Saturday, September 27, 2014

Lolita Newman's Freedom Gone: Embroidered Quilts of Slave Life in the Civil War

Have you incorporated black work stitching into your quilt making?  Consider Southern California artist Lolita Newman's publication Freedom Gone: Embroidered Quilts of Slave Life in the Civil War.

The 96-page book includes instructions for seven quilts and six projects illustrating daily chores, family life and "the quest for freedom" experienced by enslaved African Americans during the 19th century.

You can also purchase individual block patterns from Ms. Newman's etsy store, Stitchin' by the River. Enjoy!


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Quilter Cassandra Stancil Gunkel to Speak at Drake Well Museum

Quilter and historian Cassandra Stancil Gunkel will speak on Friday, Sept. 26, at 7 p.m., at Drake Well Museum in Titusville, PA on the topic “The Underground Railroad in Quilts?” Professor Gunkel will examine the controversial questions  - did quilts guide escapes? She's also have historical and reproduction quilts to showcase. The talk is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Carolyn Mazloomi - 2014 NEA National Heritage Fellow

Congratulations to Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi, a force in American quilting!

Dr. Mazloomi has been named a 2014 National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellow for her lifetime contribution to African American Quilt preservation, documentation, exhibition and advocacy. The honor comes with a $25,000 prize, according to the Cincinnati enquirer.com.

Mark your calendars if you can get to Washington, DC.... the NEA invites the public to attend the National Heritage Fellowship Awards Ceremony on Wednesday, September 17, 2014 at 5 p.m. in Room 119 of the Library of Congress's Thomas Jefferson Building at 10 First Street SE in Washington, DC. Come cheer on Dr. Mazloomi and other 2014 Fellows. No tickets are required.

On a personal note, I read about Dr. Mazloomi in a quilting magazine back in 1990ish. I mailed her a photograph of my first quilted wallhanging - along with a self-addressed, stamped envelop. She graciously sent me back a letter encouraging me to continue to quilt - and to send her a photo of my next piece. Over the next few years, she prodded me to "quilt bigger" and have the courage to stitch a full-size bed quilt. Her early, early support made a significant difference in my life.  The Lord knows my quilts would never have received the exposure they have without Dr. Mazloomi - and I'm sure many Black Threads Blog readers feel the same.  Feel free to leave a message below on how Dr. Mazloomi has influenced your quilting.  Thanks!

Congratulations Dr. Mazloomi! 


the National Heritage Fellowship Awards Ceremony on Wednesday, September 17, 2014 at 5 p.m. in Room 119 of the Library of Congress's Thomas Jefferson Building at 10 First Street SE in Washington, DC. NEA Chairman Jane Chu and members of Congress will present the awards to the recipients. - See more at: http://arts.gov/news/2014/nea-celebrates-folk-and-traditional-arts-free-concert#sthash.TW2v25mi.dpuf
National Heritage Fellowship Awards Ceremony on Wednesday, September 17, 2014 at 5 p.m. in Room 119 of the Library of Congress's Thomas Jefferson Building at 10 First Street SE in Washington, DC. NEA Chairman Jane Chu and members of Congress will present the awards to the recipients. This event is open to the public and no tickets are required. - See more at: http://arts.gov/news/2014/nea-celebrates-folk-and-traditional-arts-free-concert#sthash.TW2v25mi.dpuf
National Heritage Fellowship Awards Ceremony on Wednesday, September 17, 2014 at 5 p.m. in Room 119 of the Library of Congress's Thomas Jefferson Building at 10 First Street SE in Washington, DC. NEA Chairman Jane Chu and members of Congress will present the awards to the recipients. This event is open to the public and no tickets are required. - See more at: http://arts.gov/news/2014/nea-celebrates-folk-and-traditional-arts-free-concert#sthash.TW2v25mi.dpuf

Monday, September 01, 2014

Hear Comedian Katsy Chappell at The Gold Bug Quilt Guild

Want a good belly laugh? Take a moment to hear comedian and quilter Katsy Chappell. She shares a couple hilarious crafting projects using Capri Sun juice drinks.  Enjoy!

