American Quilt Art


(above: Harriet Powers (1837-1910), Pictorial quilt, 1895-1898, cotton plain weave, pieced, appliqued, embroidered, and quilted, 68.89 x 105 in. Museum of Fine Arts Boston. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)


This section of the Traditional Fine Arts Organization (TFAO) catalogue Topics in American Art is devoted to the topic "American Quilt Art." Articles and essays specific to this topic published in TFAO's Resource Library are listed at the beginning of the section. Clicking on titles takes readers directly to these articles and essays. The date at the end of each title is the Resource Library publication date.

After articles and essays from Resource Library are links to valuable online resources found outside our website. Links may be to museums' articles about exhibits, plus much more topical information based on our online searches. Following online resources may be information about offline resources including museums, DVDs, and paper-printed books, journals and articles.

We recommend that readers search within the TFAO website to find detailed information for any topic. Please see our page How to research topics not listed for more information.


Articles and essays from Resource Library in chronological order:

Chintz Appliqué: From Imitation to Icon (11/10/08)

Who Was Anna Tuels? Quilt Stories, 1750-1900 (10/8/08)

Quilts: Flora Botanica (8/21/08)

African American Quilts of Alabama: Flowers without Roots?; article by Robert Cargo (5/22/07)

African American Quilts from the Robert and Helen Cargo Collection (5/22/07)

American Quilts at the Georgia Museum of Art (6/20/06)

For the Joy of It: Appliquéd Quilts from the Judy Roche Collection (1/27/06)

Tarble Arts Center Quilts Collection (6/13/05)

Amish Quilts: Kaleidoscope of Color -- From the Collection of Faith and Stephen Brown (2/21/05)

Calico & Chintz: Early American Quilts from the Smithsonian American Art Museum (4/7/04)

Expanding Boundaries from the Art Quilt Network (11/24/03)

American Quilt Classics 1800 ­ 1980: The Charles and Fleur Bresler Collection (6/3/03)

Quilts: A Window to the Past (4/22/02)

The Baltimore Album Quilt Tradition (4/15/01)

The Story Quilts of Faith Ringgold (8/29/00)

Amish Quilts 1880 to 1940 from the Collection of Faith and Stephen Brown (7/20/00)

Spirits of the Cloth: Contemporary Quilts by African American Artists (11/25/99)

Crossing Boundaries: Contemporary Art Quilts (11/6/98)


From other websites:

A Century of African-American Quilts is a 2016-18 exhibit at the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum which says: "This exhibit showcases twelve colorful and stunning quilts, half of which have never before been seen by the public, spanning more than a century after 1875.... The bold designs and brilliant colors of the quilts featured in the exhibition speak to a longstanding cultural and artistic tradition within which the women designed and created their quilts. Accessed 11/16 Also see 12/14/15 Artfox article "A Century of African-American Quilts to be Celebrated in a New Exhibition at The Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg in Honor of Black History Month, February 2016 "

"A History of the Art Quilt," excerpt from The Art Quilt, from Hugh Lauter Levin Associates, Accessed August, 2015.

American Elegance: Chintz Appliqué Quilts, 1780-1850, an exhibit held August 27-November 7, 2010 at the Taft Museum of Art. Includes Portico article. Accessed April, 2015.

American Folk Art Museum offers online:

Accessed August, 2015.

American Quilts and Coverlets by Amelia Peck Department of American Decorative Arts, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, from the Timeline of Art History section of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Accessed August, 2015.

American Quilts from the Terasaki Collection, an exhibit held June 26, 2010 - August 1, 2010 at the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art. Includes essay. Accessed January, 2015.

Bold Expressions: African American Quilts from the Collection of Corrine Riley, an exhibit held June 14 - October 7, 2012 at The Bellevue Arts Museum. Accessed August, 2015.

Common Threads: 150 Years of Adirondack Quilts and Comforters is an extensive online exhibit from the Adirondack Museum. It has five sections; Quilting Then and Now; Tools, Techniques, and Materials; Community Ties; What is Adirondack About Adirondack Quilts?; Quilt Fashions. Each section has four to eight pages. Accessed January, 2016

Coulter Fussell: The Raw Materials of Escape is a 2020 exhibit at the Halsey Gallery, College of Charleston which says: "Fussell's work, unlike traditional quilts, does not adhere to a predetermined pattern. Instead, her work retains the wholeness of a quilt while utilizing techniques one would expect to find in painting." Accessed 10/20

Crazy Quilts: Stitching Memories is a 2017 exhibit at the Indianapolis Museum of Art which says: "In the 1880s, quilt makers became intrigued with the possibilities of patchworks that did not follow a specific structure. Random, asymmetrical patterns, contrasting thread colors and a collage of fabrics craps were hallmarks of these works. Creating these so-called "crazy" quilts was an artistic outlet for women -- who were often engaged in domestic arts -- to showcase their fashion sense and needlework skills. These bold and brightly colored quilts were proudly displayed in parlors when families entertained guests."  Also see press release  Accessed 6/17

Depression Era Quilts in Nebraska is an online exhibition of quilts from Nebraska museums, from Nebraska State Historical Society. Accessed August, 2015.

