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Joyful Improvisations:
The Quilts of Anna Williams

Exhibit Dates: October 4, 1998 – March 1, 1999


“I always wanted to do something that other people would enjoy”
Anna Williams

Although quilting did not originate in this country, it has developed into a form that is distinctly American. The earliest quilts produced in the colonies were most often whole cloth quilts, usually in solid colors, sometimes with appliqué work. American pieced or patchwork quilt examples date from the late 18th century and employ small geometric pieces of fabric sewn together to form a single large textile for the quilt top. The pieces may be made from purchased fabric or from scraps of leftover cloth, the arrangement of which requires more extensive decision making on the part of the quilter.

By the first decades of the 19th century, block quilting, composed of a series of repeating pieced blocks with the same design, had developed. One of the most well-known block names, "Log Cabin," is made from strips of fabric arranged to form a square enclosure. It is one of the most enduring patterns and lends itself to much variation as well as making possible intense graphic effects. Album quilts, with individual pieced or appliquéd blocks each designed and made by a different quilter, and silk patchwork crazy quilts followed in popularity. During the Great Depression, quilts pieced from pastel cotton solids and prints, in patterns like "Grandmother's Flower Garden," "Double Wedding Ring," and "Sunbonnet Sue," were favored.

American quilts have been described by Robert Shaw, an authority on this country's crafts and folk art, as a democratic art form in that they have been made and used by all, regardless of sex, socioeconomic background, geographic location, religious affiliation, ethnic origin, professional status, or art training. Each quitter brings his or her own personal and community history to the form.

Quilt Combine Two

Anna Williams, CL, "Combine Two," 68.5" X 64.5" , 1998.
Quilted by Mary Walker. Collection of Katherine Watts.
Mark Kleiner, Photographer.

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American Quilting | African-American Quilts | Anna Williams | Photo Album | Credits | Past Exhibitions

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LSU Textile & Costume Museum
140 Human Ecology Building
Department of Textiles, Apparel Design, and Merchandising
College of Agriculture
Louisiana State University
Baton Rouge, LA 70803
Telephone: (225) 578-5992 and 578-2281
Fax (225) 578-2697
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