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Are You Addicted to Pinterest?

I confess. I'm addicted to Pinterest! I love the ability to see new quilts, fabrics, other textiles and just anything! What's your favorite topic? Here are links to a couple of my boards:
Sistah Quilters on Pinterest
Visit this Sistah Quilters Pinterest board
Are you on Pinterest? What's your favorite board? Feel free to share!  Enjoy! 

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Marion Coleman Quilting Wichita Falls Together - 300 Quilt Block Project

Marion Coleman quilt
Photo by Lana Sweeten-Shults
California quilter Marion Coleman is a native of Wichita Falls, Texas. And now the Wichita Falls Museum of Art at Midwestern State University is presenting a project based on Marion's art.

Quilting Wichita Falls Together: A Community Art Experience is seeking 300 quilt squares from the community that feature personal stories. Can you imagine how wonder that cloth narrative will be?! A shout out to the Priddy Foundation for funding this project. The finished quilt, pieced  together  and  quilted by  the  members  of  the  Red  River  Quilters, will be unveiled in the fall. There will also be an exhibit titled Story Quilts: Exploring African American Cultural and Personal History in  the Art of Marion Coleman featuring 15 original fiber artworks on display October  17,  2014  until  February  2, 2015. 

Contact the Wichita Falls Museum of Art if you'd like to participate in the community quilt square project.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Sisters Quilting Collective exhibits at the Crocker Art Museum

Congratulations to the Sisters Quilting Collective in sunny Sacramento, California, for the recent exhibit of quilts at the Crocker Art Museum as part of its Black History Month Festival. More than 2,000 were expected to the celebrations. The hand-pieced quilt featuring Harriet Tubman is designed by Debbra Murphy.
Sisters Quilting Collective, CA
Photo by Jose Villegas
To learn more about the Sisters Quilting Collective - and see more than 60 the fantastic guild photos, visit their blog at sistersquiltingcollectivesqc.blogspot.com.

Read more here: http://www.modbee.com/2014/02/18/3195451/the-crocker-art-museum-celebrates.html#storylink=cpy

Color Quilt by LeVerne Holbdy-Little

I was recently on quilter Julia Wood's blog and came across a 2010 post featuring a photo of Alabama quilter LeVerne Holbdy-Little. She was conducting a workshop titled the "Colors of Love" - and what a LOVELY quilt her husband is holding!  Mrs. Holbdy-Little spoke about African American quilt history earlier this month at the Birmingham Public Library-East Lake Branch.  Enjoy! 
Quilter LeVerne Holbdy-Little

Black History Artists Books at NY's Printed Matter, Quilt on Display

Printed Matter, the famed artists books non-profit bookstore in New York City, has a table featuring African American book artists for Black History month. Curated by Theresa Chromati, the display features more than a dozen books, including ones by Shellyne Rodriguez, Jayson Musson and Ellen Gallagher.

See the quilted wallhanging in the photo? It's created by California quilter Denise M. Campbell as a gift to me when my book, Black Threads, was published.

If you're in NYC this month, do stop by Printed Matter!  Enjoy!

Printed Matter, NYC

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Afro Modern: A Twist on Tradition

Look what I got in the mail!  The program guide and postcard for the African American Quilters of Los Angeles' 2013 quilt show - Afro Modern: A Twist on Tradition.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to see the show in person, which took place in Carson, California in November. I've been in previous years and the quilts are FANTASTIC! I counted 85 or so exhibiting quilters in this 2013 exhibit checklist! Congratulations to AAQLA and president Linda County.

Here's a link to the AAQLA website - http://www.easysite.com/aaqla - jazz music plays when you visit, so be careful if you are web surfing from work!  Enjoy!

Looking for Quilters who Make Artists' Books

Hello!  One of my new found loves is the area of Artists' Books - books that are the art. I've been collecting interesting examples of Pop-ups & Book Art on Pinterest for a few months.

