By Nancye Tuttle

Sun Correspondent

LOWELL -- Silk -- it's a word that evokes feelings of sumptuous opulence, whether worn in a scrumptious garment or draped lushly on the bed.

The New England Quilt Museum pays tribute to the luxurious fabric in Silk!, an exhibition of antique and contemporary art quilts on view now through July 7 at the museum, located at 18 Shattuck St.

Silk quilts are documented in household inventories of wealthy Europeans as far back as the Middle Ages, and they were some of the first luxury items brought to America with the early colonists.

The exhibit features one such quilt, either made in or brought to Salem, Mass., by 1800. Another early piece showcases how Quakers used silk to protest slavery in the cotton-producing South.

Composition by Michael James
Composition by Michael James

There are also mid-19th century quilts that pay tribute to the quilt artistry of that times, including the Crazy Quilt fad of the late 1800s.

Other quilts featured include some made of fiber that mimics it, including cotton, rayon and polyester. And there are recent quilts from the 1990s, when silk enjoyed a revival and artists painted surfaces and joined layers to make quilts or used silk elements to give sparkle to predominantly cotton quilts.

Visit www.nequiltmuseum.org/exhibitions.html for info.

Art picks

  • RAMBLING AROUND: The Concord Museum presents a series of nature rambles this spring and summer in conjunction with its exhibit Early Spring: Henry Thoreau and Climate Change, which opened last week and runs through Sept. 15. The first takes place Saturday, April 27, 2-4 p.m., and features Peter Alden, a well-known naturalist, lecturer and guide, who will lead a bird walk at White Pond in Concord to explore the great blue heron colony. $15; $13 for members.
    Photograph by Cherrie Corey, who is leading the Concord Museum Nature Ramble on May 4
    Photograph by Cherrie Corey, who is leading the Concord Museum Nature Ramble on May 4
    Visit www.concordmuseum.org for details and reservations.
  • SAVE THE DATE: Art & Culture in Lowell: Challenges and Opportunities is the theme of the 2013 COOL Annual Breakfast, taking place Wednesday, May 22, 7:30-9 a.m. at Middlesex Community College's Federal Building Assembly Room, 50 Kearney Square. On tap are the COOL Year-in-Review, guest speakers and the presentation of the COOLest Person in Lowell Award. $25, general admission; $10, artists and students. 978-674-4260 for info.
  • BRUNCH FOR MOM: With Mother's Day but 2 1/2 weeks away, the Worcester Art Museum will host an Artistic Contemporary Brunch on Sunday, May 12. Catered by Russell Morin Fine Catering, the meal will be buffet-style at 10:30 a.m. or 1 p.m. seatings in the art-filled museum. $31.95 for adults; $16.95 for children 12 and younger. 508-793-4328 or www.worcesterart.org for info and reservations.

Nancye Tuttle's email is nancyedt@verizon.net.