Two views of the display case outside the library

 




THE QUILT AS A RECORD OF FAMILY HISTORY
WEDDING QUILT, HAND STITCHED
BY CATHERINE NOBLE STALKER (KATIE)

IN THE FARMING / WORKING CLASS THAT MY PARENTS GENERATION CAME FROM, ARTISTIC ABILITY COULD ONLY BE EXPRESSED IN A FUNCTIONAL WAY. MY FATHER DESIGNED AND BUILT THE HOUSE WHERE I GREW UP AND MY MOTHER MADE ALL OUR CLOTHES, CURTAINS, ETC, AND TOOK SPECIAL PLEASURE IN DESIGNING AND DECORATING HER HATS.

THIS QUILT WHICH SHE CREATED FOR ME AT THE TIME OF MY WEDDING IS MADE WITH REMNANTS LEFT OVER FROM ALL HER SEWING PROJECTS WHERE THE PATTERN IN THE CLOTH IS GREEN. AMONG OTHER THINGS, WHEN I LOOK AT MY QUILT I SEE OUR CHECKED KITCHEN CURTAINS, A PARTY DRESS I WORE AS A TEEN AND A TARTAN SKIRT THAT SHE WORE FOR YEARS.

IN THIS PHOTOGRAPH OF MY MOTHER, NOTICE THE DRESS SHE IS WEARING. ORIGINALLY SHE CREATED IT AS A SIMPLE SHEATH BUT WHEN THE FASHION OF THE TIME CALLED FOR A LONGER HEMLINE, SHE ADDED THE FLOUNCE TO THE HEM AND ADDED TWO MORE SLEEVES TO BALANCE OUT THE DESIGN. I LOVE THIS PHOTOGRAPH BECAUSE NOT ONLY DOES IT SHOW MY MOTHER'S FLAIR FOR DESIGN BUT ALSO HER FLAIR FOR LIFE!





THE QUILT AS A FINE ART
QUILT, HAND STITCHED BY KATHY KAISER
 

IN THE NINETEEN FIFTIES AND SIXTIES, ACTIVISTS IN THE CIVIL RIGHTS, WOMEN'S RIGHTS, AND GAY PRIDE MOVEMENTS, AS WELL AS THOSE IN MANY OTHER MINORITY GROUPS, BEGAN TO CREATE A CHANGE OF ATTITUDE IN THE ESTABLISHMENT. ONE IMPORTANT CHANGE WAS WITHIN THE ART ESTABLISHMENT.

THE FINE ARTS TRADITIONALLY INCLUDED PAINTING, SCULPTURE, AND THEIR RELATED FIELDS. WITH THE ADVENT OF FILM AND PHOTOGRAPHY, THEY TOO WOULD EVENTUALLY BE INCLUDED. ALL OTHER VISUAL EXPRESSIONS WERE CONSIDERED TO BE 'CRAFTS' AND/OR "DESIGN" AND OF LESSER IMPORTANCE THAN THE MORE ELITIST "FINE ARTS" TO BE FOUND IN THE MUSEUMS. THANKS TO OUR MINORITIES' INSISTENT VOICES, THE ARTISTIC OUTPUT OF THOSE VERY MINORITIES HAS BEEN REEVALUATED AND IS BEGINNING TO TAKE ITS RIGHTFUL PLACE IN THE WORLD OF THE ARTS. THE ART OF QUILTING IS JUST ONE OF THOSE.

KATHY KAISER, NOW RETIRED, BEGAN TEACHING ART FOR THE SPECIAL CARE COUNSELING DEPARTMENT AT VANIER IN 1972. KATHY'S BACKGROUND IN THE FINE ARTS AS WELL AS HER SERIOUS INVOLVEMENT IN CRAFTS AND HER BELIEF IN THE IMPORTANCE OF VISUAL EXPRESSION IN PEOPLE'S LIVES WERE REFLECTED IN HER TEACHING. SHE LOVED AND RESPECTED HER STUDENTS BUT SHE MADE SURE THAT THEY WORKED HARD TO MASTER THEIR VISUAL SKILLS AND THAT AS A RESULT THEY WOULD THEREFORE COME TO SEE "CRAFT" AS A VALUABLE ART FORM. HER ENERGETIC PRESENCE AND HER APPROACH TO ART EDUCATION ARE SORELY MISSED HERE AT VANIER.

 



On the walls between the quilts:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hidden in Plain View: A Secret Story of Quilts and the Underground Railroad

 

 

 

 

An astonishing example of the survival of the African oral tradition within the contemporary African American community is the Underground Railroad Quilt Code. Handed down orally, generation to generation since the antebellum days, the Underground Railroad Quilt Code was recently revealed by recitation to Jacqueline L. Tobin and Raymond G. Dobard, Ph.D., by Ozella McDaniel Williams of Charleston, South Carolina. The Quilt Code is a mystery-laden, secret communication system of employing quiltmaking terminology as a message map for black slaves escaping on the Underground Railroad. Deciphering the code had both explicit and implicit ramifications for Jacqueline Tobin and Raymond Dobard. They learned what the words and phrases of the code meant to the fugitive slaves who used it over 150 years ago. By engaging in a vast amount of research, authors Tobin and Dobard have established a significant linkage between the Underground Railroad effort, escaping slaves, and the American patchwork quilts.


THIS YEAR THE WORLD LOST TWO OF THE MOST EXCEPTIONAL HEROES OF THE 20th CENTURY

 

THIS INSTALLATION IS RESPECTFULLY DEDICATED IN MEMORIAM:

 

ROSA PARKS 1913-2005

CORETTA SCOTT KING 1927-2006 

 

 

 

Mrs. Parks at a ceremony where she was presented with the Congressional Gold Medal on June 15, 1989.

 

 

If picking up Dr. King's mantle, in the end, was something of an impossible task, both of them described a relationship that was truly a partnership. "I think on many points she educated me," Dr. King once said.


 

 

 

 

 

 

Reproduction of McDaniel family photo of Monkey Wrench quilt made by Ozella's mother. The quilt would have been the first quilt exhibited by the head seamstress; it directed the slaves to get their tools/belongings together in preparation to escape. (Photographed by Raymond G. Dobard)

 

 

Evening Stars by the Morning Light made by Raymond G. Dobard. Since the escaping slaves were told to follow the North Star, many nineteenth-century quilts contain star images.(Photographed by Raymond G. Dobard)

 

 

 

Flying Geese pattern. In this example the four sets of triangles point in four different directions. Moving clockwise from top right to bottom, the triangles point north, east, south, and west. The fabric selection in this example distinguishes the triangles in the upper left-hand corner, promoting a western direction. ( Made and photographed by Raymond G. Dobard)


 

 

 

 

The Dresden Plate quilt pattern, although named after the prized porcelain plates of Dresden, Germany, is reminiscent of the Wheel pattern and Carpenter's Wheel. We suspect that this pattern was used to indicate the cities of Dresden, Ohio, and Dresden, Ontario, in the code. (Made and photographed by Raymond G. Dobard)

 

 

 

 

Nineteenth-century example of the Wheel pattern (also known as Wagon Wheel and Blazing Sun). (Collection / photographed by Raymond G. Dobard)

 

 

 

Detail of 1980 Plantation Quilt by Elizabeth Talford Scott. Detailed stitching surrounds the star motifs, forming what appears to be a topographical map. (Photograph courtesy of Elizabeth T. Scott)

 

 

 

Log Cabin quilt "airing" in the window of slave cabin. This quilt is "hidden in plain view." Boone Hall Plantation, Charleston, South Carolina. (Quiltmaker / photographed by Raymond G. Dobard)



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revised March 21, 2006