I recall once seeing Faith Ringgold's 1995 Seven Passages to a Flight, limited edition art book, in person and being amazed. There were only 30 copies made, and they all sold out.

I recently started looking for Black artists who are making Artists' Books and came across Tracy Dietzel's 27-page African American Artists' Books: A Resource, published in 1992.

Now I'm curious - who are today's Black artists or quilters making artists books?


Friday, March 29, 2013

Sewing With Nancy Interviews Dr. Michele David

Are you familiar with the colorful story quilts by Haitian quilter Dr. Michele David? Treat your eyes and be inspired by this Sewing with Nancy interview, first aired in December 2012.  What do you think of these quilts?  Do share your thoughts!  Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Hear an Interview about the African-American Quilt Guild of Baltimore, Maryland

If you have a moment, have a listen to this 6 minute podcast interview with Sistah Quilter Barbara Pietila. The podcast is on the Black Art Depot Today website. And, I have to say, it's WONDERFUL to hear Barbara's warm, inviting voice as she speaks about the African American Quilters of Baltimore, AAQB.

Quick personal story. When I moved to Virginia, I met a couple of local quilters. Barbara was among the first. What fun to visit her home and studio. We sat and talked in her back yard garden, where she was growing COTTON and sipped iced tea. I grew up in Los Angeles and had not ever seen real, raw cotton before Barbara placed a fully boll in my hand. Enjoy the podcast!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Valerie Goodwin - Art Quilt Maps - new book!

Congratulation and a huge shout-out to award-winning Florida quilter Valerie Goodwin on the publication of Art Quilt Maps: Capture a Sense of Place with Fiber Collage - A Visual Guide. This 96 page book gives step-by-step instructions on how to create your own fiber collage map of your own real or imaged place!  Can't wait to get my copy!  Enjoy!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Julius Bremer - Cleveland Quilter

I was so excited to learn about the quilts of Cleveland, Ohio quilter Julius Bremer, a retired librarian who started quilting in 2002. Thanks to Allison Carey of the Cleveland Plain Dealer for the fabulous photo essay featuring half-dozen of Mr. Bremer's quilts!

Check them out by clicking here before the Home Hobbyist article goes away.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Enter the Goodreads Book Giveaway - FDR's Postage Stamp Quilt


Goodreads Book Giveaway

Franklin Roosevelt's Postage Stamp Quilt by Kyra E. Hicks

Franklin Roosevelt's Postage Stamp Quilt

by Kyra E. Hicks

Giveaway ends November 30, 2012.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Have you read Sew On For You - a quilter's newsletter

I just read my October issue of Sew On For You - an email newsletter from Aisha Lumumba. It's free to subscribe. Just email alumumba@obaquilts.com. Enjoy!

Apply for a Quilt Research Grant from the AQSG

AQSG Office in Nebraska
The application deadline for the Lucy Hilty Research Grant and the Meredith Scholar Award is February 1, 2013.  Guidelines and pdf's of the applications forms are on the American Quilt Study Group website under Grants and Scholarships.

I've been a member of AQSG for over a decade now. This is one of the few organizations that does sponsor quilt-related research. So - if you've wanted to research and document quilts, quilters, quilt guides, quilt trends, etc - here's your opportunity to apply for a grant for up to $2,500. 

Here is an opportunity for a quilter, a guild, an undergraduate or graduate student to secure funding for a project.  Enjoy!


Sunday, August 05, 2012

Quilt Me Into Memory by Sherrie Theriault

Wanted to share news of a charming new children's picture book by outsider artist Sherrie Theriault titled "Quilt Me Into Memory."  Sherrie has self-published over twenty illustrated books featuring her art. In Quilt Me Into Memory, she writes about a little girl who's family remembers her in a quilt. Sherrie's mother stitched the quilt on the book cover.  Fans of Harriet Powers will smile when you read this story. (I don't want to spoil the story!)

