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Monday, August 20, 2012

Why Quilts Matter: History, Art & Politics

Today, I want to talk about why quilts matter and I'm hoping you will take time to share your thoughts on why quilts matter to you!  I'll also share insights with you about  "Why Quilts Matter", their DVD, and how it can help Quilt Guilds, Museums, and other groups create some exciting programs, and hopefully I'll inspire you to check out this DVD, if you haven't already.

For me, I had the experience of playing under my grandmother's quilting frame that was set up in her living room.  She hand pieced and hand quilted, frequently making quilts for charity fundraisers through her church, for gifts,  and also for a small income.  Today, when I touch one of her quilts I can feel her gentle touch and see her warm smile!  Needless to say, like many of us, I acquired my love of quilting through my grandmother and the majority of my friends are quilters!

Every so often, in our world of quilting, special people take time to really capture the spirit of quilting in a documented form that can be enjoyed for ages to come.  Shelly Zegart, a known expert on antique and contemporary quilts captured the essence of quilting in a 9 part series titled Why Quilts Matter: History, Art & Politics,  through The Kentucky Quilt Project, Inc.. The series examines the history of the American quilt and community from early times through current placement in the art world.

The 9 episodes are well organized and contain insightful and inspirational discussions where Shelly interviews a variety of people:
Quilts 101: Antique and Contemporary Quilts,
Quilts Bring History Alive,
The Quilt Marketplace,
What is Art,
Gee’s Bend: "The Most Famous Quilts in America?"
How Quilts have been Viewed and Collected,
Empowering Women One Quilt at a Time,
Quilt Nation: 20,000,000 and Counting,
Quilt Scholarship: Romance and Reality.

Why Quilts Matter - Guild Guidelines and Ideas

This series also has several wonderful opportunities for Quilt Guilds and groups.  They have oodles of ideas how these episodes can be used to create fun guild meetings, simply visit their page for "Program Ideas" for a complete list.  But, please take time to review and follow their "Screening Guidelines".

There is an "Image Resource Guide" that provides information on every quilt viewed in the series, allowing a guild member facilitator to easily stop the DVD, at any point, and discuss a particular quilt.

Very soon "Why Quilts Matter Discussion Guides"  will be available.  Think of these guides as you might think of a "book club" that facilitates discussion around a particular book.  Your group can watch an episode of the series, with the guide helping to facilitate discussion around the episode based on questions provided in the guide.

Guilds can purchase 4, or more, DVD copies and receive a 40% discount, plus shipping.

More than 170 PBS stations have aired Why Quilts Matter so far.  If you haven’t seen this series on your local PBS you can contact them to request that they schedule it in your area.

There are also many videos on youtube that provide more insight about "Why Quilts Matter".

The two  DVD set is very reasonably priced for individuals.  Guilds can also work with their members to coordinate a group purchase, getting even a better offer.  

You can also find an excellent review of Why Quilts Matter on Martingale's blog  "Stitch This", that also includes a giveaway where you could win your own DVD of Why Quilts Matter.

More information on Why Quilts Matter is available at:
Website:                   http://www.whyquiltsmatter.org
Blog:                        http://www.whyquiltsmatter.org/welcome/blog/
Facebook:               https://www.facebook.com/WhyQuiltsMatter
Youtube videos:  http://www.whyquiltsmatter.org/welcome/about-the-series/

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Nina Marie said...

First of all - thanks for bringing up this very important set of dvd's to my attention. I remember when I heard they were filming these and promptly forgot. So now I can search out a way to see them! That said - for me - why quilting matters is that it gives me a way to express my creativity that no other media has seemed to capture. I never wanted to paint, draw, sculpt but when I put my hand on fabric - the texture, the warmth, the colors - well they just make me want to create. Plus I love the way that art can also be snuggled with. Have you ever tried to snuggle with a statue or a painting?? but with quilts you can literally wrap yourself in the beauty of the art and feel the warmth sink through you.

Diann said...

I was able to order this through inter-library loan and will be picking it up today. I'm very interested in viewing it.

Quiltingranny said...

Darlene, thanks for sharing the series and your memories. My grandmother didn't quilt, but she was a seamstress making all of our school clothes when we were small, our coats, robes, my sisters prom dresses and her wedding dress. I also remember her making coats over and over again when we lived in Nevada, then she put me in the car and drove (one of the few rare times she drove) me out to the reservation and we handed coats out. Think that is why I also make so many quilts for charities. I keep pictures of mine in albums with dates and who they went to.

Wacky Woman said...

Fabulous post Darlene. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

As a member of The Quilt Show, I had the privilege of getting to watch these episodes several months back. They were a wonderful series! I am so glad that I got to watch them.

No one in my family was a quilter when I was growing up, other than the generation of my great-grandma who had already "passed". My aunt and I learned how to quilt about the same time, unbeknownst to each other, as we lived in different states. When we finally got to sit down and visit a few years later, we were excited to find out that it was a passion for both of us. To this day no one can get a word in edgewise when the two of us start talking quilts! lol

CBH said...

Thank you so much for this post. I want to let you know that I posted a link to your blog in Creative Busy Bee Craft Inspirations, under the Page 1 post on Aug. 29, 2012. Thanks again.