Sunday, October 22, 2023

Blanche Greenstein – Quilt & Hooked Rug Authority…


BLANCHE GREENSTEIN, a leading authority on antique textiles passed away at home in New York City, October 14, 2023. Blanche was so kind to pick up the phone or answer my emails on a number of occasions regarding hooked rugs.


A recent photo from Woodard & Greenstein Antiques shop showing 2 antique hooked rugs for sale – a Grenfell & a Pennsylvania rug.

Over the years, she had bought & sold many a hooked rug - including ones attributed to James & Mercedes Hutchinson & Magdalena Briner Eby. The last time I spoke to her, I was privileged to share a little Hutchinson insight, & it was a pleasure chat with someone who had a mutual passion. Here are a couple of the Hutchinson rugs that passed through Blanche’s hands…

A Fair Exchange Is No Robbery

This rug was exhibited in The Great Cover-up, American Rugs on Beds, Tables & Floors, at the American Folk Art Museum, New York City, New York in 2007

The Kiss, Something Made of Nothing (But Tasting Very Sweet)

This rug was exhibited in The Great Cover-up, American Rugs on Beds, Tables & Floors, at the American Folk Art Museum, New York City, New York in 2007


She will be missed in the antique world for her wealth of knowledge, talent & contributions. My condolences go out to her longtime life & business partner Tom Woodard & the rest of her family.


If you aren’t familiar with Blanche, I thought you might enjoy reading a little about her life & work… Blanche was born in the Bronx, New York, to Libby and Ben Greenstein in 1939. Graduate of New York University. A former stylist for photographers and television producers, her interest in antique textiles began as a hobby. This was the genesis of what became Woodard & Greenstein Antiques, a leading source for American Quilt Collectors in the US, Canada, South America, Europe, Australia and the Far East.




As a specialist in antique quilts and American folk art, she co-authored Classic American Quilts, Classic Crib Quilts, The Poster Book of Quilts, and 20th-Century Quilts 1900-1950.

In 1971, Thomas K Woodard & Blanche Greenstein opened their first shop on Lexington Avenue selling American Antiques, specializing in Antique Quilts. Their gallery presented special exhibitions, including rare collections of Shaker furnishings and antique Garden Furnishings. A long list of celebrities frequented their gallery in New York City. 

Blanche & Tom with some of their Quilts in 1991.

Kate Winslet appeared on the cover & inside the November 2013 issue of VOGUE magazine. While Tom & Blanche were known for textiles & furniture, they also sold other antiques. Kate was wearing some of their antique jewelry in this Vogue issue & it was noted in the article. Kate was one of many celebrity clientele of Woodard & Greenstein

 With Tom, Blanche served as a guest curator for the Museum of American Folk Art's 1979 exhibition of Hawaiian Quilts, the first time the collection was shown on the mainland. 

One of the Hawaiian Quilts from the Exhibit.

Her interest in restoration led the pair to projects involving the saving of several 18th- and 19th- Century houses and New England barns which were moved to Eastern Long Island, faithfully restored, and filled with American antiques. Photographs of these projects published in Architectural Digest, Elle Decor, World of Interiors, Country Living, and other publications and books on historic design.

Tom & Blanche with Nina Williams (holding the shovel), editor of Country Living / Country Gardens Magazine - as they take a break from a 1992 photo shoot to imitate the famous Grant Wood painting.

An old barn on Wainscott, Long Island, decorated by them. Photo in Country Living Magazine, April 1997, page 143. Do you recognize the hooked rug over the mantle?

Dogs, Cats, Birds, and Turtle

attributed to Magdalena Briner Eby

Rug Hooking Traditions with Magdalena Briner Eby book, page 49  

A bedroom in a house they decorated in the 1990s. Photo in Country Living Magazine in July 1992. Note the charming Owl hooked rug above the bed.

For many years, they were exhibitors at major antiques shows in New York, London, and others. Friends of Art of US Embassies, which places American art in embassies throughout the world, received a quilt from Woodard and Greenstein for their collection.

Woodard & Greenstein Antique booth at the Olympia Fair in London, England in 1990.

Woodard & Greenstein Antique shop on Madison Avenue circa 1994.

