After viewing the current exhibit, “Seasonal Palette”, quilts made by members of SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates), as well as quilts from the permanent collection, Joe held court in the museum library and led a lively and impromptu discussion on a several topics, focusing on two: the traditional dismissal of women’s quilts as “merely” women’s creations; and the phenomenon of quilts as gifts.
On the first topic, Joe decried the traditional trivializing of women’s quilts as mere bed coverings instead of the works of art that they are. Often when women in the past placed two startling colors or block patterns next to each other, that juxtaposition and the creativity needed to make it were dismissed as accidental. However, as modern art developed and male artists started to make those same unconventional choices, their creations were deemed to be art and the makers were considered master artists. Far from being accidental, those pattern and color choices were manifestations of women’s creativity and were some of the only choices that women could make in eras when women were controlled socially, politically and legally. Joe, who said that he recently sold one of his quilts to a museum, is on a mission to promote the showing of women’s quilts as art in major museums other than just quilt museums.
Another topic that Joe has been exploring recently, and that he discussed during his visit with us, is the concept of a quilt as more than just a bedcovering made for one’s personal use. He talked about the phenomenon of the quilts as gifts and how, once women have made enough quilts for everyone in their families to have on their beds, they find outlets for their gift-giving so they can continue the process of creating quilts. All my kids have two quilts apiece and don’t want any more quilts? That’s okay; I’ll make charity quilts to donate to a hospital, a nursing home, a shelter for victims of domestic violence, for flood or fire victims, and for our military heroes. The need to create leads to the production of quilts that can be used to warm the lives of people we may never meet.
Joe’s visit to the library concluded with Library Volunteer Coordinator Martha Supnik rounding up all the books that Joe has authored or co-authored and getting Joe to autograph the library’s reference copies. Way to go, Martha!
You can find out more about Joe by visiting his website, http://www.joethequilter.com/
Written by guest blogger and library volunteer, Dottie Macomber