Q.S.O.S. Spotlight

This week’s Q.S.O.S. Spotlight is extra special! Last Wednesday, the National Endowment for the Arts announced the winners of the 2014 National Heritage fellowships–the highest honor in folk and traditional arts in the United States. Among them was quilter and quilt advocate Carolyn Mazloomi, who founded the Women of Color Quilter’s Network in 1985 and has worked tirelessly to advocate for not only quiltmakers of color but all quiltmakers and lovers of quilts. Carolyn was interviewed in 2009 for the Q.S.O.S. project–read some excerpts from that interview about the WCQN and why Carolyn loves quilts, or check out the full interview here. Congratulations, Dr. Mazloomi!

Photo by Gale Zucker. Courtesy of NEA.gov

“I started the organization as a means to let African American quiltmakers know about the cultural significance as well as the monetary value of their quilts. We started out with nine people and over the years it’s grown tremendously. One of the things that we do is present quilts, quilt exhibitions to museums around the country. We give workshops around the country to children and youth, try to interest them in learning to quilt because when you think in terms of the quilt population of African American quilts within the realm of quilting in this country, there are not that many of us so it is important to me to try and interest young people in learning how to quilt. That is very important, because I think about the future…”

“Quilts are important because, physical quilts are important to me because they give me joy, they bring me joy, they bring me joy. That’s the first thing and then the second thing I think about the historical aspect of quilts. I’m interested in recording that history, that is important to record quilt history because it gives us a window into American society, families and lives and social structure of people living here in this country. It is fascinating and it’s important. That’s what is important and then the quiltmakers themselves, people. There is just a wide variety of people that I’ve met and everybody brings something interesting to the table so that’s been an interesting point for me, meeting quilters of all races, gender across the country and sharing that common love of quilt making.”

“My legacy and so forth with quiltmaking will be the founding of the Women of Color Quilters Network and finding a recording the contributions of African American quiltmakers to American quiltmaking, especially for the contemporary African American quiltmaker. It’s important for me that I do everything that I can to record their works, to exhibit their works so that they have a place in quilt history.”

You can read more quilt stories on the Quilters’ S.O.S.- Save Our Stories page on the Quilt Alliance website.

EmmaParker

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

 

 

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From Rochester with Love.

On this day in 1964, Christopher Allen Eselgroth was born in Greece, New York, a suburb of Rochester. A typeface -knowing, ridge-conquering, rock and roll-playing, moon pie ice cream- devouring, basil-growing, family-loving man–he is. Happy Birthday, sweetheart. xo Amy

This stunning signature quilt was started in 1900 as a fundraising effort by Mrs. Addis Elliot and later purchased for $65 by the Rochester Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) in Rochester, New York. From this Quilt Index record:

“The red and white pieced quilt with fan blocks with an American Flag in the center. The border is pieced with the blades of the fans. Outline stitched in each of the blocks are what appear to be a series of 1900 store names and Rochester businesses along with dozens of names of people.”

The record also includes a letter the quiltmaker wrote to the Rochester Historical Society in 1950, recalling the story of the quilt. Here is an excerpt:

“I have been requested to write to you about the quilt that I sold to the W.C.T.U. I will say that it was started in the year 1900 while I was living at the restaurant at 95 E. Main St. I belonged to a lodge called the good Templar I.O.G.T. Independent or of good Templar. It met every Friday night. We got short of money to pay our rent so it was proposed by the members to start to raise some money. Each member went out and worked and got names for to put on an advertising quilt at so much a name or whatever they could give…”

The quilt is now privately owned and Elizabeth Davis contributed the quilt and its history to The Quilt Index during the Signature Quilt Project.

View this quilt on The Quilt Index to find out! Read more about its history, design and construction. Be sure to use the zoom tool for a detailed view or click the “See full record” link to see a larger image and all the data entered about that quilt.


Quilt Index partners

Amy Milne headshot

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 find out! Read more about its history, design and construction. Be sure to use the zoom tool for a detailed view or click the “See full record” link to see a larger image and all the data entered about that quilt.

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


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Amy Milne headshot

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 find out! Read more about its history, design and construction. Be sure to use the zoom tool for a detailed view or click the “See full record” link to see a larger image and all the data entered about that quilt.

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


Quilt Index partners

Amy Milne headshot

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 find out! Read more about its history, design and construction. Be sure to use the zoom tool for a detailed view or click the “See full record” link to see a larger image and all the data entered about that quilt.

