Friday, November 12, 2010

USCT Grand Review Part 2: Quilt Artist Tina Williams Brewer

This is part 2 of a series of posts about the US Colored Troops (USCT) Grand Review weekend; it is best to start with part 1 for an understanding of the weekend as a whole.

As part of the festivities last weekend of the USCT Grand Review, quilt artist (or art quilter?) Tina Williams Brewer came to the event to show her art quilts at a couple of educational sessions on Saturday. But, on the Thursday and Friday prior to the event, she traveled to some of the local elementary schools to introduce children to the idea of storytelling, history, and cultural expression thru art quilts.

My quilting group (not to be confused with my charity sewing group), since one of our members knows Tina very well, had the opportunity to work with her in the schools. You might be able to see my daughters in the pictures below, standing/bending in the background and helping the students with the hands-on project of log cabin block construction.

Tina takes the blocks that the children have created with glue on a muslin foundation, and then somehow sews them together. She visited three schools; she will create three quilts, one for each school.

I was in awe of the event. First, I found it amazing that a quilter--and an art quilter, to boot--would be interested in teaching children about art quilts. I truly admire her desire to instill in the next generation an appreciation for an art form that has revivals from time to time, but never really seems to be thriving anymore. Second, I was shocked that she travels with her museum quality quilts, and allows children to handle them! But her belief is that, as they are insured, they are meant to be experienced and enjoyed, and a quilt--and the quilting process--should not be inaccessible. That gave me pause. As much as I am adamant about creating utilitarian quilts, I do still believe that not every quilt should be used frequently. Well, Tina's perspective has given me pause, and caused me to begin to evaluate even more my way of thinking about quilts.

She was also incredibly gracious. On Saturday afternoon, she held two educational sessions about her quilts. Not only had she given us, our quilting group, opportunities to instruct right alongside her in the schools on Thursday and Friday, but on Saturday, she even gave us the opportunity to display some of our quilts along with hers. We are quilters, but she is an artist. Below is one of her exhibits of quilts, with some of my quilts. You might recognize what is probably my best known quilt (see the white one with the square, folded and lying on the table?). Under it is my picnic quilt top, and to the right on another table is my Yellow Brick Road quilt:

I do not have permission to share photos of my quilt group (except for one or two members), so I'll only show some of the pictures of the room where we were stationed. In the photo below is my High Light quilt:

See the woman in the foreground on the right with the hat and red dress? She was one of the re-enactors (see the Part 1 post); she was on break from her own session, and stopped thru our room:

Here I am seated at my sewing machine, sewing some of the setting blocks that Tina will use when she assembles the childrens' quilts; I am positioned in front of the quilt that I will present to you in Part 3 of this series!


  1. I weigh in with Tina on the every-quilt-should-be-touched-and-used belief. I don't make anything that doesn't hold up to the washer and drier... particularly hand work projects with hundreds of hours involved.

  2. I am recognizing the quilt next to you in the last photo! I wish I had been there, it looks like it was a very special event!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...