Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Now What?

The Black Watermen of the Chesapeake quilt is finished. The My American Series of quilts is in Connecticut for the first stop of the tour. Does that mean Dr. Gaither has slowed down or is without a project? Of course not! If nothing else, she is even busier than ever.

She is currently working on 50 quilts. Yes, 50. There is a 36-quilt project documenting her life story by decade. This project incorporates two large scale quilts (not quite as large as the BoC quilt) and several smaller quilts which increase in size, number, and color as the decade depicted comes closer to the present. This project will also incorporate outside additions from Dr. Gaither's friends, family, and acquaintences through different sized circles depicting their relationship with her.

The next American Series quilt idea is being "stalked." Dr. Gaither has been commissioned to create a quilt to document the history of the National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, NC. This quilt will make its debut at the festival in August 2011. She is currently doing what she calls "stalking the idea" which means she is coming up with the overall design of the quilt, finding the fabrics, and researching the content for the quilt.

She is working on several other individual quilts and stalking a few other ideas including two quilts which pay tribute to two Maryland doctors who made great contributions to their field, a social justice piece, and a quilt about her mother created in the Gee's Bend style. Additionally she is working with several individuals and organizations to create quilts to document their history.

If you would like to learn more about her style of quilting and take a class with her, you will have the chance this February. Dr. Gaither will present a workshop for the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of African American History and Culture in late February. The workshop will be held in northeast Washington DC in an area frequently photographed by the Skurlock Studio. The museum currently has an exhibition on the Skurlock Studio entitled The Skurlock Studio and Black Washington: Picturing the Promise on display in their "preview gallery" at the National Museum of American History. The workshop will tie into the exhibition through the use of photographs to document history whether through the photographs themselves or using images to create a quilt. I will post more details on the workshop including how to register soon.

If this wasn't enough, Dr. Gaither will be heading back to Connecticut next month for the opening of the exhibit at the Hartford Stage as well as continuing to set up future tour dates. As always, if you would like to bring any of her quilts to your area, please get in contact with us. Send us an email at and we will get in touch with you.

1 comment:

Carol Benson said...

My wishlist: I would like Joan to make a quilt about Musicians