You can read an interview about Sherrie's inspiration for this particular book on the Publish Your Own Quilt Catalog blog.  Enjoy!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Pinterest - African American Quilt Books & Catalogs


Hello - Have you "pinned" on Pinterest yet?  I recently went overboard and created a board featuring African American quilting books and catalogs. I went as far back as Roland Freeman's "Something to Keep Me Warm" from 1981.

Have you or your guild published an exhibit catalog? I'd LOVE to include it in this board. There is some fantastic work - have a look:  http://pinterest.com/kyrahicks/african-american-quilt-books/

 Enjoy!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Edna Patterson-Petty Publishes her own Quilt Catalog!

Congratulations to Edna Patterson-Petty, sistah quilter from East St. Louis, on the publication of her new book, Fabrics Work: My Creative Journey. This 28-page, full-color catalog includes 18 quilts and an insightful essay about her creative inspiration and process.  You can find Fabrics Work on Amazon. Enjoy!

Saturday, June 02, 2012

John Jasper Bicentennial Commemorative Quilt Unveiled in Richmond, VA

John Jasper Bicentennial Commemorative Quilt - Richmond, VA
If you're in the Richmond, Virginia area, you must take time to visit the Sixth Mount Zion Baptist Church and view the John Jasper Bicentennial Commemorative Quilt!  Can you imagine what this magnificent piece must look like in person?!

I recently had a delightful conversation with Mr. Benjamin Ross, Church Historian at the Sixth Mount Zion Baptist Church.

For those who may be unfamiliar with Rev. John Jasper, he was one of the most well-known African-American preachers of the nineteenth-century, saving and baptizing many at camp meetings. He organized the Sixth Mount Zion Baptist Church in 1867 and served there for 34 years.

Mr. Ross, can you tell us about this quilt?

BR:  The John Jasper Bicentennial Commemorative Quilt was created to celebrate the 200th birthday of Reverend John Jasper (1812-1901), our founding pastor. The center panel offers Reverend Jasper himself, with the Bible in one corner and the state of Virginia in the other corner. Jasper traveled throughout the Commonwealth preaching to all who came to hear him.

The quilt is approximately 11 feet by 11 feet. It has eight panels of the sun rotating around the quilt. This is a symbolic gesture of Jasper's famous sermon, De Sun Do Move. There are also eight panels of stars rotating around the quilt. Each individual star represents the number of years that Jasper was a free emancipated man. The green fabric that holds the sun and stars together represents the earth, thus the full title of the sermon, De Sun Do Move, Earth Am Square.

Who stitched the quilt? How long did it take to complete the quilt?

BR:  Work on the quilt began in August 2011 by members of the Victory Senior Adult Ministry,  with consultation by the Black History Museum & Cultural Center of Virginia, especially Mary Lauderdale.  The quilters who made this quilt are: Phillip Battle, Carolyn Broderick, Nannie Johnson, Ollie Gibbs, Emma Edmonds, Christine Mears, Delores Greene, Gloria Scott, Elaine Wells, Louise Jones, and Barbara Whitaker.  We purchased many of the fabrics from Quilting Adventures in Richmond, VA.

Quilting has been a part of church activities for a number of years. The Victory Club of the Sixth Mount Zion Baptist Church created a 45-panel quilt for our 130th Church Anniversary in 1996/1997.

Celebrating and preserving history seems very important to the church.

BR: Yes, it is. We have the John Jasper Memorial Room, available to the public, with information about the church and its rich history. Virginia Commonwealth University also has an archive of papers about the church and Rev. Jasper.

Mr. Ross, thank you and the Victory Senior Adult Ministry for sharing news of the John Jasper Bicentennial Commemorative Quilt.  There's a rich history of churches stitching quilts as commemorative pieces (e.g., Third Baptist Church in Toledo, OH or Episcopal priest Pauli Murray) and we're glad to know about the Sixth Mount Zion Baptist Church, Rev. Tyrone E. Nelson, senior pastor.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Michael Cummings - 30 Years of Quilt Making

The work of New York quilter Michael Cummings is included in the exhibit "Secrets & Stories" now on display at the Visions Art Museum in San Diego. Art quilts by Rachel Brumer, Karen Cunagin, Wendy Huhn, Carolyn Mazloomi, Lori Lupe Pelish, Wendeanne Ke'aka Stitt, Susan Shie and Anna Torma are also showcased.

