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, Sonia Ruffin, Bisa Butler, Sherry Whetstone and Faith Ringgold.

Faith Ringgold will be speaking on several of her quilt series including the “American People Series.” Dr. Daniel Atkinson will lecture on “George Walker The Dandy Revolutionary” and Denise Valentine will discuss weaving stories and tales in African Folktales and fabric.  Other lectures are presented by Marla Jackson and Carol Bohl.

Besides the eye candy of so many quilt exhibitions in one town, the conference is also offering classes on a range of topics.  I’m pleased to be teaching three different classes on Adire: African Indigo Resist Techniques. Lola Jenkins and Bisa Butler will teach on Portrait Collage. Jan Hollins on Mosaic Fiber Art and Sherry Whetstone on Victorian Crazy Quilting.  To sign up for classes or more information, please see www.naaqc.org  I hope to see you there!