Gloucester: A Community of Neighborhoods was an exhibit held Dec. 15, 2015 - April 14, 2016 at the Cape Ann Museum. CAM says: "On display in this exhibit are thirteen quilts celebrating Gloucester's neighborhoods. Working under the leadership of artist Juni Van Dyke, they were designed and created by participants in the Art Program at Gloucester's Rose Baker Senior Center. Together the quilts present a rich and vibrant portrait of a much loved community. " Accessed August, 2016.

Made by Hand: American Quilts in the Industrial Age, 1760-1870 is a 2018 exhibit at the International Quilt Study Center at the University of Nebraska--Lincoln  which says: "Made by Hand highlights the skillful needlework and dazzling designs of America's material culture. The quilts, made prior to 1870, represent rare and unusual examples, such as the stenciled bedcover, as well as standard star designs and mid-century appliqué." Accessed 2/18

Mary Schafer: Quilter, Quilt Collector, and Quilt Historian, an online exhibit from the Michigan State University Museum. Includes essay by Mary Worrall. Accessed December, 2015.

Nebraska Quilts and Quiltmakers is a 2011 exhibit at the International Quilt Study Center, University of Nebraska--Lincoln which says: "This exhibition of fifteen quilts celebrates the work of the Nebraska Quilt Project team - pioneering individuals who preserved an invaluable record of life in our state, told through the history of cherished quilts." Accessed 12/18

Nebraska Quilts: A Patchwork History is an online exhibition of twelve quilts spanning a century of Nebraska history, dating from the 1840s through the 1940s, from Nebraska State Historical Society. Accessed August, 2015.

Northwest Quilters from Accessed August, 2015.

Online exhibitions from the International Quilt Study Center and Museum at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. Accessed February, 2015.

Patchwork Lives is an online exhibition celebrating the legacy of frontier quiltmakers, from Nebraska State Historical Society. Accessed August, 2015.

Phyllis Stephens: Story Quilts is a 2017 exhibit at the Oglethorpe University Museum which says: "Phyllis Stephens is an award-winning fifth generation quilt maker, considered by critics to be a Master of African-American Story Quilts."   Accessed 8/17

Piece by Piece: Quilts, Collages, and Constructions, an exhibition held 30 March 2012 - 1 July 2012 at Ackland Art Museum, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Accessed August, 2015.

Piece Together: The Quilts of Mary Lee Bendolph is a 2018 exhibit at the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum which says: "The central link in three generations of quiltmakers from Gee's Bend, Alabama, Mary Lee Bendolph (b. 1935) is celebrated for her bold compositions and improvisational quilting style. She participated in the watershed traveling exhibitions The Quilts of Gee's Bend (2002-2006) and The Architecture of the Quilt (2006-2008), and was the subject of the 1999 Pulitzer Prize-winning article Crossing Over."  Also see press release  and 8/22/99 LA TImes article  Accessed 2/18

Quilts A to Z is an online exhibition is of quilts from the collections of the Nebraska State Historical Society and the International Quilt Study Center, from Nebraska State Historical Society. Accessed August, 2015.

The Quilts of Gee's Bend from NPR including a February 4, 2003 15 minute audio recording. Accessed August, 2015.

Quilts of Gee's Bend in Context project at Auburn University. Accessed August, 2015.

Quilts and Quiltmaking in America, 1978-1996 -- American Memory from Library of Congress. Accessed August, 2015.

Revelation! The Quilts of Marie "Big Mama" Roseman, an exhibit held May 5 - September 2, 2006 at Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art. Includes exhibit brochure. Accessed February, 2015

Revisiting the Art Quilt is a 2010 exhibit at the International Quilt Study Center, University of Nebraska--Lincoln which says: "Revisiting 'The Art Quilt' returns to a 1986 exhibition titled 'The Art Quilt,' curated by Penny McMorris and Michael Kile. Twenty-five years later the quilts are the same, but viewers' impressions are influenced by artists' ongoing exploration of the creative potentials of quilts, the increasingly technologically driven developments in traditional quiltmaking, as well as a quarter century of social change." Accessed 12/18

Rocky Mountain Quilt Accessed August, 2015.

Singular Fascination is a 2018 exhibit at the International Quilt Study Center at the University of Nebraska--Lincoln.   Jennifer Keltner, Guest Curator, says: "The quilts of Singular Fascination are reflections of their makers' habits: their perseverance, artistry, vision, and dedication." Accessed 6/18

Stitching California: Fiber Artists Interpret the State's People, Life, and Land  is a 2019 exhibit at the Grace Hudson Museum which says: "Organized through a partnership of Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA), the Grace Hudson Museum, and Exhibit Envoy, this juried exhibition features 42 works of finely crafted and innovative quilt art (in two dimensions and three dimensions) by 42 different artists, some of whom live and work in Mendocino County. The pieces were selected based on artistry and technique, and how well submitting artists addressed the exhibition's goals of exploring the diversity, illusions, realities, and hopes that define the richness and complexities of the Golden State."  Accessed 3/20

Through the Needle's Eye: American Quilts from the Permanent Collection of the Dallas Museum of Art, an exhibit held 1/15/06 - 4/9/06 at Dallas Museum of Art. Includes gallery photos. Accessed August, 2015.

