Textile artist and instructor Betty Fikes Pillsbury has won hundreds of awards for her homages to the elegance of Victorian crazy quilting. Grounded in traditional methods but crafted with elements of whimsy, each piece stands on its own as a work of art. In this definitive guide, Pillsbury shares her methods for piecing, embroidering, and embellishing. Her instructions equip readers at any level of quilting skill to use those techniques to express their own visions.
Encouraging her readers to see functional and artistic possibilities beyond quilts (wall hangings, purses, and pillowcases are just some of the options), Pillsbury shows them how to make each work by hand, the slow cloth way. An inspiring primer for beginning and experienced quilters alike, this meticulously illustrated how-to book is far more expansive than previous guides. Pillsbury—a master of the form—shows us why crazy quilting belongs firmly in the twenty-first century.
Everyday Use: Alice Walker
Christian, Barbara T Rutgers University Press, 1994 Library of Congress PS3573.A425E9 1994 | Dewey Decimal 813.54
Alice Walker's early story, "Everyday Use," has remained a cornerstone of her work. Her use of quilting as a metaphor for the creative legacy that African Americans inherited from their maternal ancestors changed the way we define art, women's culture, and African American lives. By putting African American women's voices at the center of the narrative for the first time, "Everyday Use" anticipated the focus of an entire generation of black women writers.
This casebook includes an introduction by the editor, a chronology of Walker's life, an authoritative text of "Everyday Use" and of "In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens," an interview with Walker, six critical essays, and a bibliography. The contributors are Charlotte Pierce-Baker, Houston A. Baker, Jr., Thadious M. Davis, Margot Anne Kelley, John O'Brien, Elaine Showalter, and Mary Helen Washington.
The original book on the renowned Freedom quilters of Gee's Bend
In December of 1965, the year of the Selma-to-Montgomery march, a white Episcopal priest driving through a desperately poor, primarily black section of Wilcox County found himself at a great bend of the Alabama River. He noticed a cabin clothesline from which were hanging three magnificent quilts unlike any he had ever seen. They were of strong, bold colors in original, op-art patterns—the same art style then fashionable in New York City and other cultural centers. An idea was born and within weeks took on life, in the form of the Freedom Quilting Bee, a handcraft cooperative of black women artisans who would become acclaimed throughout the nation.
Traditional quilts serve many purposes over the course of a useful life. Beginning as a beautiful bed covering, a quilt may later function as a ground cover at picnics until years of wear relegate it to someone's ragbag for scrap uses.
Observing this life cycle led authors John Forrest and Deborah Blincoe to the idea that quilts, like living things, have a natural history that can be studied scientifically. They explore that natural history through an examination of the taxonomy, morphology, behavior, and ecology of quilts in their native environment—the homes of humans who make, use, keep, and bestow them.
The taxonomy proposed by Forrest and Blincoe is rooted in the mechanics of replicating quilts so that it can be used to understand evolutionary and genetic relationships between quilt types. The morphology section anatomizes normal and abnormal physical features of quilts, while the section on conception and birth in the life cycle discusses how the underlying processes of replication intersect with environmental factors to produce tangible objects.
This methodology is applicable to many kinds of crafts and will be of wide interest to students of folklore, anthropology, and art history. Case studies of traditional quilts and their makers in the Catskills and Appalachia add a warm, human dimension to the book.
Drawing from 167 examples of decorative needlework—primarily samplers and quilts from 114 collections across the United States—made by individual women aged forty years and over between 1820 and 1860, this exquisitely illustrated book explores how women experienced social and cultural change in antebellum America.
The book is filled with individual examples, stories, and over eighty fine color photographs that illuminate the role that samplers and needlework played in the culture of the time. For example, in October 1852, Amy Fiske (1785–1859) of Sturbridge, Massachusetts, stitched a sampler. But she was not a schoolgirl making a sampler to learn her letters. Instead, as she explained, “The above is what I have taken from my sampler that I wrought when I was nine years old. It was w[rough]t on fine cloth [and] it tattered to pieces. My age at this time is 66 years.”
Situated at the intersection of women’s history, material culture study, and the history of aging, this book brings together objects, diaries, letters, portraits, and prescriptive literature to consider how middle-class American women experienced the aging process. Chapters explore the physical and mental effects of “old age” on antebellum women and their needlework, technological developments related to needlework during the antebellum period and the tensions that arose from the increased mechanization of textile production, and how gift needlework functioned among friends and family members. Far from being solely decorative ornaments or functional household textiles, these samplers and quilts served their own ends. They offered aging women a means of coping, of sharing and of expressing themselves. These “threads of time” provide a valuable and revealing source for the lives of mature antebellum women.
Publication of this book was made possible in part through generous funding from the Coby Foundation, Ltd and from the Quilters Guild of Dallas, Helena Hibbs Endowment Fund.