CRAFT IN AMERICA: QUILTS Artist Bios
CAROLYN DUCEY, Curator of Collections at the International Quilt Museum, Lincoln, NE, oversees new acquisitions and conserves the museum’s impressive collection. She has curated numerous exhibitions including “Uncovered: The Ken Burns Collection” and has authored books on quilts. Ducey has a passion for and fascination with historic textiles. Her explorations reveal intriguing stories of women and women’s history embedded in the larger social and economic history of the world. Her goal is to expand people’s visions of what quilts are and to draw connections between American quilts and those from around the world.
LESLIE C. LEVY was named the Ardis & Robert James Director at the International Quilt Museum in 2014. Her invaluable skills are helping the Museum to navigate its second decade with the invigorated goals of: opening the museum to a diverse spectrum of artists, makers, collectors, enthusiasts, scholars and historians; introducing the museum, its collection and programming to global audiences; building a world-renowned collection and the resources to steward it for generations; and advancing the mission and outreach of the museum to inspire future audiences through partnerships and programming with schools and universities
SUSAN HUDSON is a member of the Kin Ya’áanii, or Towering House clan of the Navajo Nation, of Sheep Springs, NM. She is a descendent of the prominent leader Narbona, and grandniece of Master Weaver Mary Ann Foster. She has created a new quilt form that incorporates the style of Ledger art into story quilts of Navajo hardship and loss. These pieces go beyond tribal, resonating as shared experiences by many other Native American communities.
Her mother Dorothy Woods taught her to sew and quilt when she was nine years old. “After the buffalo disappeared, our women were forced to learn sewing in boarding schools. But look at what we are doing with it now. We are taking it a step further and using it to tell our own stories so we will never forget,” remarks Hudson. “In my dreams I’ll see images of my ancestors. I think about them being forced to leave their homelands and go to reservations and the children being made to go to the boarding schools. I think about the Long Walk of the Navajo.”
Her quilts honor her ancestors, their sacrifices and strengths, and remember their hardships. These tributes have won awards at the Navajo Nation Fair, Window Rock, AZ, the Gallup Intertribal Ceremonies, NM, the Museum of Man in San Diego, CA, and at the Indian Arts and Crafts Association, NM, among others.
VICTORIA FINDLAY WOLFE was always fascinated by color, pattern, and design. After training as a painter, she found her life’s passion to be quilt making. Growing up in Minnesota, inspired by a creative mother and grandmother who was an avid quilt maker, she learned to quilt and sew at 4 years old and is now a New York City-based International Award Winning quilter, fabric designer, teacher, author and lecturer.
Findlay Wolfe travels to teach and lecture on creativity and play all over the U.S., Japan and Australia. Her quilts have won many awards and she has had a number of solo exhibitions, including at The International Quilt Museum, NE, Wisconsin Museum of Quilts & Fiber Arts, WI, International Quilt Festival, TX, and most recently, “Playing With Purpose: Victoria Findlay Wolfe Retrospective” at the National Quilt Museum, KY (6/28-10/8/2019).
Findlay Wolfe is the founder of the NYC Metro Modern Quilters Guild, NY, which advocates for each quilter to fully explore their creativity in quilt-making, and is a member of the Manhattan Quilt Guild, NY, and Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA), CT. Findlay Wolfe has a studio and quilt store in New York, NY where the products she designs can be found.
MICHAEL A. CUMMINGS, a self-taught quilter of the narrative, story-telling tradition, is one of a handful of male quilters in a female dominated artform. Using vibrant colors, applique technique, and a sewing machine for the main body of the piece, he often embellishes the surface with hand embroidery and found objects. Stories involve celebrations of Josephine Baker, Harriet Tubman, Langston Hughes, jazz music, mythical/historical characters, and commemorate historical events in African American history. Cummings views his quilts as giant collages, likening the process of construction to painting on canvas.
Through a career spanning thirty years, Cummings’ work has been commissioned by Art in Embassies, DC, the City of Knoxville, TN, the New York Department of Cultural Affairs, NY, Home Box Office, NY, The White House, DC, and Absolut Vodka, NY, among others.
His work is included in the public collections of the Brooklyn Museum, NY, the Museum of Art and Design, NY, the California African American Museum, CA, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, NY, the Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery, DC, and in notable private collections. He has received numerous prestigious awards.
JUDITH CONTENT is a fiber artist who uses a contemporary interpretation of the Japanese dye technique arashi shibori to make hand dyed, quilted and pieced silk wall quilts, shaped in an abstract interpretation of the kimono form. Representative of the Studio Art Quilt movement, these pieces elegantly adorn the walls of galleries, museums and homes across the US and Japan.
Content’s work is inspired by the interplay of light and shadow that occurs within natural landscapes, exploring the essence of an image, memory, or moment in time. Relying on intuition and experience, she dyes, pieces, quilts and applies appliqué, to achieve a perfect haiku that draws upon the audience’s memories and experiences upon viewing the finished piece.
Her works have been exhibited nationally and internationally. Numerous institutions hold her work in their permanent collections including the de Young Museum/Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, CA, Museum of Arts and Design, NY, San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles, CA, International Shibori Collection, Japan. She has served as president of Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA), where she established their exhibition program. Evanescence, Judith Content Solo Exhibition will run from 7/6 – 8/24/2019 at Tansey Contemporary, Denver, CO.
CRAFT IN AMERICA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to advancing original handcrafted work through the Peabody Award-winning documentary series on PBS nationwide and the free-to-the-public Craft in America Center in Los Angeles. With twenty-one episodes produced since 2007, CRAFT INAMERICA takes viewers on a journey to the artists, origins and techniques of American craft. Each episode contains stories from diverse regions and cultures, blending history with living practice and exploring issues of identity, ritual, philosophy and creative expression. Our websites craftinamerica.org and pbs.org/craftinamerica provide all episodes, hundreds of online videos and interactive learning materials, as well as object exhibitions, artist information, and the Random House book Craft in America: Celebrating Two Centuries of Artists and Objects and other Craft in America publications.
The Craft in America Center is an exhibition and learning space in Los Angeles. We give voice to traditional and contemporary craft through artist talks, workshops, exhibits and concerts. Our reference library contains over one thousand books and videos and is free to the public. We invite you to stop in and to join us for upcoming events and exhibitions – 8415 W. Third St., Los Angeles, CA 90048
QUILTS: HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE EPISODE exhibition on view at the Craft in America Center, January 11-March 21, 2020