Monday, February 04, 2008

AAQC of Durham, NC - Kickin' it with a NEW BOOK!

Here's the cover of the 84-page, vividly colorful self-published book by the African American Quilt Circle of Durham, North Carolina (ISBN: 978-0-615-17337-5). These sistah quilters have it going on! I recently asked one of the book's editors, sistah quilter Marjorie Diggs Freeman, about the book.

What motivated the guild to publish a book about your members? Why was it important?
One of our goals is to keep the tradition of African American quilting alive in our community. We know the importance of history and to that end, we have tried to keep a record of our guild history: exhibits, group and individual awards, special recognitions, etc. To have a more permanent, lasting record of who we are, we decided to publish our own book. We also have a guild membership with the Alliance for American Quilts and will have an official workshop on February 9th to learn the process for recording, preserving, and sharing our oral histories entitled "Quilters' S-O-S. - Save Our Stories." It is important to preserve our history for our present family but particularly for future generations.

Can you tell us briefly about the process for creating the book?
Such a project requires MONEY. To have someone publish it for us was much too expensive so a member researched self publication. A small group of members designed and created a quilt for which all members sold a given number of raffle tickets. The profit from the raffle served as seed money for the printing.

Every member was invited to participate in the book project for a fee based on the number of pages they would have in the book. The monies collected covered the expenses of the photographer, the layout and graphic designer, the actual printing of the book, securing of title and ISBN registrations, and provided each participant with one copy of the book. Additional copies were printed with monies from the treasury and prepaid orders from the membership. Over several sessions, members were scheduled to have their pictures taken with their quilts; a few retakes had to be done. Members were required to write their own information...what they wanted to say about themselves and their work.....
with only AAQC members doing everything except the layout and photographs ..., we are PROUD!

We printed what we could afford to pay for as payment was required IN ADVANCE of printing. We did not know how well the book would be received so we had to move with caution. ... The profit from the book sales will go into our treasury.

Would you also recommend other guilds also document their members' creative talents in a book?
Yes, absolutely, even if not on the scale that we did it.
I have one of the books! Its splashes of color provide you with the personalities of the quilters and their work. Nancy Cash was the project director; Veronica Hicks the project assistant (no, I don't think Veronica and I are related :> ). Editors included Marjorie Diggs Freeman, Rosiland Morrow Wallace, and Veronica Cartwright. The front cover photograph was by Sistah Quilter Sauda Zahra.

The book features the AAQC History, group picture, a listing of the 2007 AAQC membership, and profiles of the following 34 quilters: Jerome Bias (yes, a brother quilter), Marjorie Barner, Shirley Bullock, Shirley Royal, Jan Garrett, Patricia Walters, Hanunah Habeebullah, Willa Brigham, Delores Benton Evans, Jacqueline Richardson, Ife B. Grady, Otelia Newsome, Veronica Hicks, Tenna Crawshaw, Roxanne Higdon, Pauline Parker, Selena Sullivan, Robin Pinchback, Lenoia Dorris, Ida Couch, Veronia Carlisle, Doretha Hamidullah, Joan McCoy, Melanie Dantzler, Candace Thomas, Annette Bailey, Hattie Williamson Schmidt, Marjorie Diggs Freeman, Sauda Zahra, Kimberly Cartwright, Linda Tate Suiter, LInda Steel, Nancy Cash, and Edna Alston. Most profiles are two pages - with photos of each quilter, their quilts, and their own words on why they quilt.

The quilts include traditional designs, including one of the most gorgeous Baltimore Album quilts by Selena Sullivan titled Jubilee Quilt, contemporary designs and story quilts. You must see Rozanne Higdon's fun, innovative Surrender quilt. I can go on and on....

As Marjorie mentioned, there was only a limited number of the book printed. It's my understanding the book is $29.95 + US shipping & handling ($6.75). The book is not available online. You can order the book from the African American Quilt Circle, 4706 High Meadow Road, Durham, NC 27712. Congratulations to the AAQC!


Nikki said...

Sounds like a wonderful book and a treasured keepsake!

Anonymous said...

I will share this with the Los Angeles Guild. What teamwork!

Sally L. Smith said...

Kyra, Last Nov. you visited my blog and asked if there were resources for Black Victorian Photos. I've been on the lookout since then and, unfortunately, I have not found too many. Today I came across who has a couple of digital collage sheets in which you might be interested. I've also seen one or two photos every now and then on but you'd have to get permission from the photographer to use them. I didn't forget and I'll continue to keep my eyes out.

Anonymous said...


I have two left...hands, so I can only sit here green with envy about the skills your group's members have.

Unknown said...

LOVE THE SPIRIT of PULLING TOGETHER...all the pieces...just like you quilters!

lisa at