Quilts Resources for Makers
Craft in America: QUILTS premieres on PBS December 27, 2019 (check local listings). The episode celebrates the vibrant community of contemporary quilters who make and share quilts, and who build community around this art form. In researching and filming QUILTS, we learned of wonderful teachers, blogs, guides, and other quilting opportunities across the United States. The following are just some of these resources, most of which are featured in the episode, for makers of all levels.
One of the episode’s featured artists, Victoria Findlay Wolfe, teaches classes and runs a popular quilting blog in addition to making her own dynamic and colorful quilts. Her pieces appear visually complex, but Wolfe is committed to demystifying her process and sharing her techniques. She is known for making quilts that look difficult to make, and then teaches quilters to make them. On her website, Wolfe offers online classes, templates and fabrics, as well as instructional videos.
The International Quilt Museum in Lincoln, Nebraska also appears in QUILTS, giving viewers a unique look into their extensive collection. They have rotating exhibitions throughout the year, conduct research, and care for the over 5,000 quilts in their collection. If you can’t visit in person, there are online images of a selection of quilts from the collection, complete with information on the materials, maker, and origin. The museum’s website also highlights a Quilt of the Month, and explains their conservation practices.
Every year on the third Saturday in March, quilters and fans of the art form celebrate National Quilting Day (NQD). NQD is an opportunity to appreciate quilt making, recognize the labor of quilt makers, and connect with your international and local quilting community. The first National Quilting Day was held in 1992 in the U.S. and has since grown into an internationally recognized day of celebration. The day is marked by special quilting events, classes, exhibitions, and other community gatherings. The International Quilt Museum has participated for the past 10 years, hosting a free all-day event with hands on activities, lectures, handwork demonstrations, and more, and we highlight the Museum’s 2018 event in QUILTS. For more information and to stay up to date on National Quilting day 2020, visit the Quilt Alliance website or their Facebook page.
The Migrant Quilt Project, featured towards the end of the episode, is an opportunity for interested quilters to unite art and activism. The project, founded in 2004 by Jody Ipsen, invites quilters around the country to make quilts using materials collected at migrant layup sites (locations used for rest and shelter) in the Sonoran Desert. Each quilt lists the number of migrant deaths during a given fiscal year, including the names of every person who lost their life. For those unidentified migrants, the word desconocido, or unknown, is used instead. These quilts – patchworks of denim, work shirts, and other found textiles – carry migrant stories and highlight the brutal conditions under which people seek safety for themselves and their families. The quilts are exhibited throughout the country, including earlier this year at the International Quilt Museum, encouraging viewers to rethink our government’s border policies.
Other opportunities for quilters to apply their craft to a meaningful cause include Quilts for Kids, featured in a QUILTS bonus episode, and Quilts of Valor, dedicated to making quilts for veterans.
Founded over 10 years ago, QuiltingHub is a comprehensive network of quilting resources, all organized in one place. Founder Paul Johnson has compiled articles, shops, shows, guilds, museums, classes, and more worldwide – all organized geographically. Quilters can plan quilt-themed trips, find their local quilt shop, and access how-tos. The site also has a dictionary of quilting terms, useful to both experienced and amateur makers. For additional resources, quilters can visit one of QuiltingHub’s affiliates: QuiltGuilds.org, or QuiltersTravelCompanion.com, or QuiltersResources.com.