Art Awareness Logo

Cigar or Tobacco Rectangles Quilt by Theresa Zett Smith

Bedcover Made from Cigar or Tobacco Rectangles by Theresa Zett Smith

Quiltmaking began in the Middle East as padded armor lining. The idea was brought to Europe where quilts became popular for adding extra layers to clothing and bedding to increase their warmth. American quiltmaking began as a way to recycle worn cloth into bed coverings. In the beginning any shape of scrap fabric was sewn together to form what was called 'crazy quilts'. As fabric became more readily available, square and rectangular pieces would be laid out first to create the desired design. Ladies worked on small blocks of a quilt, then got together in a Quilting Bee session to complete the quilt.

This quilt was made in 1913 from the top sheets (lining) of Cigar boxes. Theresa Zett Smith made this quilt to celebrate the birth of her nephew. In those days the top sheets of cigar boxes were collected like we collect baseball cards today.

Questions to Ask

What is the first thing you see when you look at this print? This is the focal point. The focal point is what first draws your eye, something that stands out. Hint — the American flag

Do you notice something about the American flag? Why do you think the American flag is flying in the opposite direction of every other flag in this quilt?

Do you think a quilt is art?

Are all the rectangles the same size? Why or why not? Hint — it would depend on the size of the cigar box

What color does the artist use repeatedly?

Activities for the Classroom

Bring in quilts from home to show to the students. Ask the Committee for quilt examples. Sanet has a great example of a quilt that can be borrowed for the lesson, showing how a quilt can capture history and tell a story.

Provide the children with pieces of cut scrapbooking or other patterned paper to design their own quilts. The colorful paper can be pasted onto a white sheet of paper, individual ones to take home, or a large one to create a classroom quilt.

These rectangles are all of flags. Let the children design their own flag, then make a Theresa Zett Smith inspired flag quilt for the classroom.

Provide each child with a quilt template (included in the additional information pdf file) and let them design their own quilt.

Back to Lessons More Information Contact Us