Art comes in different shapes and sizes, but few art forms trigger childhood memories across various cultures. Quilts are given to people as early as their first birthday, providing warmth and comfort. However, there is another side to quilting that can sometimes be overlooked.
The John E. Conner Museum at Texas A&M University–Kingsville highlighted the artistic value of quilts with its 13th annual quilt exhibit. Quilting is an art that dates back centuries. Throughout history, quilts have been used as elaborate room décor and center pieces. Avid quilters use complex embroidery techniques that give each quilt its unique design. Nevertheless, quilts had their beginning as household necessities.
Jonathan Plant, museum director of the Conner Museum states,
“It’s very interesting that in the course of our lifetime, quilting was a thing of practicality. It was really an early from of recycling. If you had fabric and didn’t wear it, or do anything with it, you could always sow it into blankets and quilts.”
This year, the exhibit’s theme was “scrappy quilts”, meaning that quilts were constructed from leftover or unused fabric pieces. All the quilts on exhibit were created by members of the Kingsville Saturday Quilters or their relatives.
Members of the organization state that quilting is a common interest that brings people together. They enjoy the ability of transforming a piece of fabric into a work of art.
Suzan Smith, one of the makers of the quilts on display states,
“The most exciting part about quilting is getting to see the final product. Making them is just a very wonderful experience.”
Another member, Nancy Gilliam said,
“Quilting ties people to the past.”
Students at TAMUK agree that quilting is a valuable art form not lost to time. Megan Eborn, a freshman double majoring in Education and Music Performance enjoys the culture quilts represent. Orlando Cortez, majoring in Agriculture says he connects quilting with his grandmother, who was a quilter throughout her life.
Jessenia Perez, a student majoring in Chemical Engineering comments,
“Quilts describe things that occurred at the time that they were made. I do consider it a living art.”
At first, quilting may seem like a daunting task, such was the case with, Joan Nuesch, a member of the Kingsville Saturday Quilters. She confesses that she would go to the organizations meetings, but wasn’t very interested in taking up quilting lessons.
“When I first heard about the quilting organization, I said I would go, but they would never see me quilt. It wasn’t until I took up actual quilting lessons that I began to have a great interest. Since then, I have made several quilts that I can’t part ways with.”
The Conner Museum will have its quilting exhibit on display from Jan. 18-March 1. Members of the community are welcomed to visit the museum and see the art of quilting firsthand.