Woodard & Greenstein Antique shop in Architectural Digest, September 1982. Great horse hooked rug over the bed.

Woodard & Greenstein Antique shop on Madison Avenue circa 1980s. Lovely hooked rug over the drysink.

In 2004, the Woodward & Greenstein began designing & manufacturing their exclusive collection of WOODARD WEAVE handwoven and hooked rugs in authentic American designs - based on 19th-century American Shaker and Amish designs.


The exterior of the shop, the window displays both antiques & their line of WOODARD WEAVE HANDWOVEN RUGS. In the bottom left corner is an antique Teddy Roosevelt campaign bandanna/scarf (circa 1912). I love this photo – as I have that exact bandanna!

The Woodard Weave Handwoven Rug/Runner is installed on the staircase.

An ad for Woodard Weave Handwoven Rugs – Classic stripes & colors. So very Americana!

Blanche's exquisite, unerring taste, along with her passion for American quilts and folk art, have set the bar very high. She has inspired us all to always seek the exceptional, when only the best will do.

A more recent Woodard & Greenstein booth at an Antique Show.

Spend some time enjoying your ANTIQUES today --- they have value, tell a story & add pleasure to our lives! Teach the next generation about antiques!


For more info on the Magdalena Briner Eby or James & Mercedes Hutchinson hooked rugs please check our website:


Thank! Kathy

Sunday, September 17, 2023


I have a short story for you today about a celebrity hooked rug collector "couple"! As I was reading through my Maine Antique Digest, I came across the results of not 1 but a series of 3 auctions held from May 27 to June 13 at the prestigious Sotheby’s in New York City. The article said that the auctions attracted over 800 bidders from more than 30 countries, and sales totaled $4.3 million. WOW! 

Paul Newman & Joanne Woodward after their 1958 wedding ceremony in Las Vegas. Joanne’s dress was among the auction items.

This vast auction of automotive & racing memorabilia, entertainment & film memorabilia, fine & folk art, decorative arts, furniture, watches, & jewelry was titled: A LIFE & LEGACY: THE JOANNE WOODWARD & PAUL NEWMAN COLLECTION.

Joanne in 1990, after receiving her bachelor of arts degree from Sarah Lawrence College in New York, with her supportive husband.

The auctions were described as…

The World of Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman draws back the curtains of the stars’ personal lives, unveiling a retrospective and intimate point of view of the couple’s thrilling, yet exclusive world that existed outside of the limelight. The collection includes mementos from their love story, including Joanne’s wedding dress. Other highlights include scripts, costumes and other film memorabilia, as well as keepsakes from the passions they held outside the acting world, like racing, ballet and philanthropy. The couple were passionate Americana collectors and the sale includes a vast selection of early Americana and English furniture, décor, and fine art.

The Newman-Woodward family in Beverly Hills, 1965. Top row, from left: Nell, Susan, Scott. Bottom row, from left, Joanne, Paul, Clea, Lissy & Stephanie.

Newman and Woodward, who primarily resided in Westport, Connecticut, but also had a home in New York City and, briefly, in Los Angeles, personified “shabby chic” before shabby chic was even a thing, said Mari-Claudia Jiménez, Sotheby’s managing director and worldwide head of business development, Global Fine Arts.

The auction items were gathered primarily from the couple’s Westport, Connecticut, and New York City homes. Sotheby’s Americana specialist Caroline Tamposi had this to say about the couple’s folk art objects… “If they liked it, they liked it. They didn’t care about provenance.”

Paul and Joanne made about 15 movies together, but Joanne, who was a movie star before he was, threw herself into the raising of their children and the keeping of their homes. “They weren’t the Architectural Digest type,” said Jiménez. “They cultivated homes that somebody wanted to live in and they were surrounding themselves with the objects they wanted to see every day.” The pair frequented flea markets and antique shows, and were constantly loading up on new treasures. “They were thrifty and thoughtful,” said Jiménez. “It wasn’t like, I went to Sotheby’s and spent $10m on a painting. It was: I found this great find and I loved it.”

