Quilting is a unique American tradition because it has been developed as a union of different ethnic and cultural traditions. Developed as a "houseware" and as an art form along with the development of our country, quilting has been preserved as a symbol in our tradition as a country. Quilting has come to symbolize the union of African and European traditions in a unique manner -- as union, rather than a separation, of two, often contrasting or forcibly separated cultures and traditions. In the following literature this symbol can be seen in the ways that quilts and quilting are used to convey certain themes of self-expression, union of opposite values or people, the formation of close bonds among women and kin, heritage, history, family, comfort, love, and commitment. Quilting in America has become a type of symbol used not only for individual artists or authors, but symbol for a country. The photograph of the NAMES quilt project above depicts the union of expression the entire nation used to commemorate the Americans who have died of AIDS. Quilting is thus a symbol that provides a medium which allows for expression that is representative of its original beginnings as a houseware and art form-- an inclusive and intermixed tradition comprised of varied backgrounds and cultures and histories. Quilting is a medium that can bring contrasting backgrounds together to create a new meaning from the intermixture of its contrasting influences.

Quilts in Literature
Return to Table of Contents