Monday, April 11, 2011


The 100th Posting caused me to pause and think more about the extent of the original TTT (Trails Tracks Tarmac) Exhibition and the increasing emergence of new communities, art makers, and museum goers. Of course, the challenge set forth by Banneker-Douglass Museum’s Education and Public Program techno guru Genevieve Kaplan fuels my attempts to post more often.

I thought with this posting I would share a bit more about the current long-term projects that might invite your participation. The Black Watermen of the Chesapeake Bay Quilt, on exhibit at Maryland State Arts Council in downtown Baltimore extended until May 30th 2011, serves as a table of contents for the BWCB Extension Project. It is my hope that each of the 200+ names of people, places, and events identified on the quilt soon will be adopted to have the larger story documented in quilt format. In a manner similar to TTT (on exhibit at Bates Legacy Center in Annapolis) in which railroad track pattern fabric appears in each smaller quilt to unite the individual community stories, a Chesapeake blue fabric water pattern is available for use to bring the individual watermen and women experiences together in the even larger American story.

I’m excited that teachers working with their students have begun collaborative conversations and other individuals have agreed to quilt a story of a family member or historic aspects of specific watermen communities. I’m also optimistic that, like TTT, artifacts will be uncovered as quilters explore the images and history of the area that would inform a future exhibition. With the ease of new technology, video interviews of seniors that recount memories of their parents and grand parents could lead to uncovering untold parts of lost histories, while at the same time preserve their images and voices.

The second project is My Memory Is Only As Good As Yours Decades Series Quilts. Initially, I asked the question, “What signifying words should I use to reference my identity beyond the color of my skin?” and “How do these words tell my story relative to history and my communities?” I’m inviting family, friends, colleagues, old and new acquaintances to create a circular quilt in contrast to my forty rectangular and square quilts that document personal experiences within the context of identity, relationships, American and/or world history, and an important personal memory sealed by the passage of time.

Embroidery hoops come in multiple sizes and could be used as templates; or as my cousin Robsyl says, “ a hula-hoop gives you more room to tell the story” needing to be told. Be sure to choose a circular sized hoop large enough to quilt one or both sides to tell a portion of our shared history. Thank you to quilters that have already completed and submitted their story quilt circles. Do you think 1000 quilt circles is a large enough number for the decades’ memory series? In 2003, I received 150 quilt squares for the Friendship Project in a matter of a few weeks used in the creation of twelve 45”x 45” quilts which have provided scholarships opportunities for inner city children to have access to MICA’s Young People’s Studio artistic experiences.

In closing, a series of documented story quilt projects related to uniting communities are partially started with selected fabrics gathered and layered with plans further being developed in the sketchbook. More information will follow in future postings relative to a group of quilts that document experiences of 1) African American Women Social Groups, 2) the Life and Legacy of Harriet Tubman, and 3) Maryland African American Legal Legends to the history and culture of Maryland and to the larger American story.

I’d like to think that our world is much more humane than the media would have us to believe and more of us are connected through our shared history and experiences. Please use the gmail address for this site if you, your family, or group want more information, are interested in participating in any or all of the above projects, or would like to begin related projects in your communities.

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