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


Quilt Index partners

Amy Milne headshot

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

Q.S.O.S. Spotlight

Last month, Quilt Alliance board president Meg Cox and I were lucky to attend the Studio Art Quilt Associate’s annual meeting, ‘Capitolizing on Fiber’ in Alexandria, Virginia. As part of the meeting, SAQA founder Yvonne Porcella delivered an excellent lecture on early exhibits of the art quilt and SAQA’s beginnings. Check out that lecture here:

Yvonne has been interviewed for the Q.S.O.S. project 4 times. In an interview in 1999, Yvonne shared a bit about her early career, the places her work has traveled and her hopes for the next century:

[W]hen you ask me what was my best quilt it’s most likely the last one that I have done. But I do think as I have mentioned, my career has evolved from the first brides quilt that I made as a gift, to the first art quilt I made in 1980 which was basically strips of fabric and triangles and squares of fabric, and that quilt is in the Smithsonian Collection. And that was a great honor. But that quilt was so unique it was very colorful. That quilt also traveled around the world during the early 1980’s, so the quilt has provenance. In other words, it has traveled to France for a year and traveled to Turkey, and so the Smithsonian acquired it because they wanted a quilt that. So there’s a very emotional time of my life that says that must be the very best quilt because it’s in our National Museum. But on the other hand, I’ve evolved from that point, so in 1998 I was invited to do a quilt for the International Triennial of Tapestry which hung in Lodz, Poland. That show is an Invitational of 120 Artists representing about fifty countries and they are invited to exhibit for six months in the Museum in the textile area of Poland. So for me that quilt, my quilt in that show is the coming together of my whole artistic career. I use to be a weaver. I use to weave tapestries. This was a show of the “International Triennial of Tapestries.”

So I went back to my roots as a weaver and historical significance of a tapestry which told the story. It tells the story of the history at that moment. We can go back as historians and look at the flora and fauna and the costumes, of that particular moment in time that’s been showcased in the woven tapestry. I wanted my quilt that went to that show to be the sort of the dialogue of my place in this world at this moment done in quilt but with the concept of tapestry of telling a story. The quilt was done in 102 by 110 inches and done by hand. I laid the colors in and I stitched them by hand very much like I had that same mental and artistic feeling when I laid in the threads for my tapestries, but here my fabrics were large pieces, so the shapes were all reminiscent of what I have done as a weaver and building up areas of colors. The quilt is titled “Answering the Riddle” and I had proposed to myself questions about the Twentieth Century, and what do we take from the Twentieth Century, what happened in this century that will effect us in the next? The quilt has a lot of meaning to me because events and moments in time of the Twentieth Century are translated visually into that quilt, so that’s my best.

Jeri Baldwin: It sounds like it. What have you done with thinking about the Twentieth Century in your work and your teaching? What do you think you’ll change, or will you want to change, or what do you want to leave the same? What are you going to take into the Twenty-first Century as a quilter and as a teacher?

I’m still going to take the passion I have for doing it by hand. I’m going to take the passion of creating something totally for myself, that pleases myself, that comes from myself. I am not interested in scanning it on the computer. I am not interested in coloring it on the computer. Because to me the reason I am an artist, which was very difficult for me to even reach that point where that I can verbalize it because I was trained as a nurse. I was trained as a mother, as a grandmother and to be an artist was to say to people, ‘Well, I think I am an artist although I am not academically trained.’ But I have a passion and I know that if I don’t do the work that I’d be unhappy. So for me the twenty-first century will be similar to the twentieth century because I will continue to work until I can no longer work. The wonderful part of being an artist is that the wonderful ideas never stop so the concept of the creativity that will be produced in the–however long I am going to live is very exciting to me.

You can read more quilt stories on the Quilters’ S.O.S.- Save Our Stories page on the Quilt Alliance website.

EmmaParker

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

 

 

A Canadian Crazy from her grandmothers.

On this day in 1887, the Rocky Mountains Park Act was enacted by the Parliament of Canada, which established Banff National Park (then known as Rocky Mountain Park), west of Calvary, in the province of Alberta. The act was modeled on the US’s Yellowstone Park Act of 1881.

Canadian Mary Jane (Waters) Geddes began this hand pieced and quilted Crazy Quilt in 1910, using “velvets and other rich fabrics.” After Geddes’ death, Estella Darroch finished the piece in 1937 using used silk ties and rayon dresses. The granddaughter of the quiltmakers inherited the piece and donated it to the Royal Alberta Museum, where it is now part of the museum’s permanent collection.

View this quilt on The Quilt Index to find out! Read more about its history, design and construction. Be sure to use the zoom tool for a detailed view or click the “See full record” link to see a larger image and all the data entered about that quilt.

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


Quilt Index partners

Amy Milne headshot

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