Westport House

 I thought you might enjoy some photos & info on this house, which seems to be their “normal life” home & a retreat from celebrity life. The earliest portion of the main residence, known as the Ebenezer Coley House, is a well-preserved Colonial Saltbox built circa 1763. Kirby Grimes, noted Hamptons architect, designed the newer addition, which adds functionality and comfort yet echoes the saltbox form and brings the total square footage to 6,442. The transitional space from the old house to new addition has seven sets of French doors to the rear patio and wisteria-entwined pergola.  For more info info on the Westport House: Click Here  

5th Avenue Penthouse in Carnegie Hill, New York City

While I couldn’t find much in the way of photos or info on this home, it seems like this was the working home of the homes - where they would be much more engaged with their careers.

Paul in the 5th Ave NYC Penthouse, back in 1984.

 The Couple’s Hooked Rugs


Among the folk art for sale in these auctions, there were 2 hooked rugs listed:

 An American 'Homestead' Pictorial Hooked Area Rug, Circa 1920, 31 x 51 in.


An American 'Lion' Pictorial Hooked Rug, probably Ebenezer Ross & Co., Ohio, Circa 1900, 35 ¾ x 59 ½ in. Depicting a recumbent lion and standing lion in a landscape, worked in various wools. This rug was located in Paul and Joanne's barn in Westport, Connecticut. 


In a 1994 New York Times article about McAdoo Rugs, located in Vermont, it mentions some of McAdoo's famous customers – one of which was Paul Newman. So, we know that Paul & Joanne also owned at least one contemporary McAdoo rug - at one time. 

Joanne Woodward – Fiber Art

According to these auctions, Joanne created some fiber art herself. Here are the auction lots backing this up…

'Mischievous Fox' Needlepoint Cover by Joanne Woodward Newman, Circa 1975, 15 x 11 ½ x 24 in. Initialed and dated lower left JWN 1975, mounted on a modern footstool.


An American Crewelwork Panel, possibly by Joanne Woodward, circa 1965-1985, sight 17 x 19 in

The Auction Series

For more info on the auctions & a lovely little video narrated by Sotheby’s & the Newman children: Click here    


As with all my Blog posts, I hope you enjoy the story, history & fiber art! Have a beautiful day filled with some creativity!


Thursday, June 15, 2023

The Honeymoon – Alone At Last!

The Honeymoon – Alone At Last!... is another wonderful hooked rug attributed to James & Mercedes Hutchinson - which will be exhibited at Rug Hooking Week at Sauder Village on August 16-19, 2023 in Archbold, Ohio. Be sure to come & see it along with 600-800 other contemporary & historic hooked rugs – at the largest annual rug hooking & fiber art event in North America!


This rug is filled with love & romance© You can see it in this couple’s eyes. 

They are dressed in their Victorian finest. He is a typical Hutchinson dapper gent with a mustache & it looks like he’s about to give her as kiss. Perhaps they have just arrived at their honeymoon hotel & are gazing out the window (note the curtains, which enclose & cozy up the scene). Did you notice the beautiful floral carpetbag (Victorian luggage), it’s there at the left. The Hutchinsons have done it again & set the scene so well!

This rug, not previously exhibited in the RHW 2016 Hutchinson Exhibit... is on loan to the 2023 exhibit from a private collector, but was formerly owned by Barbara Packer. I had such a wonderful response from my last post about Penny Marshall, I thought I would share the story about this rug’s former owner – a talented & brilliant lady!

Barbara (Karlow) Packer

1942 - 2022

Barbara grew up in Mount Vernon, New York & graduated from A. B. Davis High School. She focused on 18th century English literature for her Bachelor of Arts at NYU & Masters of Arts at Univ of Louisville.

Fiber Artist – Hooked Rugs

While working on her Ph.D., Barbara started hooking rugs. According to her daughter Heidi, this was one of the first ventures into fiber art, but certainly wouldn’t be her last. Barbara designed & created hooked rugs and quilts which were featured in museums and various prestigious publications. 

Above are 2 marvelous examples of hooked rugs designed & hooked by Barbara Packer.  (These photos were shared by her daughter Heidi.) One thing that you will notice is that Barbara loved geometric patterns, and they appear in all her art forms. Most of her hooked rugs have either been sold (through her business as an artist) or are in the hands of family and friends.

