“You can’t always change things. Sometimes you don’t have no control over the way things go. Hail ruins the crops or fire burns you out. And then you’re just given so much to work with in a life and you have to do the best you can with what you got. That’s what piecing is. The materials is passed on to you or is all you can afford to buy. . . that’s just what’s give to you. Your fate. But the way you put them together is your business.
In all the cultures that we are studying as part of this curriculum unit, both men and women took part in the piecing and the quilting. Quilts were very much a part of the life and culture of the community, and gave to the individuals involved in making them the opportunity to create something of beauty, worth and warmth for their every day life.
In this culminating section of the unit, I hope that students can draw upon their understanding of the history of quilting, the techniques they have learned and the inspiration taken from artists they have met to create a story quilt of their own. Each of them will create an individual story. These stories will be built into the larger class story, and the culminating event will be a quilting bee to sew it all together.
Section V—Art Activity
1. Students will create a story quilt block
sawhorses and boards (to make frames for quilting bee)
Students will review the story quilts of Harriet Powers and look at contemporary story quilts, reading the stories they tell. We will brainstorm topics which could be used in our story. Then we will identify the visual images that could be used to tell those stories.
Students will collect cloth from which to design their story block. A homework assignment will be to find at least one piece of cloth from outside the classroom, from an old worn garment which has meaning to the child or her/his family, or cloth found.
Students will use a variety of different quilt/fabric design techniques to tell their story on their block of cloth.
Students will sew or appliqué, finishing their story quilt square.
When all the squares are complete, the arrangement must be determined by the whole class. The stories will be read and told by individual students and collectively we will decide how they fit together.
Culminating Event—The Quilting Bee
Students will be responsible for inviting family or community members in for an evening in which the blocks sewn together and backed will be quilted.