Friday, June 15, 2007

07/08 Academic Decathlon Art Selection #2

Quilting has such a rich tradition in our country! This Bible Quilt was made by Harriet Powers in 1886. Can you figure out some of the bible stories that she is illustrating? Where did she come from and I wonder how this quilt was preserved. One thing about textiles, they are more sensitive to the elements (the sun can DESTROY a piece of cloth!) and are more difficult to preserve. PLUS, critters love to munch on fibers. One of the main stresses on fabric is too much love! When we use, launder and revel in textiles, they begin to deteriorate. I have a quilt of my grandmother's and I remember seeing her tucked in her bed under her quilt. I have it now, and when I wrap up in it, I rejoice in the pattern, colors and the fact that my grandma & I are sharing the experience even though she is long gone. Do you have a favorite quilt or quilt story from your family? Maybe you have another kind of textile story. I'd love to hear about it!


Vijay said...

Harriet Powers was an African American slave folk artist from Athens, Georgia. Her Bible Quilt was hand and machine stitched through methods called appliqué and piecework, which were African influences.

Her quilt told stories that were separated into 11 different panels. Panel 1 represents Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, naming the different animals.
Panel 2 shows that Eve has given birth to a son in Paradise. He finds a pet fowl.
Panel 3 shows Satan among the seven stars.
Panel 4 shows Cain killing his brother Abel.
Panel 5 shows Cain going into the land of Nod to find himself a wife. On his way, he encounters many animals, especially a lion with a prominent front lower tooth.
Panel 6 represents Jacob's dream, where an angel ascends and descends a ladder.
Panel 7 is the baptism of Christ. The bat-like creature is "the Holy Sperret extending in the likeness of a dove."
Panel 8 shows globular objects that represent the darkness of the Earth and moon turning into blood.
Panel 9 represents Judas Ascariot and the thirty pieces of silver. The large disc is "the star that appeared in 1886 for the first time in three hundred years."
Panel 10 represents the Last Supper, but the number of disciples is curtailed by five. They are all robed in white spotted cloth, but Judas is clothed in drab, being a little off-color in character.
Panel 11 represents Joseph, the Vargint and the infant Jesus with the stare of Bethlehem over his head.

KC said...

Do little tid bits of information count? Cause those are actually the only ones I ever pick up on...

- Harriet Powers is one of the best known SOuthern African American quilt makers during the civil war.

- Only two of her quilts survive today.

- Jennie Smith, an art teacher for an elite finishing school for white girls, REALLY LIKED HER QUILT. Enough to hound her about it for five years and paid a whole five dollars for it.

- Smith made sure to write down Harriet's own description of her quilt.

-Powers' quilts are known for their "bold use of appliqué" <--- Which is a technique that is closely related to artistic methods in Benin, West Africa.

picture of Harriet(the only one):

Kyra said...

Hello - I'm also a Harriet Powers fan. Best, Kyra