Monday, March 12, 2007

Meeting An Iconic Quilter

I've always had a love of fabric since learning to sew (out of necessity) when I was about 10 years old. However, it took a while for me to convert that love to weaving and quilting. One of the first art quilters I was exposed to was Faith Ringgold. I must say, however, that calling her a "quilter" is probably an over-simplification of all she has created. Anyway, when I got home from the conference in Louisville, there was a message from my friend Rebecca saying she had invitations to a museum reception, Faith Ringgold would be there and she knew I'd want to go. Isn't it great the way my non-fabric friends take care of me?

The reception was for the opening of an exhibit at my local museum called "African-American Masters". It includes works by Romare Bearden, Aminah Robinson, and other artists including, of course, Faith Ringgold. We quilters have always claimed her as one of our own. I guess dollmakers, painters, and writers could do the same. There was a children's choir there and I discovered that night that composers could also stake a claim when the children sang a song she had composed.So, I had the opportunity to briefly speak with an icon - about my online quilt group and about what an inspiration she is to African-American art quilters. I also left with a signed copy of a book about Faith Ringgold that I had received from about 2 weeks before I knew about the reception.

The bonus that night was the discovery of an artist, Benny Andrews, whose work I love. I felt guilty that I didn't already know him. As appealing as his work is in photos, it has to be seen in person. The work is actually collage with dimensionality. For example, a man's folded shirt cuff actually shows folds and a jacket may be raised 1/16" off the surface. Inspiration every place I turn!!
Works shown:
Mother's quilt, Faith Ringgold
Aunt Bessie and Aunt Edith, Faith Ringgold
Reception, Benny Andrews

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