By Marsha MacDowell, Michigan State University Museum
A precious, ancient contribution, this can be the 1st booklet at the quiltmaking culture of African americans in Michigan. With 60 photos of quilts, it brings jointly many photos within the exploration of African American quilting and examines quiltmaking as a kind ladies have used to contribute to the old which means of the African American kinfolk and neighborhood.
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Extra resources for African American Quiltmaking in Michigan
Marsha L. MacDowell is Curator of Folk Arts, Michigan State University Museum and Professor, Department of Art, MSU. Dr. MacDowell was Page xii director for the research project that led to the exhibition African-American Quiltmaking Traditions in Michigan. Dr. MacDowell also serves as the coordinator of the Michigan Traditional Arts Program in partnership with the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and has conducted numerous research projects on traditional arts that have resulted in many exhibitions, publications, and public programs.
Such breadth provided an opportunity to examine major controversies in African American quilt scholarshipthe issues of African survivals in African American material culture and whether or not a ''typical African American" quilt exists. As outlined by some scholars, characteristics of such quilts include vivid color palettes, strongly contrasting color combinations, asymmetrical and strip piecing, multiple patterning, uneven and large quilting stitches, use of protective charm symbols, large design elements, use of appliquéd figurative images, and individualistic interpretations of Anglo-American traditional patterns.
This essay originally appeared ill American Visions 8, no. 6 (December-January 1993): 14-18 and is used here by permission of the author and publisher. Page 10 Such an extremely myopic view of African-American quilts made many scholars of black history and quilt history researchers uneasy. How could this small sample of late-twentieth-century African-American quilts represent in its entirety the contribution of thousands of black quiltmakers working at the craft over two centuries? Would the history of blacks in America affirm that they had been a monolithic group, without different experiences, environments, customs, and beliefs that would affect their creative efforts?