Fiber Artist - Quilts

Barbara then studied color & design at the Fashion Institute of Technology (part of the State Univ of NY) & the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan. Stitching hundreds of fabric pieces together to form quilts in intricate color patterns. These quilts gained her international acclaim & recognition as a quilt maker. These quilts which were featured in museums & various prestigious publications.


Quilt photos are from The Quilt: New Directions for an American Tradition by Quilt National


Quilt photos are from Barbara’s book: The State of the Art Quilt: Contemporary Quilts for the Collector

All of the above are magnificent examples of Barbara’s contemporary art quilts. The 2 directly above represent well known chess openings.  As a chess player, Barbara became fascinated with the 2-dimensionality or flatness of the chess board. These works are 2 efforts at exploring this characteristic common to paintings & quilts. While the maquettes (preliminary sketch) appeared flat, the actual quilts show unexpected special illusion!

As the editor of the book: The State of the Art Quilt: Contemporary Quilts for the Collector, Barbara states in the preface “The objective of Quilt Expo (once an annual exhibition at Sands Point Preserve, Sands Point, New York, this one was in 1985) is twofold: to present a pictorial survey of today’s quilt scene for examination by the collector, and to direct serious attend to the study of the contemporary quilt as an art form.” She goes on to say “The present volume is intended to continue the admirable work of its predecessors but also to suggest another path: namely, the study of quilts in the context of art, not merely craft, history.” She advised collectors… ”Very simply, buying contemporary quilts is a good investment.”

Barbara discovered that many of her original quilt designs were being reprinted in magazines without attribution or compensation. So, she started researching copyright law – which brought her to law school & her 2nd career, in litigation.

Fiber Artist – Knitter & Crocheter

Knitting & crocheting were not quit as passionate a pursuit as the other fiber arts in Barbara’s life, according to daughter Heidi. They were more of a pleasurable hobby. Barbara enjoyed creating colorful & geometric patterns in knitted & crocheted pillows, sweaters, scarfs & other wearable art & décor. 

Lawyer & Litigator

Barbara was a top lawyer & litigator, practiced at Waters McPherson McNeill law firm.

She served on the Charles & Mildred Schnumacher Foundation Board for over 20 years. The Foundation focuses on charitable giving. They value the importance of enhancing & improving the lives of others, supporting diverse programs in the fields of human services, education, Jewish causes, health, performing arts, scientific research & animal advocacy.

Barbara championed many worthy organizations with a particular passion for Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism.

Jewelry Artist

After several futile attempts to repair a broken necklace of treasured antique trade beads, Barbara became so intrigued that she took a course in beading & learned the Japanese method of knotting. This stimulated her to try her hand at “quilting” seed beads around a core.

Barbara “seamlessly” transitioned from stitching hundreds of fabric pieces into 2-dimensional quilts to weaving thousands of minuscule glass beads into 3-dimensional globes. From this concept, Barbara created unique necklaces, earrings & bracelets. That marked the start of her 3rd career.

Living in New York City, she’d long been involved in the city’s cultural life, where she found inspiration – such as the costumes at the opera & ballet. Each piece of jewelry was customized & sold to private clients or at major juried art & antiques shows.

She accomplished her goal of handcrafting an original expression applicable to contemporary usage by using a sustainable, renewable & common material, i.e., sand fused into glass - & she redefined the seed bead industry with one-of-a-kind, fine handcrafted jewelry.

New York City

In 2000, Barbara married Ira Weinstein. The couple had both lost spouses due to cancer. Barbara sold her apartment on the Upper East Side & Ira sold his house in Great Neck, Long Island. Together they started a new life together on the East Side/Sutton Place. Their 58th Street town house was the perfect place to remodel & make their own. While the work was being done, they went to auctions every weekend, collecting rugs & furniture for their new home. Barbara had just retired from practicing law. A 2002 article (see below) in the New York Times said…

There were still a few things to be done on the house. Ms. Packer is planning to make hooked rugs for the staircases. “She has a commission to do the steps,” Mr. Weinstein said.


The home was filled with the couples’ new collection. The rooms in the house were painted deep colors that made a perfect background for Barbara’s handmade quilts. Below is a bedroom with a charming cow hooked rug on the left wall & one of Barbara’s intricate geometric quilts on the right wall.

