Many of us are inspired by African American quilts.
This quilt, part of Corinne Riley's Bold Expressions collection, was made in Texas in the 1950's. When I saw it recently, it just took my breath away.
So I'm working on making my own version of it.
I can only try to imagine what it was like to be an African American woman in Texas in the 1950's, living with oppression, poverty and long, hard working days.
As I cut, sew, and discover the surprises in this quilt, I feel like I might begin to understand the joy and freedom that quilt making provided for these women.
With limited time and materials, these women found ways to express their individuality, creativity, and humor. It was one small part of their lives they could call their own.
These quilts were essential, made to keep their families warm. Yet the makers found ways to have fun with them. When they were creating quilts, they could do exactly what they wanted to do.
As one quilt maker friend said, "They never heard of the quilt police."
I've made a few other quilts inspired by African American quilts. This one inspired by Anna Williams.
Each one has been so much fun to make.
Having no patterns or templates, they're impossible to replicate.
Sometimes we call them "improvisational," "intuitive," or "wonky."
I'll call them tributes to African American quilt makers.
If you make quilts inspired by African American quilts, I've created a Flickr group where you can post your quilt photos. It'll be ongoing and open to everyone. Just go over there, add your photos, and enjoy the inspiration!
This is inspired by an African American quilt in the book, Bold Improvisation, by Scott Heffley.
Be sure to see Smazoochie's QAL for more great "Streak of Lightning" quilts!