Visions Art Museum website. Accessed August, 2015.

Winterthur Portfolio: The Quilts of Gee's Bend at the Whitney Museum of Art: An Exhibition Review by Michael J. Prokopow from University of Chicago Press Journals Division. Accessed August, 2015.


Online videos:

PBS maintains an online archive of individual segments from NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. Several segments covering the visual arts are available by video search in the Arts & Entertainment category by keyword "Jeffrey Brown". Arts correspondent Jeffrey Brown reports July 1, 2003 on the quilts of Gee's Bend Alabama [Link found to be expired as of 2015 audit. TFAO is saving the citation for use by researchers.]
The Quilts of Gee's Bend [27:30] from Souls Grown Deep Foundation. Accessed August, 2015.


DVD/VHS videos:

America Quilts is a one hour video by PBS Home Video released in 2000.







Art of Quilting. This 60 minute 2007 DVD from PBS Home Video is described by PBS as follows "Explore the diverse techniques and artistry reflected in contemporary American art quilts. Discover how the boundaries of traditional American quilt making have expanded to an art form that now adorns the walls of exhibit halls and art galleries worldwide. The Art of Quilting honors the artistry America's contemporary art quilters by visiting art quilt exhibitions across the country and through personal interviews with noted fabric artists."





Century of Quilts, A: America in Cloth This 2002 documentary written by Laurie A. Gorman and produced by Wisconsin Public Television for PBS Home Video celebrates the art of quilting by featuring selections from the best 100 American quilts of the 20th century, the stories behind their creation and the quilters as they work. The program travels across America to capture the artists at work in their studios and homes and tells the stories behind the creation of these treasures. Selections from these impressive works were sewn and shown together at the 1999 International Quilt Festival in Houston.




Faith Ringgold: The Last Story Quilt. From the day she learned to draw, Faith Ringgold has worked steadily to master her craft and communicate her vision: to present a realistic view of the black female in society. This 28 minute L&S video is an insider's look at how one woman has fumlled her dream of becoming an artist. Cine Gold Eagle Award. "Interviews American painter, sculptor, and quiltmaker Faith Ringgold (b.1934) about her career as an African-American woman artist. She acknowledges the strong influence of her mother, a fashion designer and dressmaker, and describes her breakthrough technique of painting on cloth, which allowed her work to be rolled up and shipped inexpensively. Looks at the combined influence on her work of European painters and African traditions, particularly the patterns and repetition of African design." ISBN 1-882660-00-5 [1] Faith Ringgold: The Last Story Quilt is a video available through the Sullivan Video Library at The Speed Art Museum which holds a sizable collection of art-related videos available to educators at no charge.





Quilt on the Wall: A Portrait of Jan Myers. Since colonial times, the most spectacular of all blankets has been the handmade quilt. Contemporary textile artist Jan Myers weds this utilitarian respect for quiltmaking, in this 28 minute video from The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, with her own desire for self-expression. Antique quilts and historical photographs provide the backdrop as we watch Myers make a patchwork quilt: from planning it, dyeing and cutting the fabric to sewing and quilting the geometric squares of her modern design.

Quiltmakers of Gee's Bend, The is a 60 minute DVD from Alabama Public Television, available through the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco Store. For more than 150 years, the women of Gee's Bend have made quilts reflecting their history and daily lives. Over generations they worked in isolation, continuing to inhabit the remote plantation land their parents once slaved. Today, art critics worldwide compare them to the great creative enclaves of the Italian Renaissance.




Quilts of Gee's Bend, The is a 28 minute DVD from Tinwood Media, available through the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco Store. Set in the quiltmakers' homes and yards, and told through the women's voices, this music-filled documentary takes viewers inside the art and fascinating living history of a uniquely American community art form.




To locate videos by artist name, please click here. Educators can locate videos by theme by browsing through TFAO's Topics in American Representational Art. Please click here for information on how to borrow or purchase copies of VHS videos and DVDs listed in this catalogue. TFAO does not maintain a lending library of videos or sell videos.

Please send suggestions for additional content by sending an email to

Return to Topics in American Representational Art


TFAO catalogues:

*Tag for expired US copyright of object image:

Links to sources of information outside of our web site are provided only as referrals for your further consideration. Please use due diligence in judging the quality of information contained in these and all other web sites. Information from linked sources may be inaccurate or out of date. TFAO neither recommends or endorses these referenced organizations. Although TFAO includes links to other web sites, it takes no responsibility for the content or information contained on those other sites, nor exerts any editorial or other control over them. For more information on evaluating web pages see TFAO's General Resources section in Online Resources for Collectors and Students of Art History.


Search Resource Library

Copyright 2022 Traditional Fine Arts Organization, Inc., an Arizona nonprofit corporation. All rights reserved.