Cummings earned a BA in American Art History at Empire College. Early in his artistic career, he painted and made collages and shadow boxes. He taught himself to quilt in 1973 by studying the works of local quilters and reading how-to quilt magazines and books.

Cummings has had varied quilting experiences. Vivian Ayers-Allen was the first gallery owner to display his quilts. In 1997, he was commissioned by the House of Seagram to create a quilt for the famous Absolut Vodka ad series. He has illustrated a children's lullaby book with specially-designed quilted pieces. Hallmark Cards even featured his quilts in the Mahogany greeting card line.

I had an opportunity to ask Cummings about his quilt-making recently.

What keeps quilting as an art form interesting for you?

MC:  I have been quilting over 30 years. I love creating stories or narrative quilts. Working with fabrics to construct my art quilts is an exciting adventure. Fabrics allow me to surround myself with colors, prints and textures that constantly are energizing my creative process.

Tell us about your quilt in the Secrets & Stories exhibit.

MC: The quilt is titled "President Barack Obama." After President Obama won the election, I felt that a quilt celebrating his election, [that] historical moment and providing an African American prospective was required. I wanted to address the racial issue and the fact that he is from an interracial marriage. Black and white are dominate colors in the quilt and symbolize Black and white America. I also divided his image into those two colors. I used another fabric with printed images of New York City scenes from the 1930s representing an urban environment, where he once lived. I wanted him to be surrounded by proactive civil rights activists that made history themselves and helped to enable him to be elected. I chose quotes that are hand-painted onto the surface of the quilt. These quotes are by James Baldwin, Martin Luther King, Jr., Thurgood Marshall, Langston Hughes and President Obama's favorite president, Abraham Lincoln. These quotes hopefully provide viewers with some background related to struggles and pains that came before and still remain in a racially divided America.

There are 21.3 million US quilters, according to the latest Quilting in America industry survey. Ninety-nine percent of "dedicated quilters," those who spent more than $600 per year on quilting, are women. Dedicated quilters are 6.2% of all US quilters. Quick math indicates there are about 13,200 dedicated male quilters. I can visualize the art quilts by Joe Cunningham, Edward Bostick, Raymond K. Houston, Michael James and John Sims.


What advice would you give to a young boy or young man who is interested in textile arts?

MC:  As a male quilter, I have found that people are inquisitive about why and how I started making art/quilts. You need both creative skills and business skills, if you plan to sell your work. Business skills include marketing, promotion, bookkeeping and computer skills. You have to believe in yourself. Know that you are part of an ancient tradition in the global family of men and boys, working to create both functional and decorative items.

Thank you, Michael. The "Secrets & Stories" exhibit is on display at the Visions Art Museum in San Diego until July 22, 2012.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

International Black Doll Show & Sale May 26 in Philly

If you are in the Philadelphia area on May 26, take time to visit the Pennsylvania Convention Center,12th and Arch Streets for the 23rd International Black Doll Show and Sale from 10am to 5pm.  The show is sponsored by the Philadelphia Doll Museum and   Admission is $7 for adults. Click here and get a coupon for $1 off. A thank you shout-out to doll maker Tonya Montegu and quilter Angela for sharing news of the show with me. Drop a note if you are going to this doll show! I may even take the train up.  Enjoy!
Special thanks to the (very cool!) Black Doll Collecting blog for correcting me on the location of the show - which will be at the PA Convention Center. 

California quilter Sandra Johnson's First Quilt Show



Orange County, California Sistah Quilter Sandra Johnson was featured in her FIRST quilt exhibit in February 2011 at Second Baptist Church in Santa Ana, CA.  Her quilts in this show were inspired by the Gee's Bend quilters. Sandra, thank you for posting this YouTube video. We eagerly await your future quilt exhibits!  Enjoy!

