|Asheville, North Carolina, July 12, 2012|
Since it was founded in 1993, the mission of the nonprofit Alliance for American Quilts has been to document, preserve and share the stories of quilts and their makers. The vast majority of the collected stories so far have come from American quiltmakers, and their rich histories across four centuries.
But the phenomenal American quilt renaissance that began in the 1970s, has lately gone global. Both the craft of making quilts and the study of historic quilts are booming worldwide, flourishing everywhere from Europe to Asia. The Alliance wants to follow this vibrant trail of quilts wherever it leads and has already added international offerings within existing projects. Fittingly, the organization's board of directors has now voted to change the nonprofit's name to Quilt Alliance, to reflect the broader focus.
A new logo was unveiled this week which depicts a colorful ring of quilts or patches punctuated by a threaded needle to finish the letter Q. The logo is vivid and flexible, a fitting symbol for a nimble and creative organization. A quick visit to the website will show how the new logo has already been graphically adapted to showcase specific events and programs, like the Alliance's Quilters Take Manhattan fall fundraiser. The website has been updated thoroughly to include the new name and logo.
"The new name is easier to remember and a more accurate description of our activities," said Meg Cox, Quilt Alliance president. "We've already got a small but growing number of amazing quilts from outside the U.S. on our website, and last year we added the first international board member. But the change also puts greater emphasis on the word "alliance " in our name. The organization has always worked closely with such partners as universities, museums and private collectors, but our vision for the future is to expand our alliances. Not just in bringing on global allies, but to build relationships outside the quilt and craft worlds, and to deepen our ties with passionate individual volunteers."
A visit to the Quilt Alliance website will provide evidence of its growing global reach. The oral history project, Quilters' S.O.S - Save Our Stories (Q.S.O.S.), includes a small number of archived interviews from half a dozen countries, including Russia, Japan, Australia and Canada.
Then there is the Quilt Index, www.QuiltIndex.org, an archive of more than 50,000 documented quilts which is run in partnership with Michigan State University Museum and MATRIX: Center for Humane Arts, Letters and Social Sciences at Michigan State University. The Index received a $100,000 grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) in 2010 to begin studying the best process for adding quilts from abroad: recently Canadian and South African quilts have been added, with more coming.
|"Xenophobia Memory Cloth" by Cynthia Msibi of Newcastle, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa |
Additionally, quilters from outside the U.S. have been submitting quilts to the Quilt Alliance's annual quilt contest since it began 6 years ago: for the 2012 contest, quilts came in from Canada, Germany, Belgium and Poland. And last fall's Q.S.O.S. interview project at the International Quilt Festival in Houston drew volunteers from Holland and Canada as well as the United States.
"Real Homes Wear Quilts,"
"Home Is Where the Quilt Is" contest entry by Bozena Wojtaszek of Lodz, Poland.
"The vision of our founders was to remain proactive and responsive to change," said Amy Milne, Quilt Alliance executive director. "Remodeling our brand shows that we're ready to grow and adapt to the ever-expanding and diversifying community of quilters and to bring more stories to the circle to be shared and preserved."
Quilt Alliance, a nonprofit organization, supports and develops projects to document, preserve, and share the history of quilts and quiltmakers. The Alliance brings together groups and individuals from the creative, scholarly and business worlds of quiltmaking to advance the recognition of quilts and their makers.