Presented in partnership with the New England Quilt Museum
In honor of Women’s History Month, this exhibit celebrates quilting as an expression of community, one that has provided American women a social outlet for centuries. By finding their voices and a sense of sisterhood in quilting circles, women broke free from societal constraints, even if only within the walls of their homes. During the American Civil War, quilting took on new importance as the U.S. Sanitary Commission provided quilts to ailing Union soldiers in hospitals.
The quilts featured in this exhibit were made in honor of post-9/11 fallen soldiers from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, in the same manner of those Sanitary Commission quilts. But these quilts are not just replicas. They represent the continuum from the Civil War to the greater War on Terror. They represent the thousands of women grieving for, caring for, and loving the thousands of soldiers who have fallen for the sake of our country. The loss is still just as wrenching today as it was then.
The act of quilting as a community for the purpose of public memorial lifts this art beyond the domestic. The artistry, the manual labor, the laughter, the heartache, the true humanness of each scrap of fabric: that’s what makes these quilts so compelling. From conception to artist’s vision, these quilts take private lives into the public sphere, piecing together – with each block – personal thoughts, beliefs, and memories via a platform that amplifies their voices in a symbolic way. We honor the fallen soldiers, yes; but we must also honor the artists whose voices and gratitude speak for us all.
In the gallery, browse through the Quilter’s Toolbox to get a sense of what items are necessary to make a quilt, and then make your own quilt block with origami paper and contribute to our community quilt!
We are currently seeking submissions of photographic and photo-based works that meet the themes of the exhibition. Please see details here!
May – December 2018: Dear Professor Longfellow
- Craft a simple poem using magnetic poetry
- Test your penmanship with our cursive primer
- Contribute a line to a growing collaborative group poem
- Decorate and write a postcard about something you want to change in your community
- Mail a fan letter to the Professor himself