What can be said about quilting? It is a process I love: the history, the stories, the fabrics, the people. (I even made a documentary film called Stitch about old-time quilting circles.) At Alabama Chanin, we even take vintage quilts, refurbish them and add the oral histories of textile workers, collected from my community.
I am in awe with The International Quilt Study Center, as the pieces there tell a history of women’s work that cannot be seen anywhere else on the planet.
The now-famous Gee’s Bend quilts and their simple magnificence rooted in a complex history have long been an example of beauty sprung from necessity. I cried the first time I viewed the Gee’s Bend exhibition at the Whitney.
It has been said that our collections are based on quilting. This is only partially true. Alabama Chanin garments derive from a basic quilting process of the straight stitch, and we tie layers of fabric together with quilting stitches. But our garments are not quilts.
I have never really been a great fan of contemporary quilting (Although I LOVE it when the subversive finds its way into the contemporary).
That is until I learned about Julie Floersch. Julie’s pieces are stunning, refreshing, contemporary and inspiring. And, friend and colleague, Denyse Schmidt adds such beauty to the realm of contemporary quilting.
Ultimately, the quilting process influenced the foundations of Alabama Chanin and will be with us as we continue to grow.