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McKissick Museum exhibit has quilting buffs covered

'Piece by Piece' showcases quilting traditions

[caption id="attachment_41358" align="aligncenter" width="600"]English-style pieced quilt medallion from the 1950s. English-style pieced quilt medallion from the 1950s. Provided by McKissick Museum.[/caption]
The University of South Carolina’s McKissick Museum is proud to present the seventh rendition of its Diverse Voices exhibition series, “Piece by Piece: Quilts from the Permanent Collection.” On display through July 18, 2020 “Piece by Piece” illustrates the evolution of this textile tradition over the past 150 years. From the early use of chintz fabrics to the widespread popularity of solid colors, these quilts reflect traditions with roots in Europe, Africa, and the American South. Visitors will have the opportunity to view 40+ quilts over the course of the show, chosen from McKissick Museum’s extensive quilt collection. Because of the fragile nature of historical textiles, individual quilts will be only be displayed for a limited time, with three rotations occurring throughout the year, according to the museum. Throughout the exhibition, panels explore the lives of these textile artists like quiltmaker Hattie Mitchell Grubbs, who was born in Barnwell and lived to be 97. Saddler Taylor, McKissick’s chief curator of folklife and fieldwork, is excited about the exhibition. “Quilts carry a strong sense of familial intimacy and human connection. It's strangely ironic that we know so little about many of the makers. This exhibition features beautiful examples of Southern quilts; but more importantly, we want to tell the story of some of the makers. Only then can the quilts be fully appreciated," Taylor said.
“Piece by Piece” is accompanied by a robust programming calendar, beginning with an opening reception with light refreshments on Sept. 12, 2019 from 5:30-7 p.m. This free reception will feature a curator-led gallery talk beginning at 6 p.m. FOLKFabulous@theFair Oct. 9-20 2019 This year, our signature folklife festival celebrates South Carolina’s rich textile arts heritage, including Native American, African American, and Mennonite quilting traditions, in conjunction with the McKissick exhibition Piece by Piece: Quilts from the Permanent Collection. You’re invited to participate and engage with artists and cultural traditions that make the Palmetto State home! Come to the Rosewoods Building to enjoy arts displays, demonstrations and hands-on craft activities, concerts and hands-on music workshops. You won’t want to miss the chance to try your hand at making a story quilt block or contribute to our yarn-bombing display. FOLKFabulous 2019 is free with SC State Fair admission.   Lunch & Learn: “Quilts and the Stories of My Life” with Peggie Hartwell Oct. 14, 2019 (12-1 p.m.) Grab your lunch and learn more about the life and work of 2017 Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award Winner Peggie Hartwell. Peggie is a fourth-generation African-American quilter and textile educator who is nationally recognized for her unique storytelling form. Lunch & Learn events are free and open to the public; space is limited.   Lunch & Learn: “Interpreting Civil War Quilts: It Gets Complicated” with Jane Pryzybysz Nov. 13, 2019 (12-1 p.m.) Explore the interpretation of civil war era quilts with McKissick Museum's Executive Director, Dr. Jane Pryzybysz.   An Afternoon with Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi (Fall 2019) Recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellowship and Founder of the Women of Color Quilters Network.   The Quilt History Project – A Look Back (Fall 2019) Laurel Horton, lead scholar on McKissick Museum's Quilt History Project in 1984-1986.   Quilt Documentation Days (Spring 2020) Dr. Jane Przybysz, Executive Director, McKissick Museum.   Quilts and Wellbeing (Spring 2020) Marsha MacDowell, textile scholar and project director of The Quilt Index. Faculty, Michigan State University, Curator of Folk Arts at the Michigan State University Museum.   Lunch & Learn: “The Blythewood Survey Project” (Spring 2020) Kem Smith, project director for the Blythewood Quilt Survey Project.
McKissick’s calendar of events is updated frequently and available online. Events are free and open to the public unless otherwise stated. “Piece by Piece” and associated programming is made possible through support from the South Carolina Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts.  

S.C. Arts Awards: Dorothy Brown Glover

2019 Recipient Feature Series

As the day nears for the 2019 South Carolina Arts Awards, The Hub is taking 15 days to focus on this year's recipients: nine receiving the Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Governor's Awards for the Arts and five receiving the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award, which are managed jointly by the South Carolina Arts Commission and McKissick Museum at UofSC. In between the two groups, we'll run a special feature on S.C. Arts Awards sponsor Colonial Life.

