Celebrating Lafayette County African American Quilts

April 2, 2011
9:30 a.m.- 12:00 noon

Schedule of events:
9:30      gathering and refreshments
10:00    guided tour of the Gee’s Bend exhibit
10:30    Show and Tell-sharing of the local African American quilts and their stories
11:30    demonstration by Quilt Hearts
            door prizes
            fabric swap

Central and West African quilted textile art, dating back 2000 years, continues to re-emerge in African American quilts.  Something in an African American woman’s creative DNA inspires her through dream and imagination to reproduce, adapt, or innovate some aspect of her ancestral textile tradition through quilt medium.

The University Museum will host a celebration of the quilts collected by Lafayette County African American women from their mothers and grandmothers in a special event on Saturday, April 2.  In connection with the current exhibit of folk quilts from Gee’s Bend, Alabama, we invite local women to gather for a tour of the exhibit and a special “Show and Tell” of their family heirlooms.

Planning committee member Marcia Cole said, “As we come together to share our quilts and the stories that surround them, I hope we are inspired to embrace and to celebrate our unique similarities and differences.”
Drawing on their rich heritage, African American women produce their own variations on the box or string pattern quilt designs of their ancestors, adaptations of the Euro-American patters of their white sisters, and original designs that more-than-coincidentally harken back to ancient motifs used by West African tribes.  All show a spontaneity and freedom that follows the color and design dictates of their unique spirit.

“I hope this event will mark the beginning of a new era of quilt making in Lafayette County where black and white women celebrate, share, and enjoy each other as uniquely creative, talented women,” said Ann O’Dell, member of the planning committee.
In addition to the showing and sharing of their quilt treasures, attendees on April 2 are invited to participate in a fabric swap, register for door prizes, and see a demonstration by a group of local artist quilters, The Quilt Hearts, who employ many of the same techniques as in the African tradition.

Lyn Kartiganer describes Quilt Hearts: “Quilt Hearts formed itself as a group several years ago with the purpose of making quilts to be given away through Interfaith Compassion Ministry. Our non-traditional approach—none of the members of the group had prior experience in making quilts—provides us with the opportunity to gather regularly to design quilts in fellowship and with something akin to abandon.  The Gee’s Bend quilts, with their freedom of expression, have inspired us to move even further in our design explorations.”

Quilt-related activities are also planned for children ages 5-12, free of charge.  Prior registration is requested for children attending by calling 915-7205.

The public is invited to this special event free of charge.
For more information please call  662-234-2907.