SEVEN SOUTHERN QUILTERS



The following segment of the project displays specific examples of the ways in which African and European American quilting traditions have overlapped and developed together throughout the history of America. Academically the two traditions are often separated by race. Yet with the following examples it is clear that women did not stick to one tradition or another according to skin color. Early African American slave quilters borrowed techniques from their European mistresses and vice versa. Contemporary quilters similarly borrow, trade, swap, and continually develop a quilting tradition that intertwines the two traditions so complexly that their quilts are often difficult to categorize as either of one tradition or another. The biographies of these women, past and present, give a more personal account about the process of quilting and its significance to its creators. Each woman and at least one of her quilts is displayed along with an explanation of her motives, beginnings, and special traditions she uses for quilting. Especially worth noting are the similarities between each quilter's purpose and the intermixing of both African and European American traditions in each quilt displayed. Although these women are separated by over a hundred years of time or by difference in skin color, they share a tradition that cannot, although often academically attempted, be separated simply by the basis of original geographic or cultural origin.

Harriet Powers
born into slavery in 1837, Harriet Powers has two surviving quilts in the Smithsonian museum that display her applique techniques and heavy use of religious symbol
Kadella
a South Carolina slave, said to be a Barbados princess, who quilted for her owner and their two children
Jane and Rebecca Bond
a slave and her mistress share the tradition of quilting together on their plantation
Norma McKone
a contemporary quilter from Virginia, Norma speaks of her quilting traditions, especially of her gulf war quilt and the experience of presenting it in Washington D.C. to General Schwarzkopf
Pam Riggs
a contemporary quilter from Charlottesville, Virginia, Pam speaks of her quilting as a way to express her artistic side and to share this expression with others as gifts and in art show collections
Dorothy Holden
a contemporary quilter from Charlottesville, Virginia, Dorothy speaks of her quilting tradition as an evolving process that has benefits both intrinsic and as a method of income

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