Quilts in pop culture
Have you noticed all the quilts popping up lately? If you’re a total quilt addict like, me, they’re always everywhere, and it’s always exciting to see them in the background of TV or movie scenes. I mean, How to Make an American Quilt has been around forever but recently, I feel like they are all over mainstream media as well! In the few months, I’ve seen a couple of amazing examples of how quilts transcend the traditional to the modern.
Most quilters will have come across the Alias Grace novel in their travels. Written by Margaret Atwood, each chapter begins with a different quilt block, which is woven into this crime thriller set in mid 1800. The title character, Grace, is a serving girl who has a talent for making quilts. As Grace’s story unfolds, the constant thread is making quilts for her employers, and finally herself.
Netflix’s TV series based on the novel continues to make the quilts their own character in the story. And as the quilts come to life through Grace, her final masterpiece bring the three most influential chapters of her life, and the women who changed her together.
Quilting with the Kardashians
Technically Kardashians and Jenners, but you get the drift. The #mycalvins campaign gained much attention in January 2018 as the five sisters laid upon a bed of red and white antique quilts. Its very much an all American image right there! I don’t have much more to say about this, but it turns out that the #mycalvins campaign does include much more than the famous five, with artists like Solange, Paris Jackson and Milly Bobby Brown joining the family and the barn full of quilts.
Emily Bode opened New York Fashion Week with her men’s wear collection that featured an assortment of vintage textiles, like beautifully-patterned quilts and antique table linens. While her clothing doesn’t greatly change shape from season to season, the fabrics used do, as they really are limited due to the materials chosen.
This mending of the past to the future speaks directly to me as a quilt and vintage fabric lover, but also as a way for cutting textile waste.
Framing Michelle Obama
According to Wikipedia, Amy Sherald is an American painter based in Baltimore, Maryland. Her work started out autobiographical in nature, but has taken on a social context ever since she moved to Baltimore. Her portait of Michelle Obama has gained a lot of attention in the media (for many reasons), but us quilters have focused in on that glorious dress.
The MILLY dress design is quite modern and geometric with it’s white space and simple shapes, but definitely reminiscent of a quilt. Many have noted the link between the dress and the quilts from the Gee’s Bend quilters as a hark back to the cotton fields in a small, remote, black community in Alabama. Intentional or not, its clear that three strong Black-American women have come together to make a pretty strong statement.