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Handstitched Worlds: The Cartography of Quilts, an exhibition that explores the relationship between quilt-making and map-making, will open July 16 at the Self-Taught Genius Gallery in Long Island City, Queens. The exhibition will run through October 3, 2018. Handstitched Worlds: The Cartography of Quilts is an invitation to read quilts as maps. Spanning the nineteenth through twenty-first centuries, the nearly twenty quilts on view draw from a range of materials, techniques, and motifs to reveal that quilts, like maps, contain whole worlds into themselves.
“Infused with history and memory, quilts are living records of our traditions, experiences, relationships, beliefs, and future aspirations,” says Sarah Margolis-Pineo, the assistant curator for the Self-Taught Genius Gallery who organized the exhibition. “In the same way that a map is a pocket-size abstraction of the world beyond what can be seen, a quiltmaker’s choice of fabric and design reveals insights into the topography of her world and her place within it.”
The exhibition illustrates a visual relationship between quilting and cartography, highlighting quilts comprised of piecework resembling aerial views of city blocks and roadways. Both quilts and maps are based on established systems that employ repeating geometric patterns and colors to establish a unique sense of order and balance. As objects, quilts and maps provide comfort and a sense of safety – they make the unknown known; or, the unknown home. And, both can be removed from their utilitarian purposes and hung on the wall and appreciated as art.
(Charm Quilt, Artist unidentified, United States, 1880-1920, Cotton, 80" x 75 1/2", Gift of Freyda Rothstein, 1998.8.5, Photo by Gavin Ashworth)
“Handstitched Worlds invites visitors to trace the paths of individual stories and experiences that give shape to our world and our relationships while revealing information about larger historical and cultural trends and moments,” says Stacy C. Hollander, acting executive director of the American Folk Art Museum. “The exhibition includes evocative quilts from the museum’s collection as well as quilt-like assemblages by contemporary self-taught artists.”
A centerpiece of the show will be Our Queens, a participatory art activity. Visitors will be offered an embroidery hoop, needle, and colored floss to embroider whatever they wish on the map of the borough of Queens printed on a 50 x 40” piece of canvas—a notation in the Queens neighborhood where they live or work, a pattern on the street where they were born, their initials where they went to school, or perhaps a design evoking a memory of time spent in the borough. Previous embroidery or sewing skills are not needed, as basic instruction will be provided. “Together, visitors will create a map of Queens reflecting our story—a landscape that merges personal experience with the collective space of the borough,” says Margolis-Pineo.
(Map Quilt, Artist unidentified, Possibly Virginia, 1886, Silk and cotton velvets and brocade with embroidery, 78 3/4" x 82 1/4", Gift of Dr. and Mrs. C. David McLaughlin, 1987.1.1, Photo by Schecter Lee)
Nearly twenty quilts, both traditional and contemporary, will be in the exhibition. They will be joined by a number of maps by artist Jerry Gretzinger (b. 1942). While the early quilts are constructed using traditional cottons, wools, and silks, the contemporary quilts are made of alternative materials including found wood and metal or salvaged plastic trash bags.
Highlights of the exhibition include:
⦁ The Sarah Ann Garges Appliqué Bedcover made from cotton, silk, wool, and wool embroidery. This unique 1853 quilt was made by a young woman from a Mennonite family in anticipation of her marriage. It shows farm life, animals, and stylized florals on a vivid orange ground.
⦁ A dazzling, improvisational star quilt created in 1977 by Nora McKeown Ezell (1917-2007), an Alabama-based quiltmaker. In 1989 Ezell created A Tribute to the Civil Righters of Alabama, commissioned by the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. She was honored in 1992 with a Heritage Fellowship awarded by the National Endowment for the Arts.
⦁ Contrary to Hearsay, He Wasn’t the Devil, a mixed-media assemblage made in 2014 by New Orleans-based artist Jean-Marcel St. Jacques (b. 1972) who began creating quilt-like constructions from wood and objects salvaged from his Hurricane Katrina-damaged home in the historic Treme neighborhood.
(Star Quilt, Nora McKeown Ezell (1917-2007), Eutaw, Alabama, 1977, Cotton and synthetics, 94" x 84", Museum purchase made possible in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, with matching funds from The Great American Quilt Festival 3, 1991.13.1, Photo by Scott Bowron)
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About the Self-Taught Genius Gallery
The American Folk Art Museum, the premier institution devoted to the aesthetic appreciation of traditional folk art and creative expressions of contemporary self-taught artists from the United States and abroad, opened the Self-Taught Genius Gallery in September 2017. It is a space devoted solely to exhibiting works from the museum’s more than 8000-piece permanent collection. Major support for the Gallery is provided by the Henry Luce Foundation. Significant support is also provided by the Booth Ferris Foundation, with additional support from the Ford Foundation, public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. Admission to the Gallery is free. It is open Monday through Thursday from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm. The address is 47-29 32nd Place, Long Island City, Queens, two and a half blocks from the 33 St. stop on the 7 local subway.
Ammonite Celebration won 2nd Place Wall Stationary Machine, AQS, Spring Paducah, KY 2017.
Here's the latest from Ricky:
SPREAD THE NEWS! Please share this so everyone who has been concerned and praying for us gets this news.
We have confirmation that our new house, in the middle of the fire, has been unscathed! The house is saved! Celebrate with Justin and I. This is a glorious piece of information! When we can - we will share photos.
Our friends from Florida too - their house is saved.
Additional note from Ricky. They have had verbal confirmation that the house is standing. They are still waiting to see what condition it is in regarding smoke and fire damage.
Here's a photo of the house prior to the fire.
It is the highlight of this local quilter's quilting life. Everyone is busy tacking down that last binding...and The Stitchin' Post is like a giant bee hive with all the worker bees busy stockpiling and arranging fabric gems for the many visitors who will start arriving! I will be keeping you posted about all the activities on Quilt Roadies, the Woolie Mammoth Blog, and here of course! But, keep a look out for an occasional live feed on Facebook!
I visited The Stitchin' Post while the current gallery exhibit was being hung and it is a beautiful testament to the relationship of the mother and daughter who work hard at keeping the quilting life vibrant in our town. And, through the love and support they have for each other, creativeness can flourish.
This month's theme was Indigo. MaryIndigo is a deep and rich color, closest on the color wheel to blue. It is named after the Indigo Dye that is derived from the plant Indigofera tinctoria. I enjoyed the variety of interpretations by Jean and Val in their art work...both art quilt and fabric printing. Enjoy the slide show. All of the pieces are for sale by contacting The Stitchin' Post...but, you had better hurry...they are going fast! Hope I see you at the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show!
Yazzii bags are the perfect organizational totes to carry your quilting and craft projects with you on summer vacation.
There are several things about them that make them so great:
Watch the video below to learn more about Yazziis
The Yazzii Large Mat Carrier holds up to an 18" x 24" mat and 6" x 24" ruler.
Yazzii Large Mini Supply Organizer holds lots of goodies, but still fits into a tote bag.
Yazzii Sewing Machine Mat holds all of your sewing goodies and then folds up for travel.
Star Members can watch Charlotte Warr Andersen in Show 1209: A "Roundup" of Techniques from Two Terrific Teachers which also features Georgia Bonesteel.
BERNINA enlisted the talent of Carl Cadwell, sound sculptor and musician, to create an original song using the sounds of BERNINA sewing machines. You just might recognize a few of them.