From Heart to Hand: African American Quilts Exhibit at the BYU MOA

This last weekend I had the opportunity to visit the Brigham Young University Museum of Art with dear friends. On exhibit until November 15, 2011 is a collection of African-American quilts made by women from the Alabama region from 1945 to the present. It was so interesting to see these quilts and think about the women who made them and the many hours they spent stitching and quilting them together.

This first quilt by Mary Lee Bendolf made me think of a well loved bookshelf, full of interesting books. I liked the strong architectural quality of the piece, as well as the play of light and dark.

Strings, Mary Lee Bendolf, 2003-2004

I really loved this crib quilt made ca. 1945. All of the vintage floral fabrics made my heart flutter! And I thought of the love stitched into this quilt, pieced together with fabrics on hand, and made for a new little one.

Crib Quilt, Unknown, ca. 1945
Close up of Crib Quilt

This next quilt grabbed my attention because I have a large pile of thrashed jeans at home waiting to be made into a outdoor park quilt! I loved Catherine Somerville’s geometric design and the faded and shadowed spots where the pockets had been removed from the fabric. I really loved this quilt because it also reminded me of my Grandma Lavelle Pyper Wallace, who was a master at thrift and industry and who would have turned a pile of used work clothes into something beautiful and useful too.

Log Cabin/Checkerboard, Catherine Somerville, 1950-1960

This quilt, I think, was my very favorite. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it! The bold geometric design, the brilliant use of red and white, the whimsical ticking stripe on the binding. I love everything about this one!

Pig Pen Quilt, Unknown, late 20th Century

This Lone Star/Star of Bethlehem quilt was magnificent! The quilter had an amazingly deft hand at color selection and the background colors evoke a sense of the star rising. Truly amazing.

Lone Star, attributed to Mary Duncan, ca. 1950
Close up of Lone Star

This exhibit also has on display a section of 10 of Yvonne Wells quilts. This next quilt of Ms. Wells was my favorite, partly because of the design and color (loving the metallic!) and partly because of the message. Taken from Ephesians 6:10-18 this quilt brings into vivid focus the fight we all fight against our own demons. A triumphant fight made possible by the atonement of Jesus Christ.

The Whole Armor of God, Yvonne Wells, 1996
“Take that, demon!”  Close up of The Whole Armor of God.

The best part of visiting the exhibit was being able to share it with amazing friends! Let’s do this again girls!

Me, Ruth, and Andrea
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