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(Tom Green/Colonial Williamsburg Foundation)

A Delectable Decoration

This paper project celebrates an 18th-century status symbol — the pineapple

By Christina Westenberger


Eighteenth-century Virginians were passionate about their pineapples.

The Virginia Gazette regularly announced the arrival of ships from the West Indies bearing the tropical fruit. It was a favorite of George Washington, who once wrote that while the pear was “generally most admired...none pleases my taste as do’s the Pine.” And his wife Martha’s granddaughter, Nelly Custis Lewis, had two dessert recipes that included pineapples.

The likeness of pineapples appeared in artistic impressions and architecture. It decorated the door above William Byrd’s James River plantation and Lord Dunmore, the last colonial governor of Virginia, was so enamored with the fruit’s shape and spikey leaves that he constructed a 37-foot-tall pineapple on the roof of his Scottish estate near Airth.

A Hawaiian quilt square inspired our ornament, a project perfect for the whole family. Make your ornament on your own or join us at The Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg for The Delightful Pineapple, a program in which you’ll learn fun facts and historical fiction about pineapples, then make this ornament to take home. The program runs every Thursday and Saturday in December at 12:30 p.m.

 

 

Supplies

Scissors

Paper clips

Thumbtack

Needle

Quilting thread

Cardboard and fancy paper

 

 


Step 1

Print out the pineapple template at colonialwilliamsburg.com/downloads on plain copy paper. Fold the fancy paper in half, then match the dotted line of the pineapple template to the folded edge of the fancy paper and paper clip in place.


Step 2

Following the heavy line, cut around the outer edge of the pineapple. Do not cut on the dotted line. Repeat twice more for a total of three cut pineapples.


Step 3

Open each pineapple and stack them on top of each other, matching up the fold line. Lay the stack on cardboard. Using the thumbtack, pierce all three layers to create seven stitching holes down the length of the fold. This will make it easier to stitch.


Step 4

With needle and thread, start sewing from the top down. Leave 4 inches of thread at the top. When you reach the bottom, stitch back up to the top. Tie ends for a hanger.


Step 5

Once you have completed the stitching, carefully fold open each section to create a 3-D pineapple.