Textiles and the Triplett Sisters

A Century of African American Quilts


This exhibition in the Foster and Muriel McCarl Gallery at the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum in Colonial Williamsburg displays twelve quilts. Those quilts spanning about a century after 1875 showcase the variety of styles and is a riotous expression of color. Half of these quilts have never been seen before by the public. African American quilts vary widely in style, driven more by the artistic expression of the quilter, rather than a prescribed pattern. It is important to note that all of the quilts in the exhibition were made after the civil war and the end of the era of slavery in America. However, several of the quilters were born into slavery and in some cases descendants of enslaved. All of the quilts are made of simple materials transformed into works of art. If...
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Textile Campaign Art


  Because of the acrimony of the recent election, I’ve been hesitant to write about this subject. However it is an excellent exhibition at the George Washington University Textile Museum. Since “Your Next President…the Campaign Art of Mark and Rosalind Shenkman” only runs through April 10th, I didn’t want to wait too long to write about it. The exhibition is an amazing glimpse into the history of campaigns, starting with some textiles honoring George Washington, even though he refused to campaign. In 1789, Washington “stood” for the position of President, not making speeches or rallying supporters. He left an impression that it wasn’t gentlemanly to campaign. This impression disappeared in the early 1800s. The Andrew Jackson/John Quincy Adams contest of 1828 has been called the dirtiest US presidential campaign. Fabric was printed for President Jackson’s inauguration,...
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Bingata...Go Now!


The Triplett Sisters had an adventure in DC, with much to see. We went to a wonderful exhibition “Bingata! Only in Okinwa” at The George Washington Textile Museum. Our arrival was timed perfectly to participate in a tour by Curator Lee Talbot. (The exhibit was so wonderful we went back again!) I’m writing about it immediately because…IT CLOSES JANUARY 30, 2017. So, if you live in the DC area or can get to the DC area in the next few days, the exhibit is worth the effort. Bingata is a technique which uses pigments and dyes to create wonderful multicolored fabrics. It can be done either freehand or with paper stencils. These techniques have been used for more than 300 years in the Ryukyu Kingdom (now the Okinawa Prefecture in Japan). This area because of maritime...
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Quilt World Favorites of 2016


It is the end of the year and many are announcing the best and worst list for the year. However, I hesitated to do so because it is so subjective. Also, even if I didn’t choose an exhibition, auction, or book at the top of the list, it doesn’t mean it didn’t have value or that I couldn’t learn something from it. Instead, I decided to pick my “favorites” of the year, that way I’m being honest about the subjectivity. Favorite Exhibition: The Fabric of India at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. I technically saw the exhibition in December of 2015, but the exhibition ran into this year, as did my reading of the exhibition book. It was an amazing exhibition, which provided some detailed info for a new theory of fabric printing Kay and...
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National African American Quilt Conference


At various times this year I’ve had three friends ask me if I was familiar with the quilts from Gee’s Bend. Yes, of course, I answered.  Theses quilts are an important contribution to the African-American visual and cultural art scene in the US. However, these quilts are from a small group of about 50 women in the collective and do not reflect the full artistic range of African American quilting. So, it is exciting to see the first African American Quilt Conference spearheaded by Marla Jackson coming to fruition. Approximately 10 different quilt exhibitions will be held concurrently for the conference at multiple locations in Lawrence, KS including: The Spencer Museum of Art, The Lawrence Arts Center, and the Lawrence Public Library.  The exhibitions will include a broad range of quilts by Aisha Lumumba, Viola Burley Leak,...
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