Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Stand the Storm by Breena Clarke - Meet Sewing Annie

Over the weekend, I read a Washington Post review of Breena Clarke's new novel, "Stand the Storm." According to Amazon.com:
"Even though Sewing Annie Coats and her son, Gabriel, have managed to buy their freedom, their lives are still marked by constant struggle and sacrifice. Washington's Georgetown neighborhood, where the Coatses operate a tailor's shop and laundry, is supposed to be a "promised land" for former slaves but is effectively a frontier town, gritty and dangerous, with no laws protecting black people."

You might be familiar with Breena Clarke's debut novel, River, Cross My Heart, which was an Oprah's Book Club pick. I look forward to meeting Sewing Annie Coats. Have you read Stand the Storm yet? Enjoy! UPDATE: You can listen to an NPR interview with Clarke by clicking here.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Judge in Gee's Bend Cases Grants One Final Extension

Yesterday counsel in the three cases of Annie Mae Young, Loretta Pettway, and Lucinda Pettway Franklin each vs. Tinwood Ventures, et al had a conference call with the Court yesterday.

According to the order signed by United States Magistrate Judge Bert W. Milling, Jr., the Court has "granted the parties one final extension (the Court's emphasis, not mine!) in each of these actions." Judge Milling has given the parties until 2pm on August 1, 2008 to report "on their efforts toward a global settlement or resolution of all three actions."

I'm going to assume it's a typo, but the date about judge's name on the online version of the order says June 24, 2008. The date of the filing is July 24, 2008 - and the Court had previously ordered the parties to get back to him by July 24.

This case has been in the Court system for just over a year now. Let's see what happens in just one more week.... August 1. What do you think? Will the three cases be settled or will they go to a jury?

Jonathan Green paints Sheldon Quilts

Thanks to Willa for sending me a link to Naples, FL painter Jonathan Green's website. For three years I put one of his wall calendars up. This year Jonathan Green has created a dozen different quilt-inspired paintings, including the one in the photo here. Sheldon Quilts is oil on canvas and measures 11 inches by 14 inches. It's available for sale for .... $10,000. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

John McCain Redwork Block Pattern

If you are a regular to the Black Threads blog, you know that I've shared free Redwork block patterns this Presidential Election season. One was of Senator Hillary Clinton and the other of Senator Barack Obama. I've been surprised by the feedback. One quilting guild will have a retreat in September. One of their retreat activities is a themed "Campaign Rally!" Guild member Linda C asked if I would create a Senator John McCain redwork block so that each major political party can be represented. Hope you enjoy this free redwork block pattern featuring Senator John McCain - Click here to download. Happy Sewing!

Fiber Artists for Obama & Cherryl Floyd-Miller's Obama Quilting Story

Fabric CAN capture our times, thoughts, and feelings. The online group - Fiber Artists for Obama - are in the process of making a FIERCE quilt about their favorite candidate. Many members have designed a special block for the collective quilt being made, thanks to Diana Bracy's leadership in organizing the actual quilt. In the photo here is the block by Lisa Shepard Stewart. Do visit Cherryl FLoyd-Miller's blog for more photos of the quilt blocks.

And, if you have five minutes, you MUST read Cherryl's personal blog post about the Obama-themed quilt she's making - the blocks include significant events in the 2008 Democratic Nomination process... Oprah's endorsement, Caroline Kennedy's support, Hillary Clinton as the Queen of Hearts... and, of course, Michelle Obama's loving support. Personally, I'm eager to see Cherryl's final masterpiece! Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

El Anatsui Quilts with Metal - DC exhibit

This last weekend I visited the National Museum of African Art on the Mall in Washington, D.C. I was blown away with the metal artwork by Ghanaian artist El Anatsui. He uses discarded metal objects to make what appears to be metal patchwork quilts. These are MASSIVE metal quilts - think KING SIZE. If you are in the DC area, you really should take time to visit this exhibit! And, if you are not within driving distance, click here to see examples of El Anatsui's work. Enjoy!

