Stonewall.

On this day in 1968, New York City police made an early morning raid of the Stonewall Inn, one of the few Greenwich Village bars where gay and transgender customers were welcomed. While raids like this were common in this intensely anti-homosexual era, the police quickly lost control of the situation when gay residents of the neighborhood put up a violent resistance. The Stonewall riot lead to the swift organization of activist groups and marks the single most important step in the gay liberation movement.

Florence Haviland of Sherman, Connecticut hand pieced, appliqued and quilted this Stonewall quilt between 1876-1900. The quilt was documented during the Connecticut Quilt Search in 1996 by the great granddaughter of the quiltmaker.

View this quilt on The Quilt Index to read more about it’s history, design and construction. Be sure to use the zoom tool for a detailed view.

Source:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stonewall_riots

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Posted by Amy E. Milne
Executive Director, Quilt Alliance
amy.milne@quiltalliance.org

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Quilts in Motion

For the past three weeks I’ve been living and working in San Francisco. My 15-year-old daughter Lilian is doing her summer intensive ballet training at the San Francisco Ballet School, and since no housing was offered, I made the *huge* sacrifice of coming with her. 😉 Last weekend I took the train south to visit the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles and new Quilt Alliance board member Nancy Bavor, who works as the museum’s Curator of Collections.  I enjoyed a wonderful presentation by powerhouse quilting twins Mary Mashuta and Roberta Horton, both of whom have been interviewed for our Q.S.O.S. oral history project.

Among the current exhibitions was a show called “Milestones: Textiles of Transition,” which includes a fascinating video piece by the Luminarium Dance Company. The video shows images of quilts projected onto dancers performing in front of those same quilts. The result is sort of a visual quilt, a shifting and rich sandwich of images. Coincidentally, Luminarium founder, dancer and quilter Merli V. Guerra contacted me about a month ago to reach out to the Quilt Alliance about the Threading Motion Project. I asked Merli if she would write a piece about the work for our readers and I’m happy to present it here.

Quilting and motion have always been linked for me. One could say the movement of a thread and needle in a quilter’s hand is motion enough; that the swirls of color and patterns playing across a finished piece are motion to the eye. Yet for me, quilting means dancing. It means standing on the dining room table as a four-year-old, practicing what my mother had coined as “the frisbee method,” as together we tossed quilted hearts onto our fabric below. If we found we did not like what gravity had given us, we would pick them each up and start again—leaving us in the end with a set of quilts full of “motion,” and a little girl thrilled by the joy of the dance.

Chasm_webres

Quilt Vignettes
A series of short films using video projection to merge dance with quilts.
These films will be played on loop as part of the Silk! exhibit.
Choreographer / Filmmaker: Merli V. Guerra
“Chasm”
Quilter: Judith Content
Performer: Merli V. Guerra

Twenty years later, I am still that little girl. I am still thrilled by the color, movement, energy, and emotions that greet the viewer at a quilt show, be it contemporary or traditional in design. I am also that ever-too-eager Joann Fabrics frequenter who has more newly-begun quilts filling her closet shelves than finished ones. Perhaps traditional quilting is not for me, which only adds to my amazement and wonder to find my work now on display on the East Coast (at the New England Quilt Museum in Lowell, MA) and West Coast (at the San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles in San Jose, CA), with calls coming in from other parts of the country, from Pennsylvania to Kentucky. A few short months ago, I had never heard of the Quilt Alliance, and the word “Paducah” certainly did not ring any bells! Yet throughout this process, the more I learn, the more I realize how impressively large and supportive America’s quilting community is, even to a non-quilting interdisciplinary artist like myself.

I encourage you now, if you find yourself near either of the museums above in the next month, to take a peek at Luminarium Dance Company’s Threading Motion Project. I am writing this piece on the three-year anniversary of Luminarium’s founding in Boston, MA, and have no doubt that neither I, nor my co-director Kimberleigh A. Holman, would have guessed back in 2010 that one of our most successful projects would involve quilts! I began this series several years ago with a conversation with a local curator about my desire to show the “movement of a quilt.” After a year of determining what this meant, and how it could be accomplished visually, I picked up the phone and called Connie Barlow, the now former director of the New England Quilt Museum (NEQM), to propose the project, and soon after received funding from the Lowell Cultural Council to make the Threading Motion Project a reality for Luminarium’s 2013 Season.

