Department of Theatre, Costume Design
My specific interest is in the quilts: the quilts in the Gee's Bend Exhibit, Black Belt quilts in the Cargo collection and the current trends of quilting in the Black Belt area. I am looking at the artistic expression of the women through the quilts they made for their families and friends, not the quilts that were made for sale. My examination of quilts and techniques of construction is looking at categorizing quilts of the Black Belt area. Life events are reasons for making and giving quilts. Birth quilts, going to college quilts, wedding quilts, burial quilts and story quilts are a few categories I know about; I'm sure there are more.
Secondly, I have been researching the origins of the designs of the quilts asking such questions as:. Are they patterned after African aesthetics learned in Africa and passed from generation to generation? Is this a conscious choice in design passed on as a memory in quilts ? Why do so many of the color choices and patterns represent cultures in West Africa? Thirdly, how has the business of selling the quilts changed the quilts that are made only for pleasure? Most of the quilts in the Gee's Bend exhibit were made before 1980. What kind of quilts are being produced now? How have the quilts of Gee's Bend influenced the quilts of the popular mainstream quilting world?