Donâ€™t underestimate the power of textiles and tradition. Thatâ€™s the take-home message of â€śHome Sewn: Quilts from the Lower Mississippi Valleyâ€ť at the Anacostia Community Museum.
The four so-called â€śfancyâ€ť quilts on view (thatâ€™s a double wedding ring design at left) were made between 1986 and 1990 using techniques passed down through five generations. (â€śFancyâ€ť quilts have intricate patterns and deliberate color choices; simpler â€śplainâ€ť or â€śutilitarianâ€ť 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.