DECORATIVE ARTS, JEWELRY, CERAMICS, GLASS, TEXTILES

PUBLISHER
MFA Publications, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

BOOK FORMAT
Hardcover, 9.75 x 10.5 in. / 240 pgs / 120 color.

PUBLISHING STATUS
Pub Date
Active

DISTRIBUTION
D.A.P. Exclusive
Catalog: SPRING 2021 p. 3   

PRODUCT DETAILS
ISBN 9780878468768 TRADE
List Price: $45.00 CDN $63.00 GBP £35.00

AVAILABILITY
In stock

EXHIBITION SCHEDULE

Boston, MA
Museum of Fine Arts, 10/10/21–01/17/22

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MFA PUBLICATIONS, MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS, BOSTON

Fabric of a Nation

American Quilt Stories

Edited with text by Pamela A. Parmal, Jennifer M. Swope, Lauren D. Whitley. Preface by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich.

Featured image is "Double Wedding Ring Quilt," Unknown African‑American, Missouri, about 1940. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Gift of the Pilgrim / Roy Collection, 2014.1945. Photograph © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Made by Americans of European, African, Native and Hispanic heritage, these quilts and bedcovers range from family heirlooms to acts of political protest, each with its own story to tell

A mother stitches a few lines of prayer into a bedcover for her son serving in the Union army during the Civil War. A formerly enslaved African American woman creates a quilt populated by Biblical figures alongside celestial events. A quilted Lady Liberty, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln mark the resignation of Richard Nixon. These are just a few of the diverse and sometimes hidden stories of the American experience told by quilts and bedcovers from the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Spanning more than 400 years, the 58 works of textile art in this book express the personal narratives of their makers and owners and connect to broader stories of global trade, immigration, industry, marginalization, and territorial and cultural expansion.

Artists include: Faith Ringgold, Sanford Biggers, Irene Williams, Bisa Butler, Harry Tyler, Harriet Powers, Marie D. Webster, Marguerite Zorach, Dorothy Phillips Haagensen, Rachel Cary George, Florence Peto, Creola Pettway, Susan Hoffman, Molly Upton, Nancy Crasco, Agusta Agustsson, Edward Larson, Michael James, Virginia Jacobs and Carla Hemlock.


Featured image is "Double Wedding Ring Quilt," Unknown African‑American, Missouri, about 1940. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Gift of the Pilgrim / Roy Collection, 2014.1945. Photograph © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

PRAISE AND REVIEWS

Wall Street Journal

Rebecca Malinsky

Filled with photos of vibrant, historical and modern hand-stitched textile art.

Guardian

Kathryn Bromwich

Once a luxury item, since the 17th century quilts have evolved into a democratic art form that celebrates collaboration. Fabric of a Nation, a new book, brings together quilts spanning more than 300 years from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. It’s a snapshot of America – Native American history, women’s suffrage, the construction of the railway, the civil rights movement. “Quilts are incredibly accessible objects,” says Jennifer M Swope, who curated the book and exhibition running in Boston. “They have been made and treasured by so many – rich and poor; women and men; urban and rural; white makers and artists of colour. In this way, quilts speak to many threads of the story of America.”

Fabric of a Nation

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FROM THE ARTBOOK BLOG

CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 10/6/2021

Quilt lovers, rejoice — 'Fabric of a Nation' opens Sunday at MFA Boston!

Quilt lovers, rejoice — 'Fabric of a Nation' opens Sunday at MFA Boston!

Made around 1955, this Bricklayer or Courthouse Steps quilt from Gee’s Bend, Alabama, is reproduced from Fabric of a Nation: American Quilt Stories, published to accompany the highly anticipated exhibition opening Sunday, October 10, at MFA Boston. Spanning 400 years of quilt-making by Americans of European, African, Native and Hispanic heritage, this enlightening volume focuses on 58 quilts “unlike any other in the world,” to quote novelist Alice Walker. This particular quilt was probably made by Creola Bennett Pettway in the mid-1950s. “A sophisticated arrangement of red and white cotton strips, its color blocks form a dynamic hourglass shape in a minimalist composition that would rival any abstract painting. Typical of Gee’s Bend, Creola Pettway came from a long line of prolific quilt makers including her mother, Delia Bennett. Steeped in quilt making from an early age, Creola remembered her mother had four quilt frames and encouraged her daughters to help with quilting the corners. Later, as a master quilter herself, Creola took pride in the free-form creativity required to compose her works, recalling that she would ‘decide in my mind the way I want that quilt. When I decide the way I want it, I can make it. You can do things out of your head.’”

Court House Steps quilt. Probably by Creola Bennett Pettway (American, 1927–2015) or possibly by Georgianna Bennett Pettway (American, died in 2012). Alabama, 1950s. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. The Heritage Fund for a Diverse Collection, 2014.2049. Photograph © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

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