To date, MCHC boasts almost 60 quilts made in the Album Quilt style and is considered one of the country’s foremost quilt repositories. Some of these quilts were on display in the Hometown Girl exhibition.
Generous support for this exhibition was provided by Baltimore Appliqué Society, Spring Water Designs Quilting-Columbia Maryland, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Hodges Stansbury, and University of Maryland, Baltimore County.