By: Sandra K. German
Quiltmaking in America has a rich and diverse history. In the 1990s, quiltmakers enjoy many outlets for their interests in the way of social and professional support groups, and have a wide variety of resources at their disposal. The popular appeal of quilts has created economic opportunities on many levels and has generated increasing demand for quilt-related goods and services. Overall, the picture seems to be one of a thriving, diversified, growing industry with opportunities for all. Upon closer inspection, however, there are signs that this is not true for everyone in America.
This paper identifies the attitudes and perceptions of some American quiltmakers who feel that barriers exist between themselves and the mainstream. It examines the facets and the fissures of this social phenomena. It invites American quiltmaking to investigate the circumstances which continue to create and/or reinforce these perceptions, but acknowledges that change will come about slowly.
In the meantime, however, an organization has evolved to help meet the needs of disenfranchised quilters. This paper offers a view of the Women of Color Quilters’ Network from its inception to its present. It provides an insight into how knowledge about this group can serve to enlighten and enrich everyone who loves or cares about quilts. Written by an African American quiltmaker and educator, this paper gives its readers a rare, candid, and unique view of American quiltmaking from an alternative perspective.