Thursday, July 12, 2007

Wilma Gary, 84, Sistah Quilter passes

The Minneapolis - St. Paul's, MN Star Tribune reports that Wilma Gary, 84, passed away. She was an active and noted Sistah Quilter. From the paper:

"Gary grew up on a rural Kansas farm, where she began quilting at age 8. Her quilts have been exhibited at the Minnesota Historical Society and the University of Minnesota's Goldstein Gallery in St. Paul.

"Gary seldom missed a chance to lecture about African-American quiltmaking before schools and other groups, including the Walker Art Center. Among her prized possessions were quilts made by her ancestors. One quilt is about 140 years old.

""Those women didn't make those quilts for exhibition back then," Gary told the Star Tribune in 1997. "They did it for the joy of making quilts or because somebody needed to stay warm or somebody had a lot of children and needed them, or somebody had a baby, or somebody graduated," she said. "My mother used to give me blocks of fabric and say, 'Now just sit down there and see what you can figure out.' " "
The article by Ben Cohen goes on to report that Mrs. Wilma Gary was head quilter at the Sabathani Senior Center for 20 years. She was also presented by the Minneapolis Textile Center with its 2007 Spun Gold Award. In 1997, the NewStandard featured Mrs. Gary in an article titled: How to make an African-American quilt: Family histories woven with spontaneity, improvisation. The photo here is features Mrs. Gary and Remi Douah.
Blessings to Mrs. Gary for her quilting legacy! Peace to her surviving family: sons Printice, Kenneth, Russell and daughters Janice, Hedy Gary and Alberta Hicks - and Mrs. Gary's host of grand, great grands, and even great-great grands.
Update. You can read more about Mrs. Gary: Douah, remi Kouessi-Tanoh. In her own words: Uncovering a life experience woven into the African American quiltmaking tradition (Wilma Gary). This is a dissertation in support of the author's Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota, 2006.

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