Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Why Quilts Matter

. . . [Quilts] hold so much information that isn't
accessible in other art-making mediums. . . They reflect
the pulse of every moment from multiple perspectives.
~ Stacy Hollander, Senior Curator, American Folk Art Museum

Why Quilts Matter Collage of Quilts 

Open a quilt and you open the beginning of a story. The story may be a political statement, a rendering of a moment of personal or national significance, a commemoration of a loved one's birth or death, the marking of sheer delight in the look and feel of fabric. In the United States, where more than 21 million individuals are involved in the thriving $3.6 billion industry, quilts are more than big business; they hold a unique place in American arts and fine craft, history and politics, and education and culture.

A special and important documentary series Why Quilts Matter: History, Art, & Politics takes an in-depth look at the stories quilts tell, the quilters who tell the stories, the scholars who research quilts, the collectors and dealers who buy and sell quilts, and "quilt culture" in America.

Intended for a broad audience, the nine-part series, which is available on DVD and to PBS stations through 2013 (and Kentucky Educational Television through January 2012), was independently produced and funded by the nonprofit Kentucky Quilt Project. KQP, established in 1981 in Louisville, was the first state quilt documentation project (such projects are in nearly every state now), fostering research, exhibitions such as 1992's "Louisville Celebrates the American Quilt", and a range of quilt-related publications and other resources, including the extraordinary Quilt Index, an online resource comprising more than 50,000 records.

The documentary's episodes comprise:

1 ~ Quilts 101 — Antique and Contemporary Quilts 

2 ~ Quilts Bring History Alive

3 ~ The Quilt Marketplace

4 ~ What is Art?

5 ~ Gee's Bend — 'The Most Famous Quilts in America?'

6 ~ How Quilts Have Been Viewed and Collected

7 ~ Empowering Women One Quilt at a Time 

8 ~ Quilt Nation — 20,000,000 and Counting!

9 ~ Quilt Scholarship — Romance and Reality

At the link for each episode you'll find a summary introduction to each episode and a selection of very brief video previews. Of particular note are the biographies for series participants and especially the Image Resource Guides. The IRGs are downloadable files (in pdf) that provide a complete catalogue of all the quilts and images featured in each episode. The information included with each image is as detailed as possible, with name, maker, date, material used, size, and owner or collection (individual, museum, etc.) noted if available. Funding is being sought to make the guides searchable via Google. The guides are indispensable to anyone viewing the series and anyone who makes quilts, teaches quilt-making, or is interested in the history of quilts.

Here's the trailer for the documentary series:

The series is available to libraries, universities, museums, guilds, craft shows, and educational institutions under public performance rights. See Screening Guidelines for more information.

Why Quilts Matter Website

Why Quilts Matter on FaceBook, Twitter, and YouTube

The Kentucky Quilt Project Profile at The Quilt Index

The Quilt Index on FaceBook and Twitter

The Quilt Index Blog

International Quilt Association


Louise Gallagher said...

I am sending your link off to my friend Jane -- an avid quilter.

Anonymous said...

ooooooohhh! big eyes here.

S. Etole said...

Quilting is a major activity in this area.

Art Gallery in India said...

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