The bedroom below has an beautiful antique quilt hanging on the wall behind the bed, collected by Barbara & Ira. The immense & stunning oriental rug on the floor compliments the wall color and the décor in the room.

Below is the sitting room in the kitchen, shelves were decorated with Ira’s extensive collection of Moorcroft art pottery – made in the 19th & 20th centuries in England, much of it with botanical themes. Above the fireplace is a hooked rug of a primitive bird/peacock, collected by Barbara & Ira.

In the photo below of the entry, an elaborate geometric quilt, hanging on the left wall, greets arriving guests, the quilt was designed & made by Barbara. You can see the details & colors in mirror reflection.

The Climbery

The Climbery at 201 Buckwheat Bridge Rd, Germantown, New York was Barbara’s 1820s elegant country house surrounded by fieldstone walls. But it was so much more!

Purchased by Barbara around 1988, the property had 1 Clematis growing on there – it served as inspiration. Barbara was the garden designer of this private 7-acre garden with the 2nd largest collection of Clematis in North America. There were 30 beds contain 5-6000 vines of almost 600 Clematis varieties, plus trees, shrubs, perennials & a few annuals. The gardens bloom continuously through the summer with lots of tree peonies, iris, peonies, lilies, astilbe, wisteria, lilac, lupines, delphinium & more. Sculptures abound, along with 5 lotus ponds, a boxwood garden, & potting shed.

The Climbery was featured in The New York Times, Perennial Magazine, Better Homes & Gardens, & a number of other gardening publications.

The Climbery was also Barbara’s not-for-profit foundation, established to promote the growth & interest of Clematis. “We want people to grow it as regularly as they do roses,” Barbara said. “They are easy to grow, colorful, fragrant & versatile with lots of varieties. All I am is the missionary.”

To say she was devoted to The Climbery would be an understatement. But devoted seems to be her modus operandi. 

The Climbery was sold after Barbara’s death. On June 17, 2023, an Estate & Garden Auction from The Climbery was held by Copake Auctions.


Barbara was a longtime collector who had a wonderful collection of folk art, period furnishings, cigar store figures & samples. One of the key items in her collection was a folk art sculpture by Stephen Huneck (1948-2010), you may know him for his wonderful dog art.

Many of Barbara’s treasures found a home at The Climbery. Other treasures were collected by her & husband Ira together, between 2000 when they married & his passing in 2016. Those treasures found special places in their Manhattan - East Side/Sutton Place town house.

Here are just a few examples of items in Barbara’s collection:

A folk art sculpture by Stephen Huneck of a dog walker, 62" high, signed & dated 1993. Below is Stephen Huneck (1948-2010) with his beloved dog & examples of his other dog art.

Applique eagle folk art quilt. 60" x 80".

Cushing type Rooster weathervane. 29" x 32.

19th century framed Patriotic needlework. Sight 14" x 16", overall 17" x 19".

19th c. paint decorated Immigrants trunk. 55" x 19" x 22".

Early Canadian painted wall cupboard. 45" x 20 1/2" x 54".

Barbara was a dear longtime friend and customer. She had a great eye for outdoor sculpture, folk art, period furnishings, and textiles. This taste reflected in her jewelry making as well as her hooked rugs and quilts. She amassed a large collection of objects which we were honored to sell on behalf of her daughter Heidi who has been a pleasure to work with!

Seth Fallon, Copake Auction

Barbara led a fascinating life & had a wonderful career. She managed to have a unique balance between her creative & business ventures. It’s rare that one can excel in both & it seems that she not only did, but flourished. She is also another example of both an artist and a collector – another rarity. So, kudos to Barbara for excelling yet again! It was a pleasure to pay tribute to her!

I hope you enjoyed this story behind the rug!

And as this particular Hutchinson rug implies….

Spend a little time with someone you LOVE today!

Come see The Honeymoon rug at Rug Hooking Week August 16 - 19, 2023 at Sauder Village, Archbold, Ohio! It's a piece of our Fiber Art History!

Read more about the fascinating lives & humorous hooked rugs attributed to James & Mercedes Hutchinson --- check out the Rug Hooking Traditions - Book Series!