Collaborating with NEQM’s exhibition Silk! and with the invaluable help of curator Pam Weeks, I selected six images from the quilt-show-to-be, projected these images onto my dancers in the studio, created six short vignettes ranging from two to three minutes in length, and filmed each in a way that allows the viewer to, for a brief moment, enter the world of the quilt. What does each express, and how does it express it? How can my dancers embody this, and set it into motion? Indeed, the Threading Motion Project quickly became an exercise in how to take a two-dimensional work of art, and redesign it for the three-dimensional, all through the use of light on skin.

Cynthia_Star_webres

“Cynthia Star”
Quilter: Janet Elwin
Performer: Jess Chang

Gilding_the_Arbor_webres

“Gilding the Arbor”
Quilter: Bethanne Nemesh
Performers: Rose Abramoff, Jess Chang, Melenie Diarbekirian, Jessica Jacob,
Matt Johnson, & Amy Mastrangelo

As I end this narrative, that I can only hope will encourage you to take a peek at this film series by visiting one of these two museums (and more to follow!), while providing a glimpse into the thought process behind the work, it is most important to me that I call attention to the quilters directly involved, as it is their artwork that has led to my own. These five quilters come from all over the country, bringing their unique approaches and backgrounds to each of the vignettes now on display: Sonya Lee Barrington, Judith Content, Janet Elwin, Diane Loomis, and Bethanne Nemesh. I cannot thank these women enough for sharing with me their insights and enthusiasm throughout the process, as each artist’s thoughts inevitably shaped the way in which I interpreted the work into its current life on film. They are also the reason I now have such an appreciative understanding of the vast and supportive network that is the quilting community, as I now curiously await the news of where my Quilt Vignettes film series will travel next.

Thank you for reading, and happy dancing…

Merli V. Guerra
Artistic Director, Luminarium Dance Company
merliguerra.com/dance
luminariumdance.org

Merli’s “Quilt Vignettes” are currently on view at the New England Quilt Museum in Lowell, MA, through July 7 (alongside all six original quilts), and at the San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles in San Jose, CA, through July 21. For a sneak peek of the work, view the trailer at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PD6QSyp9QFM.
All Threading Motion Project films and materials copyright of Luminarium Dance Company 2013.

Born in Rochester.

On this day in 1964, Christopher Allen Eselgroth was born in Rochester, New York, the third child of Herbert and Celeste Eselgroth. A rock-loving musician, ridge-devouring biker, type-loving designer, and family-loving man–he is. Happy Birthday, sweetheart. xo Amy

Becky Herdie of Rochester, New York made this quilt, titled “Indian Barn Raising,” in 1988. The quilt is now part of the Founders Collection of the National Quilt Museum in Paducah, Kentucky.

View this quilt on The Quilt Index to read more about it’s history, design and construction. Be sure to use the zoom tool for a detailed view.

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Posted by Amy E. Milne
Executive Director, Quilt Alliance
amy.milne@quiltalliance.org

Made in China.

On this day in 1892, Pearl Bayley (nee Sydenstricker) was born in Hillsboro, West Virginia, to parents on break from missionary work in China. Buck’s novel “The Good Earth” (1930), describing peasant life in China, won the Pulitzer and Nobel Peace prizes and was translated into 30 languages. Buck received many awards for her humanitarian activities. She died in 1973.


This reversible block pattern quilt was made in the Badaling District outside of Beijing by an unnamed quiltmaker. The quilt was purchased by a Michigan State University Museum staff member and is now in the permanent collection of the museum. From this record: “Contemporary visitors to the Great Wall in the Badaling region outside of Beijing, China have the opportunity to purchase a great array of hand-crafted items including the “five poisonous creatures” – toad, snake, centipede, lizard, and scorpion – locally believed to ward away evil spirits. This particular piece was purchased from a woman carrying her wares on top of the wall.”

View this quilt on The Quilt Index to read more about it’s history, design and construction. Be sure to use the zoom tool for a detailed view.

Sources:
http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/pearl-bucks-birthday

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Posted by Amy E. Milne
Executive Director, Quilt Alliance
amy.milne@quiltalliance.org

Purple Hearts.

On this day in 1950, the Korean War began when armed forces from communist North Korea attacked South Korea. A three-year war ensued with the United States, acting under the auspices of the United Nations, fighting in defense of South Korea. It is estimate that more than 2,800,000 people died during this war, including soldiers and civilians from the United States, North Korea, South Korea, China as well as UN countries.