Dorothy Brown Glover

Quilting Dorothy Glover is well-known for her distinctive use of traditional quilt design elements and patterns from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Born in 1925, she was the child of farmers Essie and William Glover creates exquisite quilt tops incorporating improvisational design methods that were popular among quilters whose social and economic status did not allow for the purchase of store-bought fabric for use in quilt making. Like most farm girls of her time, Glover was introduced to quilting by watching her mother make the quilts beneath which she slept as a child. These family treasures were created from strips and blocks of fabric salvaged from various articles of family clothing that were worn out and no longer wearable. The quilt backings were made from feed sacks and other pieces of old cloth from around the household. As a young adult, Glover took up the tradition and in time, through her patient and persistent devotion, she became a master of the art form. After marrying, Glover and her husband, Curtis, made their home in Lincolnville, where they raised their children. Continuing the family tradition, all three children slept each night beneath the quilts made by their talented mother. Lincolnville Town Hall, across the street from Glovers’ home, became an important artistic oasis. It was there that Ms. Glover embraced a community of women who organized an ongoing quilting bee, via which they shared an infinitude of creative ideas and tales of town history. This unique quilting bee, among other significant achievements, pieced together a group quilt to provide an historical timeline of Lincolnville—a place that had been founded by freed African-Americans following the Civil War. The women’s powerful history quilt paid homage to the days of the Reconstruction era, when Lincolnville became a haven to which formerly enslaved families came for a better life and community support. This special bee came, in time, to capture the hearts (and hands!) of many of the women of Lincolnville. For decades, Glover has inspired countless quilters, young and old, to join her in her artistic journey. Glover’s quilt reputation does not stop at Lincolnville. Quilters from throughout the state come to seek out her impressive quilting knowledge. Interested quilters watch her work painstakingly on intricate patterns like the “The Cathedral Window,” a quilt design known for the artist’s use of “invisible hand” applique stitches and precision piecing. Glover gracefully transforms thoughts and visions onto fabric and encourages other quilters, regardless of skill level, to experiment with patterns, colors, and designs. She generously shares her knowledge with all who want to learn and makes herself available to younger artists who seek out her experience and guidance.
South Carolina Arts Awards Day is Wednesday, May 1, 2019. The festivities begin at 10 a.m. with a reception that leads up to the awards ceremony at the UofSC Alumni Center (900 Senate St., Columbia). The event is free and open to the public. Following the ceremony, the South Carolina Arts Foundation honors the recipients and the arts community at the S.C. Arts Awards Luncheon and Art Sale. Tickets are $50. Please go here for more information and reservations.

Meet the Recipients

Use these links to read the long-form bios of the other 2019 South Carolina Arts Awards recipients.

Oconee County quilter brings lifelong lessons to her art

CENTRAL, S.C.— Anna Willis' knuckles are swollen, and her fingers remain curved no matter how much she tries to straighten them. "I have had arthritis a long time," she said. "As long as I can remember."
Yet, she still works with those fingers. The artwork they produce still makes it into galleries and museums. Anna Willis is a quilter, and has been since she was a child. Her mother first taught her to sew when she was 5. Willis was a young lady, in the 1940s, when she completed her first quilt by herself. She still has it, all these years later. "It's a sunshine and shadow pattern," Willis said. "I have never been able to part with it." Two folding tables pushed together dominate her living room in her small brick home in Central. On it is a sewing machine. All around it, and underneath it, are sacks of material. Small drawers hold spools of thread of every color. One couch is stacked with folded quilts. Some of the quilts are large enough to cover a queen-size bed. Others are made for babies or for hanging on the wall. Some are decorated with beadwork and hand-sewn patchwork. All have been made by Willis. Quilting is her art. Her work is on display at The Arts Center of Clemson and is part of the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail, a series of wooden, painted quilt squares that are mounted on public buildings, tourist sites and homes in the Upstate. The squares are a form of public art, meant to generate tourism. "This is what I do now, when I take a notion," Willis said. "As soon as I retired, I went right into quilting. I don't have anybody here. I had to find something to do." She has been a widow since the 1960s. Her only child, an adopted son, died last year. Her quilts keep her busy. She recently worked on a king-size Christmas quilt, one she meant to finish in time for the holidays, but the schedule was delayed when she came down with a cold. Some of her creations will take a couple of months to make. This king-size cover will take three months. She has taught others her art at local elementary schools, community centers and at Tri-County Technical College. Willis was raised in Seneca, near the Oconee County Training School. Then, flour sacks, salt sacks and feed sacks were used to put quilts together. Her mother had a large quilt frame that was held up with ropes at the ceiling. She would lower it in the morning and work on quilts until dinner time, Willis said. "We didn't have much," Willis said. "Mama made quilts, and I had to help her. Mama could make anything she wanted. Everything I knew about sewing, knitting and crocheting, I learned from her." That started a lifetime of working with fabric and sewing for Willis. She worked for 15 years at Gallant Belk on Seneca. But the longest span of her career was spent in a mill, sewing collars on blouses. About 23 years ago, she retired. "The doctor made me stop working because of my heart," she said. Her health is not what it once was. Those fingers will ache sometimes, and her arthritis will keep her awake all evening if her joints become too cold. But many days, Willis is still here, sitting at this table, working on her art.

