Art & Education
I think most know February is Black History Month, an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans. It is also a time for recognizing the central role of blacks in U.S. history. I found online this event grew out of “Negro History Week,” the brainchild of noted historian Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African Americans. Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month. Other countries around the world, including Canada and the United Kingdom, also devote a month to celebrating black history.
I’m calling this entry “Art & Education” because The Gentleman Quilter had the most extraordinary history lesson and quilt show in our own space by Dorothy Slaughter. She and her husband, John, were in St Louis visiting friends to celebrate New Year’s Eve. They had two of her stunning quilts with them and taught us so much while they were displayed in our space. A great example of how art can educate and open dialogue.
Sadly my hard drive crashed, but before February ends, I wanted to share photos of her beautiful work and recognize her contribution to starting the dialogue that helps change the future. In hindsight, I wish I had videotaped her sharing her inspiration, her knowledge, her passion. Might I add she’s a relatively new quilter and looking at her work, I would’ve never believed that. Top notch work!
But first, a little about Dorothy, she is a Quilt Historian, Quilt Designer, Quilt Architect, and Quilt Scientist. As she states in her LinkedIn profile, she uses textiles to show provocative ephemera of the ugly parts of American history to push rich academic conversation to process through genetic pain wrought by ancestors to gain psychological freedom. She has spoken and shown her work in small and large shows alike, including the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC. What I loved most is she takes her quilts with her when she travels and enthusiastically shares how she can educate other by using art to interpret negative events of the past to become a positive discussion today.
The second quilt she brought is smaller in size but just as powerful with the topic it addresses - advertisements actually used here in the US. Below you can see photos of both sides of the quilt.
I also think it’s so clever how she makes two tops and sews them into one quilt. Instead of having a solid back to finish the quilt, she uses what is normally a blank canvas and creates more art by having a second interpretation.
Regardless of the size, the message is powerful and the discussion needs to be had, so generations from now will only see commonality when they look at each other. Quilts serve so many purposes, these quilts are educating others through Dorothy's artful work.
It was such a treat having Dorothy and John stop by. Thank you for sharing your quilts with us and allowing me to feature you here!