The “Art of the Quilt” has been developed in the United States to a very fine level. Patchwork is an art form that is truly American, and symbolizes the virtues of thrift, ingenuity and industry which built this country. African Americans have been very much a part of the development of the art of the quilt in this country. All creators of quilts bring to their art: technical skills in needle craft necessary for putting together visual and textural idea; cultural influences which determine what the subject of their quilt design will be; practical realities for making an object which will keep their bodies warm on cold nights; and the desire to create beauty. The quilt making tradition has long been strong in the African American community.
While there are many directions in which I could take this unit, I have chosen to focus on quilts made by African Americans to inspire my children to discover the power of culture and the joy of creating a work of art which has practical, understandable use.
I believe that all art work is the coming together of imagination, creativity, craftsmanship and understanding of design. I also believe that art can and should be the medium through which children can become motivated to learn what they need to know. By teaching a deep understanding of why quilts were made, for what purpose, who made them, how they made them and what this art form has become, I hope to give to my students an understanding of the elements of art and principles of design which are the basic tools of any art curriculum. These tools are necessary for creating any work of art. In addition to these basic tools, my students will also learn history, geography, some math and the social skills necessary to work cooperatively to complete a major project. I hope to give them the opportunity to create something useful to them at the same time as giving them an understanding of the need for art in their lives.