Entries sought for 7th Annual African American Fiber Art Exhibition

African-American art quilt artists in the United States, Mexico, and Canada, age 18 and up, are invited to participate in an African American Fiber Art Exhibition, Once Upon a Quilt: Welcome to My Quilted Story Book. The seventh annual juried exhibition is presented as a component of the annual North Charleston Arts Festival, to be held May 3-11, 2013. A $25 entry fee allows artists to submit up to two entries; limit four entries per applicant. Applications may be downloaded from the Applications page at NorthCharlestonArtsFest.com. Deadline for submissions is Friday, March 15, 2013. Emerging quilt artists under the age of 18 may submit quilts for Our Next Generation, a parallel exhibition that will be on display at the Unity Church of Charleston. Organized and presented by the City of North Charleston Cultural Arts Department, and curated by award winning and nationally exhibiting textile artist, Torreah “Cookie” Washington, Once Upon a Quilt offers African-American art quilters a showcase to display their original and innovative designs. This year’s show will feature art quilts inspired by beloved stories, whether they begin with, “Once upon a time…,” “In a galaxy far, far away…,” or “In the land that time forgot…” Artists’ muse may be a favorite bedtime story, Aesop’s fable, Gullah ghost story, young adult fiction, or an inspiring biography of an admired s/hero. Artists are asked to reach back onto the storybook shelf of their memory and create an original art quilt that tells a story that has encouraged, inspired, comforted or enchanted. The exhibition will be on display April 30-June 20, 2013, at North Charleston City Hall, with a public reception schedule for Thursday, May 9, 2013, from 6 - 8 p.m. Following the close of the show, up to 30 works will be selected to tour the state through the South Carolina State Museum’s 2013/2014 Traveling Exhibitions Program. Sites across South Carolina may request the exhibit to tour in their facilities, thus providing additional exposure for the selected artists. For more information, contact the North Charleston Cultural Arts Department at (843)740-5854, email culturalarts@northcharleston.org, or visit NorthCharlestonArtsFest.com. Via: North Charleston Arts Festival [caption id="attachment_3792" align="alignleft" width="600"] "Under the Harlem River," fiber art by Kim Hall[/caption]

Milly

Statewide organization on arts and disabilities to create ornaments for National Christmas Tree display

VSA South Carolina and textile artist Arianne King Comer have been chosen to design and create ornaments for South Carolina’s tree for the 2012 National Christmas Tree display in President’s Park in Washington, D.C.  Artists and youth from each U.S. state, territory and the District of Columbia were selected by the National Park Foundation to create 24 ornaments for their trees. “It is an honor to be selected, and we look forward to collaborating with North Charleston students, seniors and veterans -- some with disabilities and some without --  to create these special ornaments,” said Julia Brown, executive director of VSA South Carolina. Comer, a master batik and teaching artist for VSA South Carolina, will lead a workshop to create the ornaments on Friday, Nov. 9, from 9 am to noon at the Felix C. Davis Community Center, located at 4800 Park Circle in North Charleston. Other textile artists assisting with the workshop include Peggie Hartwell, Cookie Washington and North Charleston’s current artist-in-residence, Kristy Bishop. Ornaments will be made using batik, quilting and other textile design processes. The workshop is presented as a component of the City of North Charleston’s Veterans Day celebrations and is open to students from Stall High School and Gregg Mathis Charter School, as well as local seniors and veterans. Those interested in participating should contact Julia Brown at (803) 603-4450 or jbrown@arts.sc.gov before the workshop date, as space is limited. The 90th National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony (date to be announced) is one of America’s oldest holiday traditions. It began on Christmas Eve in 1923, when President Calvin Coolidge lit a Christmas tree in front of 3,000 spectators on the Ellipse in President’s Park. Each succeeding President has carried on the tradition of what has become a month-long event presented by the National Park Foundation (the official charity of America's national parks) and the National Park Service. In addition to the tree display, President’s Park hosts a variety of family-oriented holiday attractions, such as Santa’s Workshop, holiday performances, a Yule log, a nativity scene and model train display. Formerly known as Very Special Arts, VSA South Carolina is a nonprofit organization incorporated in 1986 to provide quality accessible arts experiences throughout S.C. for children, youth and adults with disabilities. Founded in 1974 by Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith, VSA has an international network which includes 37 state affiliates and 51 international affiliates. VSASC is affiliated with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts under the VSA /Arts Accessibility Program. For ticket information, talent announcements and other event details, visit www.thenationaltree.org.