CRAFT IN AMERICA: QUILTS Premieres on PBS on December 27, 2019 at 9pm (check local listings)
For Immediate Release
July 16, 2019
Contact: Beverly Feldman, [email protected]
[Los Angeles] – Announcing QUILTS, a new episode of Craft in America, the Peabody Award-winning documentary series discovering the beauty, significance and relevance of handmade objects and the artists who make them. For more than a decade, Craft in America has taken viewers on cultural journeys across this nation, honoring the multiplicity of traditions that have come to define our country. Craft in America: QUILTS will premiere on PBS on Friday, December 27, 2019 at 9pm (check local listings).
Quilts hold history, share culture, and tell stories that would otherwise not be told. They are rich with memories, beauty and emotion. Meet contemporary masters of this surprising and powerful art form.
Carolyn Ducey, Curator of Collections, and Leslie C. Levy, Executive Director introduce us to the International Quilt Museum in Lincoln, Nebraska where the mission is to build a global collection and audience that celebrate the cultural and artistic significance of quilts. The museum has the world’s largest publicly held collection of approximately 6,000 quilts from more than 50 countries, dating from the 1600s to today. “Quilts are the textile pages of our shared history,” states Levy.
We meet historian and storyteller, Ken Burns, a passionate quilt collector who affirms quilts to be the “simplest and most authentic expression of who we are as a people.” 28 quilts from Burns’ American quilt collection were recently exhibited at the International Quilt Museum. He views quilts as an essential building block of culture. “This is what human beings are required to do, to take raw materials and transform them into something greater than the sum of their parts. And that’s what a quilt is, that’s what art is.”
Susan Hudson, a Navajo/Diné artist from Sheep Springs, NM was taught to sew by her mother who was forced to sew at an “assimilation” boarding school. Hudson’s pictorial quilts honor her ancestors and the proud history of the Navajo people using a crossover style inspired by Ledger art. Recounting history through her ledger quilts has made Hudson an activist storyteller, chronicling the hardships endured by her ancestors.
Victoria Findlay Wolfe has a fine art degree in painting but found her life’s passion in quilt making. Now a New York-based International Award-Winning quilter, fabric designer, teacher, author and lecturer, Findlay Wolfe is known for making quilts that look difficult to make, then teaching quilters to make them. Each quilt Findlay Wolfe makes pushes boundaries, supporting her premise that creativity requires risk.
Michael A. Cummings is a nationally recognized quilter who lives and works in the historic Sugar Hill neighborhood of New York, NY. Self-taught, Cummings brought years of painting and collage skills to his quilt making. Inspired by jazz and working in the narrative tradition, Cummings and his sewing machine tell stories of the African American experience across historical, cultural, philosophical and mythical realms.
Judith Content uses inspiration from nature and a Japanese resist dye technique, arashi shibori, to create glorious abstract wall quilts in her Palo Alto, CA studio. Content dyes then composes fabric into an abstract kimono form and uses her sewing machine as a drawing tool to achieve an evanescent visual haiku that communicates to viewers both emotionally and intellectually. These Art Quilts, made to be viewed on walls rather than placed on beds, expand both the definition of the quilt and its place in the art world.
There is a great deal more to share with viewers and the Craft in America websites (craftinamerica.org and pbs.org/craftinamerica) will be the portal for that expanded journey. There will be additional video clips as well as resources, information about quilt guilds nationwide, lists of exhibitions and shows, interviews with quilters, an education guide for K-12 students, quilting projects and of course, a virtual gallery of quilts.
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
To view the Artist Bios: www.craftinamerica.org/release/quilts-artist-bios