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....
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Art: Deconstruction


The challenge was issued: use reproduction fabrics in a contemporary way for a quilt. After giving the idea some time to percolate, I decided to use artistic principles to help guide the challenge. Then of course I had a difficult time deciding which artistic principal to use first! So, this will be the first in a non-sequential series of articles using different artistic principles with reproduction fabrics to create a contemporary take. I hope these artistic principles will inspire you on your next quilt, whatever fabric you choose to use. Deconstruction (also known as deconstructivism) came to the forefront in a 1982 architecture competition, with credit given to the entry by Jacques Derrida and Peter Eisenman. In 1988 the Museum of Modern Art New York exhibition of “Deconstructivist Architecture” solidified the movement against postmodernism ideal...
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Creating a Collection


When does a collection become a collection? After you make your first quilt or textile purchase? Probably not, but the first purchase might inspire the motivation to create a collection. Reasons for creating a collection can be as varied as building a stash, love of acquiring (shopping!), preservation, or appreciating an art form. The sooner you recognize the desire to create a collection, the easier it is to make good choices. The first choice is to decide to keep records . For the sake of our common area of interests, let’s talk about a quilt collection. Where was the quilt purchased? How much was paid? What is the value? Any provenance to the quilt? Any interesting techniques or materials used in the quilt? Once you are past the three quilt stage, you may want to...
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An Agreeable Tyrant


According to the amazing costume designer Edith Head, “You can have anything you want in life if you dress for it.” The brand new American colonists were trying to figure out what they wanted in life and what the fashion of the new country was going to be. A satirical newspaper article first appearing in the 1760’s and republished for many years even after the revolution asked the question “What is Fashion?” The answer of course was, “an agreeable tyrant” an oxymoron if ever there was. Thus the title of the current exhibition was born: “An Agreeable Tyrant: Fashion After the Revolution.” The exhibition running through April 29, 2017 examines fashion for both men and women from 1780 to 1825. For those familiar with the Daughters of the American Revolution building, this exhibition will have...
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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...
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