Bonnie Sanmann Stenger of Buffalo, Wyoming machine pieced and quilted this “Purple Hearts” quilt in 2001. The inscription of the quilt reads: “Purple Heart Quilt/in memory of my three late uncles who were veterans of WWII. And the youngest who was also in Korea and two tours in Viet Nam. God Bless Them. By Bonnie Sanamann Stenger, Buffalo, Wyo 2001.” The quilt was documented by Stenger during the Wyoming Quilt Project in 2002.

View this quilt on The Quilt Index to read more about it’s history, design and construction. Be sure to use the zoom tool for a detailed view.

Sources:
http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/korean-war-begins

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Posted by Amy E. Milne
Executive Director, Quilt Alliance
amy.milne@quiltalliance.org

Picasso…Not Exactly.

On this day in 1901, Pablo Picasso, a nineteen-year-old Spanish artist little known outside of Barcelona, had his first major exhibition of paintings in a prestigious Paris gallery. Picasso was the son of a drawing professor who groomed his son to follow his career path. He began exhibiting his work at the age of 13, and by the end of his 80 years of work, Picasso had produced more than 50,000 paintings, drawings, engravings, sculptures and ceramics.

Pauline Salzman of Treasure Island, Florida, made this 16” x 16” quilt titled “Picasso…Not Exactly” in 2011 for the Quilt Alliance contest “Alliances: People, Patterns, Passion. She wrote in her artist’s statement: “This is my canine adaption of a Picasso quilt that sold on February 10, 2010 at a London auction for 12.8 million dollars. I love Picasso’s paintings and I love my dogs. They are therapy dogs who give a great deal of joy to many patients.”

View this quilt on The Quilt Index to read more about it’s history, design and construction. Be sure to use the zoom tool for a detailed view.

Sources:
http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/picasso-exhibited-in-paris

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Amy Milne headshot

Posted by Amy E. Milne
Executive Director, Quilt Alliance
amy.milne@quiltalliance.org

Q.S.O.S. Spotlight

Summer is officially here! And with it, plenty of trips to the pool, glasses of lemonade, beach visits and especially summer road trips! In this week’s Q.S.O.S. Spotlight, Joyce Saia shares her story of making a quilt on the road, complete with an emergency fabric order and a stop at a laundromat!

Image“Well, my quilt is called “Logs and Leaves” because obviously I’ve got the Log Cabin blocks and the leaves in the border. It’s 80″ by 80″ and I made this in Beaumont. Actually, I finished it in Beaumont, Texas but I made most of it while I was on the road. Every year my husband and I travel for about four and a half months in the motor home. I always take my sewing machine and my supplies and as much fabric as I can sneak on board. This particular quilt I made in 2009. I knew that I wanted to make a log cabin quilt and I had a collection of Cherrywood fabrics. Before we went on the trip, I cut a whole bunch of fabric strips. So I just took strips, I didn’t have to take a bunch of fabric with me on the road. I made myself a block and copied it on paper foundations and took that with me. On the road, anytime we would stop for a couple of days, I would sew. I just made blocks most of the summer. When I had them about done and when I got to Pasco, Washington, I have a daughter in Pasco who quilts; we went to her Bernina store or the one where she frequents. They happened to have this embroidery pattern that was with leaves called “Colors of Autumn”. The rest of the way I embroidered. But first I didn’t have enough fabric to make the border out of. So we ran to Anacortes, Washington and I had the number for Cherrywood. I called Cherrywood fabrics and talked to Carla there and said I needed some yardage quickly because we were moving. I couldn’t stand and wait for mail to come. I didn’t know for sure what color, but I thought chocolate brown was safe, I know what color that was. I asked her for chocolate brown. She shipped two yards of chocolate brown to me by priority mail. She sent it that day and I had it Imageabout two days later and then of course went to a laundromat and washed the fabric. I ironed it and then started cutting it into strips to make the border. The embroidery design I just made up as I went along. I put one design in the center and then I just made four borders the same. I couldn’t put it together on the trip because I can’t put a big quilt together in my motor home. I had it all ready to go for when I got home. Then I put the quilt together and did the border. For the binding I found a stripe that was the perfect coloring. I found the embroidery design that seemed to just match it perfect. It’s actually appliquéd but it has embroidery on it. It’s one of my favorite quilts.”

 

 

You can read more stories about quilting on-the-go AND at home at the Quilters’ S.O.S.- Save Our Stories page on the Alliance’s site.

EmmaParker

Posted by Emma Parker
Project Manager,  Quilters’ S.O.S.- Save Our Stories
qsos@quiltalliance.org