Gifted: Art Quilts Featuring African American History Makers

Just published!  Gifted: Art Quilts featuring African American History Makers by Aisha Lumumba is now available. This 28-page, full-color catalog showcases moving pictorial quilts of famous folks such as Billie Holiday, Whoopi Goldberg, Forest Whitaker (quilt appropriately titled "No Trees Just Forest"), a dignified Sidney Poitier, a notorious and stern Biggie Smalls, and more. The portraits seem real given Aisha Lumumba's talent for putting bits of fabric together in such a way you "see" the real person.  Can't you just feel Billie Holiday dig deep while singing "God Bless the Child" from this cover photo?  Be sure to read this visually delightful art quilt catalog!  Enjoy!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Women of Color Quilters Guild in Dayton, OH Stitch Harriet Powers' Lost Lord's Supper Quilt

There are times when I am just speechless and extremely humbled.

As you may know, I've been researching Georgia quilter Harriet Powers for the last few years and wrote a book about how her two known Bible-themed quilts survived more than a century to be housed today at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and the Smithsonian American History Museum. In the course of my research, a copy of an 1895/86 letter by Mrs. Powers was uncovered in Keokuk, Iowa.  Mrs. Powers wrote that in 1882 she "... composed a quilt of the Lord's Supper from the New Testament." For reasons outlined in the book, I believe in the possibility that a quilt by Mrs. Powers could have been sold to a woman in Keokuk - and that, if true - that quilt may have been sold at an 1959 auction in Keokuk.

Last year I couldn't shake this thought that a quilt by Mrs. Powers might still be somewhere in a family's collection. To help get the feeling out, I designed what I thought Mrs. Powers' lost Lord's Supper quilt might look like. Elyse Whittake-Paek took my funny stick-figure sketches and drew proper quilt blocks. Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi then took the quilt blocks and made the quilt now on the book cover.  

Mrs. Harriet Powers' spirit was indeed in the project!  Recently Dr. Mazloomi shared the photos below of quilts lovingly stitched by members of the Women of Color Quilters Network, Dayton, Ohio chapter. These sistah quilters are Christians and know well the Bible stories in the Lord's Supper Quilt. I LOVE how they took the patterns and made the designs their own!  Don't you agree?  Look at how unique each interpretation is!  Congratulations, ladies!

Thelma Patterson stands behind her quilt!

This quilt above was made by Verita Robinson!

This quilt above was made by Barbara Dammons! 
Happy Mother's Day to the WOCQN - Dayton, Ohio!  Enjoy!

Limited Time - Free Kindle Yo-Yo Flags Quilt pattern eBooklet

Quilt pattern - Yo-Yo Flags


For a limited time only - you can download this free YoYo Flag Quilt Pattern by Mary Lou Danielson
Note: Though free at the time of posting, prices may change at any time. Please verify that the “Kindle Price” is $0.00.  
Don’t have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here, or you can download a Kindle Reading App for free for your computer or smartphone!  Enjoy!



Monday, April 30, 2012

Secrets & Stories exhibit at the Visions Art Museum in San Diego

If you are in San Diego, do take a moment to visit the "Secrets & Stories: Narrative Quilts by Nine Artists" exhibit at the Visions Art Museum. The show is open from May 4 - July 22, 2012.  The artist include Rachel Brumer, Michael Cummings, Karen Cunagin, Wendy Huhn, Carolyn Mazloomi, Lori LUpe Pelish, Wendeanne Ke'aka Stitt, Susan Shie and Anna Torma.  Enjoy!

P.S.  This quilt in photo is by Weneanne Ke'aka Stitt and is titled "Birdland".

Senior Crafters Earn Online



Thanks to the article "Seniors Get Crafty for Online Fun and Profit" by Rebecca Rivas, we get to meet seniors like Ioni Dodson, who in retirement, is combining ecommerce and her crafts to showcase her work on etsy.com.  Also featured in the article is Dabanga dos Santos, another sister crafter who is sharing her work online.  Enjoy!