When Kadella, an African princess from Barbados, constructed an intricately hand-appliquéed quilt (c. 1810-1820) using blossoms cut from French chintz, she could have never imagined that the primitive quilt would become a focal point exhibit in the Historic Carson House in Marion, North Carolina. Nor could Kadella have fathomed that a representation of her quilt pattern would be digitally printed by Spoonflower onto a Silke Crepe de Chine scarf worn by her descendent, Regina Lynch-Hudson.
As the family’s history chronicler, Regina Lynch-Hudson dubbed the garment, Kadella’s Pride Scarf. The quilt-inspired scarf symbolizes the profound irony of her ancestor’s plight: as former royalty, Princess Kadella found herself an ocean away from her native land and her high status as a noble, in a position of submission and servitude as slave and presumed mistress to master Colonel John Carson.
Legend suggests that Princess Kadella’s feisty pride remained fiercely intact, despite her dire circumstances. A revolutionary woman, Kadella was reportedly carted around by fellow slaves in an elevated sedan chair, an uncommon and grandiose mode of transport for a person of bondage. The prolific quiltmaker refused to do ordinary work assigned to slaves. She was exempted from manual labor by Colonel John Carson and allowed to pursue needlework in her own private cabin. Lynch-Hudson feels that the lauded quilt begins to help one unravel the fabric of Kadella’s paradoxical existence of both vulnerability and tenacity.
As a self-described “reviver” of ancestral treasures, Lynch-Hudson says that Spoonflower’s printing process enabled her to upload a digitally-manipulated rendering of her foremother’s masterpiece, and transform it into a cherished heirloom on a yard of Silk Crepe de Chine. The 3-foot-square head wrap can also be worn as a shawl, or tied around the hip as a sash.
Spoonflower printed a 98” by 103” quilt pattern onto 1 yard of Silk Crepe de Chine which Lynch-Hudson’s seamstress made into a 36 “ by 36” silk scarf.
Kadella’s original homespun work of art has been sallowed by time, but Lynch-Hudson’s scarf-version of the coverlet is reincarnated on an ivory-hued background, which is how it would have looked when crafted by her great-great-great-great-grandmother over two hundred years ago.
“Some measure of dignity is bestowed when people are able to exercise their God-powered passion versus being relegated to forced labor,” surmises Lynch-Hudson. The stunning craftsmanship of the elaborately stitched Broderie Perse Quilt reveals the precision and meticulousness of a master quilter. “The quilt is among the finest examples of quilt-making of the 18th and 19th century in North America,” states Historic Carson House Historian Dr. Jim Haney, citing information derived from conservators of textile at the nearby Biltmore Estate. Kadella’s romantic floral-clad quilt wielded a fanciful garden of wildly sprouting blooms, restrained in a medallion motif. Lush petals of textured peach and persimmon-hued flowers rise up from the quilt’s surface─some delicate, others bold, all echoing an unapologetic strength and refreshing resilience. “The lavish bouquet was Kadella’s enduring gift to her forebears,” says Lynch-Hudson.
Lynch-Hudson’s scarf was designed solely for personal use and not for reproduction. Want to make an heirloom scarf of your own? Check out our tutorial for how to make a silk scarf from newspaper clippings.
About Our Guest Author: Regina Lynch-Hudson is an ever-creative former guest of HGTV who has curated hundreds of historical documents and vintage photographs that she plans to transform into décor accessories that celebrate her vibrant history and culture. She has stepped into the role of Historical Merchandiser for Spoonflower, acting as a liaison to house museums, plantations and iconic historical hospitality landmarks who desire to expand their mass-merchandise lines.
©Photos of Publicist Regina Lynch-Hudson and Historic Carson House historian, Dr. Jim Haney, courtesy of The Write Publicist & Co. For any query with respect to this article or permission for photo usage, please contact Regina at [email protected]