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Binding Us Together: Quilts of the African Diaspora: Nonfiction

The purpose of this guide is to highlight resources related to quilting in the United States, on the African continent, and throughout the African Diaspora. Guide by Tracy Crawford.



Collection Highlights

African American quiltmaking in Michigan book cover.

African American Quiltmaking in Michigan

Essays by Marsha MacDowell, Darlene Clark Hine, Cuesta Benberry, and Bill Harris examine the history and meaning of quilting in individual artist's lives and within the contexts of community and family. Also included are excerpts of interviews with quilters Sarah Carolyn Reese, Ione Todd, Deonna Green, and Rosa Parks. In recent years, the study of quilts and quiltmaking has provided Americans with a new vehicle for understanding their past. In the spirit of this renewed interest, African American Quiltmaking in Michigan makes a valuable historical contribution and is the first book on the quiltmaking traditions of African Americans in Michigan. With 4-color printing throughout, with over 100 illustrations, it brings together many images in the exploration of African American quilting. In addition, the interviews examine quiltmaking as a form women have used to contribute to the historic meaning of the African American family and community.

The Black family dinner quilt cookbook : health conscious recipes & food memories book cover

The Black Family Dinner Quilt Book

As a shared meal nourishes the body, so a quilt, passed from generation to generation, warms and nourishes the spirit. Both recipes and quilts preserve the culture and history of a people and their social, historic, and artistic connections to their past and their future. Celebrating both these traditions, The Black Family Dinner Quilt offers recipes based on both traditional and contemporary African-American cuisine with recipes full of down-home flavor but lower in fat, salt, and sugar. Southern Ham and Shrimp Soup, Country Chicken and Biscuits, Jamaican Pork, Creole Beans and Rice, Creamy Macaroni and Cheese, and even Bethune Sweet Potato Pie are just a few of the healthful and soul-satisfying dishes you'll find in these pages.

A communion of the spirits : African-American quilters, preservers, and their stories book cover.

A Communion of the Spirits

A Communion of the Spirits represents the first national survey of African-American quiltmakers. It is also a personal record of how Roland L. Freeman's life has intertwined with the world of quiltmaking for almost sixty years--"as an African-American male; as a child who was deeply influenced by the cultural traditions and magical powers of quilts; and, for more than three decades, as a photographer and folklorist."Included are the fascinating stories of a remarkable range of individuals, old and young, women and men, including Rosa Parks, Maya Angelou, Sonia Sanchez, Alice Walker, Nikki Giovanni, Bernice Johnson Reagon, and Faith Ringgold.Organized chronologically, the book begins with Freeman's childhood years in the 1940s. "Quilts were special, even magical to me," he says. "They could heal and they could curse; they could capture history and affect the future; they could transform pain to celebration."

Crafted lives : stories and studies of African American quilters book cover.

Crafted Lives

In Crafted Lives: Stories and Studies of African American Quilters Patricia A. Turner explores the culture and recent history of African Americans through the creations and wisdom of nine quilters. Turner profiles quilters who exemplify the range of black women and men dedicated to the making of quilts, and she shows how their craftwork establishes order and meaning in their lives. The artisans comprise eight women and one man, ranging from teenagers to octogenarians, representing an array of education and income levels, and living across the United States, including Alaska. Turner also probes the ways in which African American quilts and quilters have been depicted, discussed, criticized, and characterized. From the displays of Harriet Powers's creations at the turn of the twentieth century to the contemporary exhibits of such black art-quilts as those promoted by Carolyn Mazloomi, and such utilitarian expressions as the celebrated examples from Gee's Bend, Alabama, Turner uses quilts to assess the level of control African Americans have had or have not had over the materials they craft and the art they leave as legacy to new generations.

Journey of hope : quilts inspired by President Barack Obama book cover.

Journey of Hope

Journey of Hope is a gallery of more than 100 stunning quilts inspired by President Obama's path to the White House. The works range from the poignantly abstract to the grippingly realistic and feature techniques including piecing, painting, appliqué, embroidery, dyeing, beading, and more. Filled with the spirit of renewal and change that fueled the Obama campaign, Journey of Hope is a celebration of our patchwork heritage and the quilter's art.

A piece of my soul : quilts by black Arkansans book cover.

A Piece of My Soul

Arkansas is well known for its rich tradition of upland folk arts. Little, however, has been reported from the lowland areas, particulary on African American contributions to the state's cultural heritage. A Piece of My Soul: Quilts by Black Arkansans seeks to rectify that oversight by drawing attention to the extensive, important collection of African American quilts in the Old State House Museum in Little Rock. Over seventy-five individual pieces of patchwork art are presented in this publication in full-color plates, each with a commentary by the exhibit's guest curator, Cuesta Benberry. The book details the importance of quilting to black Arkansans; the quilts' uses, materials and construction; and what each piece says about the artist and her beliefs. We are granted a glimpse into the living conditions and cultural mores of the quilters' lives. Regionalisms, such as the unusual custom of renaming traditional quilt patterns for things seen in the farmyard, such as Rooster Tail or Chicken Feet, and of piecing patchwork funerary cloths to decorate coffins are discussed. This impressive collection of cultural artifacts is placed in the larger context of the African American experience through an introduction by noted scholar Raymond Dobard (art history, Howard University), co-author, with Jacqueline Tobin, of the highly acclaimed book, Hidden in Plain View: The Secret Story of Quilts and the Underground Railroad (1999, Doubleday). All those interested in American folk art, the quilting craft, and black history will find this beautiful book fascinating and rewarding.

Signs & symbols : African images in African American quilts book cover.

Signs and Symbols

African-American quilts possess two unique qualities: more than any other American visual art, they most fully realize the expressive force of jazz, and they bind together generations of African-American families who have made and cherished quilts. In Signs and Symbols, quilt expert Maude Southwell Wahlman introduces readers to a third powerful force in these quilts: their African-derived meanings, patterns, and iconography. She explores the religious, ritual, philosophical, and aesthetic beliefs that have been retained by descendants of Africans in the New World and demonstrates how these beliefs are represented in their textiles. Now back in print, Signs and Symbols remains the most complete illustrated work on this art form; featuring over 150 high-quality full-color reproductions.

Spirits of the cloth : contemporary African-American quilts book cover.

Spirits of the Cloth

Showcases 150 of the most stunning contemporary African American quilts in full-color photographs; their creators expand upon the story that stands behind each piece.

"A Piece of My Soul"

"Pieced Quilt"

Picture of Pieced Quilt, Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum

Pieced Quilt
Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum