AMERICAN FOLKLIFE CENTER QUILTS ON QUILT INDEX
|ASHEVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA -April 10, 2009 - The latest quilts to be posted online
at the Quilt Index come from two significant collections archived at the
American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. Made in the late 20th
century, these 300-plus quilts represent a broad range of techniques and tell a
powerful story about the diversity, artistry and motivations of quiltmakers
across the country.
The Folklife Center, which documents a wide variety
of folklife traditions including music, crafts and food, boasts more than 4,000
collections. The just-posted quilts come from two collections. The Blue Ridge
Parkway Folklife Project Collection from 1978 covers quilts made by six
Appalachian quiltmakers from North Carolina and Virginia. This collection at the
Folklife Center site includes 229 photographs and 181 interviews with the six
quiltmakers, delving into detail about their daily lives. It's worthwhile to
study the quilts on the Index, and link back to the Center's online presentation
to read about these quiltmakers.
Above is a simple, practical 16-patch bed quilt made by Mamie Lee Parks Bryan, one of the six Appalachian quilters
studied in the project. Mamie, born in 1900, led a hardscrabble life with her
coal miner husband and six children.
A very different aesthetic is represented by the second collection from the
Folklife Center now searchable on the Index, consisting of 180 winning quilts
from the All-American Quilt Contest sponsored by Land's End and Good
Housekeeping from 1992 to 1996. These exemplary quilts from all over the country
include many original designs meant to be wall hangings rather than
Below is an art quilt completed in 1992 by Edna Harbison of Ontonagon, Michigan.
Michael Taft, head of the archive at the Folklife
Center, said of the announcement, "The American Folklife Center is pleased and
excited to be represented in the Quilt Index. The U.S. Congress has directed the
Center to 'preserve and present' American folklife, and having the Center's two
major collections of quilts in the Quilt Index meets this mandate."
Taft added that
this is an especially fitting relationship, since the Folklife
Center "is already the repository
for Quilters' S.O.S. - Save Our Stories, a project in partnership with the Alliance for American
Quilts." Materials from the 900-plus QSOS oral history interviews
posted on the Alliance website (www.allianceforamericanquilts.org/qsos) are archived
at the Center.
The Quilt Index is run in partnership by the Alliance for
American Quilts, Michigan State University Museum, and MATRIX - The Center for
Humane Arts, Letters and Social Sciences at Michigan State University. The Quilt
Index merges tradition with technology and springs from the work of a unique
team of researchers and experts committed to making significant, quilt-related
data widely accessible to both scholars and the general public.
Applications are now being accepted from institutions or quilt documentation projects who are interested in becoming a Quilt Index contributor, with a deadline of May 31, 2009. Information and application materials can be found at: http://www.quiltindex.org/collections.php.
questions, or to obtain other quilt images to use in your coverage, please
contact Amy Milne, Executive Director of the Alliance, at the number above.