‘Home Sewn,’ at the Anacostia Community Museum, reveals the power of traditional textiles

December 27, 2013
A double wedding ring quilt. (Susan A Raab/Anacostia Community Museum)
A double wedding ring quilt. (Susan A Raab/Anacostia Community Museum)

Don’t underestimate the power of textiles and tradition. That’s the take-home message of “Home Sewn: Quilts from the Lower Mississippi Valley” at the Anacostia Community Museum.

The four so-called “fancy” quilts on view (that’s a double wedding ring design at left) were made between 1986 and 1990 using techniques passed down through five generations. (“Fancy” quilts have intricate patterns and deliberate color choices; simpler “plain” or “utilitarian” quilts are made to use up scrap material.)

Selling quilts like these made it possible for African-American women to achieve some financial independence in the rural South. Audio interviews with modern-day quilters, part of the exhibit, show that such quilting communities still thrive.

Anacostia Community Museum, 1901 Fort Place SE; through Sept. 21, free; 202-633-4820.

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