Thursday, July 17, 2008

Quilts and History

Yesterday, we (a group of librarians) attended the 2008 Technology Fair at the Mississippi Library Commission. Wow! Have things changed since I became a librarian! Wii, XBox, blogs, web conferencing, a camera on the computer and/or phone so you can see who you are talking to, wireless telecommunications--all these wonderful new "techy" things made me want to go home and hug my fabric stash. I love the new technology but I have to admit that working with my hands to create quilts and other textile items makes me just as happy and satisfies a need to create.

Color, patterns, the feel of cloth in my hands, and the act of creating something totally my own excites my senses as much or more than playing "Guitar Hero" or bowling on the Wii station. Yes, we have to move forward with the times, but let's not forget the past. One of my favorite subjects is the history of quilts, quiltmaking and quilters. There has been a publishing boom in the last few years in the area of quiltmaking and quilt history like never before. Mississippi boasts it's own fair share of famous quilters and award-winning quilts.
Cotton was at one time "King" in Mississippi and Mississippi quilters have created wonderful works of textile art using cotton cloth and cotton batting. Mississippi quilters are still winning national awards for their quilts as evidenced in recent quilt competitions. The Mississippi Quilt Association has a wonderful website which tracks quilt guilds, shows, teachers and events. Their Yahoo Group and blog help quilters around the state share information. The Pine Belt Quilters Association will hold their 12th annual show in Hattiesburg at the Lake Terrace Convention Center on October 10-12, 2008. From our library collection:
Threading the Generations : a Mississippi family's quilt legacy by Mary Elizabeth Johnson and Carol Vickers documents the Shaifer family of Port Gibson, Mississippi. The book features 75 photographs of quilts, many family members, and important locations. The legacy this family left lives on as a testament to their creativity, artistic abilities, and a strong sense of family. (746.46092/J)

Mississippi Quilts by Mary Elizabeth Johnson documents the Mississippi Quilt Association's Heritage Quilt Search Project. The purpose of the search was never to look only for beautiful quilts. Rather, it was the goal of the group to discover and record a cross section of the quilts made by Mississippi women. Quilting is an artistic tradition that holds deep meaning for Mississippians, and it is a tradition that transcends the boundaries of race, economic status, or social class. Tieing in historic settings and events, the book is divided into periods of time and explains how quilts were influenced by availability of materials, events and social influences of a particular time. (746.4609762/J)

Martha Skelton: Master Quilter by Mary Elizabeth Johnson. Like all art forms, quilting has its "masters," and Vicksburg, Mississippi's Martha Butcher Skelton is among them. Noted quilt scholar Mary Elizabeth Johnson chronicles Martha Skelton's life and her development into one of America's foremost quilt artists. Martha's interest in quilting began when, as a girl, she watched her mother and aunts make quilts and enjoy needlework. After graduating college and marrying, she moved to Vicksburg and served as a school librarian for a number of years while raising a family. During this time, her quilting began to develop into an art. Having completed more than two hundred quilts (over ninety of which are photographed here in full color), Skelton has been recognized as a master quilter and teacher of the craft. Twice she was selected to participate in the Smithsonian Institution's Folklife Festival. She was instrumental in establishing the quilting program for the Mississippi State Fair and has taught in almost every Mississippi county, as well as in numerous other states. Two of her quilts are a part of the Museum of the American Quilter's Society's permanent collection, and her quilts are also included in the Mountain Mist quilt collection and the Mississippi Department of Archives and History collection. (Coming soon)

The Quilt that Walked to Golden by Sandra Dallas takes us back to a time when women traveling the westward trails of America created quilts, used quilts and wrote about quilts in their journals. Combined with historic photographs, this book is beautifully illustrated with colorful quilts from the collection of the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum. (746.46092/D)

Quilts from the Civil War by Barbara Brackman documents quilt patterns used during the Civil War era. One of America's pre-eminent quilt historians, Barbara combines excerpts of women's diaries, letters, and memoirs with photographs of the quilters and their children and their quilts. Included are patterns and instructions for 9 projects. The library also owns other Barbara Brackman quilt books which are useful for identifying quilt patterns. (746.46041/B)

Memorabilia Quilts by Rita Weiss and Linda Causee introduce fabulous projects which use family photographs and letters printed on fabric, collectible pins, award ribbons, bits and pieces collected during one's travels, and fabric from clothing. What a remarkable way to remember the times of your life! (746.46041/W)

Remember that the Piecemaker's Quilters Guild meet in the meeting room of the Lincoln County Public Library the second Monday of each month. Quilters and friends are invited.

Photos by Billie Smith of Piecemakers Quilters, Brookhaven, MS

1 comment:

  1. Love the blog and the reader's advisory post on quilts. May I suggest you hyper link the titles to your online catalog such as Threading the Generations. It doesn't take much effort and readers can place a hold or get the books off the shelf with the dewey number which is at their finger tips.

    I loved me some tech fair, too. Thanks for including me in your blogroll. I will do the same! :D