Saturday, April 25, 2009

WOMEN'S WORK : : Marveling at an Antique Quilt Show

My friend Bea Deamers is a master quilter, and she organized an antique quilt show as a benefit for our church today. St. John's is a beautiful, 19th century structure, with intricate, hand-carved wood throughout the sanctuary. The juxtaposition of the rich wood with the vibrant, hand-sewn quilts was simply breathtaking.

I am always moved by primitive, domestic creations because I see them as practical, though sometimes improbable, expressions of women's voices and creativity. I talked about this last summer with our friend Steven Kellogg, the award-winning children's author and illustrator, who has a world class collection of American Primitive antiques in his barn. Creativity and passion simply burst from these artifacts, which until recently were not recognized as ART. We've all heard the phrase "Anonymous was a Woman," and it's never more evident than in this kind of work.

I have read that Amish women, renowned for their abilities as quilters, always sewed a flaw into their quilts so as not to the mock perfection of God's creation. I don't know if this is true, but I can tell you that I love the hand hewn feeling of this incredible work.

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