No artistic form is more closely associated with African American culture than quilt making, representing skill, aesthetic beauty, and utilitarian need. Quilting, practiced in this country since its foundation, has long been recognized as an important facet of history, and individual quilts have themselves been sought out as important historical documents.
I am very interested in history, and have collected quilts for over forty years. The quilts I collect are narrative and tell stories related to some aspect of African American history or current issues affecting the African American community. The majority of quilts in my collection were made by African American men and women. A few of the quilts were made by artists outside of the Black community, but have themes which relate to some aspect of African American history and present day issues.
I tend to focus on the storyline offered by a quilt, rather than workmanship or technique. The story is always most important to me. I am also very interested in the lives of the quiltmakers as well as the quilts they make. These shared stories all work together to provide context for understanding of the individuality and diversity of quilt making in the Black community. The visual language of a quilt reveals the maker’s life experiences and reflects its meaning to the world.