Something Pertaining to God: Quilts by Rosie Lee Tompkins in DC

I love being in the Washington, D.C. area with all these museums! From now until September 21, 2008, one can see the AMAZING creations of Rosie Lee Tompkins at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. There is an exhibit catalog - but the photos do not do justice if you can see the actual quilts in person. There are two pieces that have velvet - and its amazing to see the rich fibers in person - and think that this Sistah Quilter had such an imagination and close relationship with God to create these quilts and patchwork artworks. Ms. Tompkins passed away in 2006. About this exhibit - It's A Must See!

116 Years Ago Today - Martha Ricks Presents Queen Victoria with a Quilt

This day in history .... July 16, 1982 .... 116 years ago today, Martha Ann Ricks was invited to Windsor Castle to meet Queen Victoria. This former Tennessee slave and Liberian citizen was honored with a lunch and tour of the Castle. She also had an audience with Queen Victoria and met the queen's son, Prince Edward, his wife, and three daughters. Sistah Quilter Martha Ricks presented the Queen of England with a handmade quilt featuring a coffee tree in full bloom. If you haven't heard about Martha Ann Ricks before, I invite you to read my children's book about her - it's an inspirational story! Enjoy!

Monday, July 07, 2008

Uhuru Quilters Guild - Hanging By a Thread Show

On June 28, 2008 I drove to Lake Arbor Elementary School to experience the Uhuru Quilters Guild exhibit "Hanging by a Thread III." WOW! Sistah Quilters are something else. The nearly 200 quilts were well worth any investment in $4 a gallon gas. Here's a photo of the 26 page exhibit catalog which each attendant received.

This year's Uhuru Quilters Guild show was co-chaired by Carol Williams and Lisa Lewis. The committee members included: Cynthia York (Celebration committee), Betty Phillips (Children's Corner), Jennifer S. Morris (Layout), Elsie Houston and Charlene Marshall (Marketplace - yes, I did buy fabric!), Terry Gibbs and Lynora Williams (Program), Deb Sanger (Raffle Quilt - which is gorgeous!), Theresa Brown and Charlene Dean (Refreshments - just what was needed given the heat), and Tammie Morrow (White Glove committee). Mr. David E. Morris taped the event so that one can purchase images of the quilts on DVD. The show was even streamed on the web by Mr. Morris!

These Maryland quilters are on jam! If you have 2 minutes, do view the short video I created of the show. Thanks to Uhuru Quilters Guild coordinator Carol Williams for taking a moment to be interviewed and share the history of the guild's shows. Enjoy! Update: In just a week, nearly 150 have viewed the video! Have you seen it?

Timeless Treasures Fabrics 2007 Kenta

While attending the Uhuru Quilters Guild 2008 show, I purchased a couple of yards of fabric from The Fabric Peddler, a local fabric store founded in 1988 by Nadine Mills. She had bolts of colorful cottons to choose from, including these two prints from Timeless Treasures Fabrics 2007 line. Kenta-C3161 (multiple girls) and C3160 (yellow background). Had you already seen this fabric?

I don't know if the Fabric Peddler fabric store has any more in stock - you can send an email to Nadine (thefabricpeddler@yahoo.com) or give a call (301) 336-3646. I did find two online store with the prints: eQuilter.com (type in Kenta in the search box) and Elkabee’s Fabric Paradise.com. Enjoy!

Visit City Girl Quilts blog

Just stumbled upon the City Girl Quilts blog. This Atlanta-ish based Sistah Quilter is on a roll. Click here to see the details of the DUST on "Buy A New Broom" quilt, the her third New Years Resolution quilts. Do drop her a note on her blog! Enjoy!

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Riché Deianne Richardson - Sistah Quilter in Paris

Do "meet" Riché Deianne Richardson, a Sistah Quilter in Paris! Riché is a native of Alabama and a Spelman College graduate, where she made her first quilts. Riché received her Ph.d from Duke University and later taught at the University of California, Davis. Now she's in Paris - and still stitchin' quilts! Portrait quilts are her specialty.

Earlier this year, French film-makers Anne Cremieux and Geraldine Chouard documented
Riché quiltmaking and quilt motivations. Patricia A. Turner provides commentary. Turner has also profiled Riché in her upcoming book, Crafted Lives: Stories and Studies of African American Quilters (2009). Other than Faith Ringgold's Dancing at the Louvre or her privately published French Collection Part I, I know of no other Sistah Quilters who have stitched in France.

Cremieux and Chouard's film about Riché can be seen in three parts on YouTube. Click here for Part 1, Part 2, Part 3. The videos are titled "Portrait of the Artist." Each is about 7 minutes long. We get to "visit" Riché Paris studio, stroll through streets, and even accompany Riché to a fabric store (in Part 3)! Be prepared to hear Josephine Baker sing... Amuses-toi bien!

Ina Dews Donates Quilts to Illinois Museum

Ina Dews of Elgin, Illinois has donated three quilts to the Illinois State Museum, which already had nearly 400 quilts in its collection, according to Irene Boyer, the museum's decorative arts registrar. Interestingly, between five and 20 quilts are donated each year to the museum - and until Ina Dews' donation, not a single quilt - not one! - in the state's collection was made by an African-American quilter, according to a 4/29/08 Daily Herald newspaper article! The three quilts are queen-sized ones. Two were made by Ms. Dews' aunts from Texas and one Ms. Dews made when she was a teenager, according to the article. (Photo from the museum's website.)
I think its wonderful that the three quilts donated by Ms. Ina Dews will be preserved for generations future!

I do also wish that other African American quilts will proactively be included in the Illinois State Museum collection. Heck, Illinois is one of the top 10 states with the highest African American population. Is there an opportunity to preserve quilts from the Busy Fingers Sewing Club of Alton, IL? This African American guild started in 1948. Or, how about the Needles and Threads Quilters Guild of Chicago, which was founded in 1992 and continues today? Just a thought.

Maria Cole Receives Gift Quilt

Maria Cole, widow of music legend Nat “King” Cole, received a commemorative quilt in June during a program at the Charlotte Hawkins Brown Museum State Historic Site in Sedalia, North Carolina. Mrs. Cole was a niece of Mrs. Brown. Wish we knew who stitched this quilt!

Michael Cummings Quilts on Exhibit at Warm Spring Gallery

Recently in the news... "The Art and Life of Ashley Bryan, an African American artist, educator, author, illustrator and storyteller," will be showcased in a collaborative exhibition of African American artists at Warm Springs Gallery. The exhibit will begin with an opening reception for the artists from 6 to 8 p.m. July 11. To recognize Bryan's 85th birthday, poet Nikki Giovanni, longtime friend and Bryan collaborator, will attend the reception. The public is invited. Champagne and hors d'oeuvres will be served accompanied by live jazz and blues music by Bert Carlson.

The group exhibit includes 22 of Bryan's colored floral oils and a selection of charcoal drawings, never exhibited before, and works by quilter Michael Cummings of New York and basketmaker Jerry Bennet Taylor of South Carolina. The exhibition will run through Aug. 7. For more information, call 839-2985 or visit www.warmspringsgallery.com.

Messages From the Alabama Black Belt exhibit

On display starting July 12 is "Messages From the Alabama Black Belt" at the Hanson Gallery in Knoxville, TN. The show continues until September 21, 2008.

Featured artists will include Yvonne Wells, narrative quilts; Black Belt Designs with Marilyn Gordon and Lillie Mack, apparel; the Freedom Quilting Bee, historic women’s quilting co-op; Charlie Lucas, metal sculpture; Ted Whisenhunt, mixed media folklore; Mozell Benson and daughter Sylvia Stephens, quilts; Black Belt Treasures, baskets and more; Tyree McCloud, piecework on board; Kathy Fetters, photography; Amos Kennedy, letterpress posters; Hanson Gallery commissioned photography by Karen Krogh; and commissioned Gee’s Bend area paintings by Travis Abbott. Enjoy!

Ethnic Scrapbooking by Lisa Sanford

Have you tried Scrapbooking? Do check out Ethnic Scrapbooking by Lisa Sanford. It's $24.99 + shipping. You can visit Lisa's scrapbooking blog by clicking here. Enjoy!