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Tucked away in the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia, preserved for generations, handmade bed quilts are windows into the past. In 1983, three West Virginia county extension agents discussed the need to locate and document their state's historic quilts. Mary Nell Godbey, Margaret Meador, and Mary Lou Schmidt joined with other concerned women to found the West Virginia Heritage Quilt Search.
The search focused on documenting quilts made in West Virginia before 1940, which marked the end of a fertile period in American quilt history and the beginning of a decline in quiltmaking that would continue until the 1970s. Ultimately, the search registered more than 4,000 quilts.
This effort has culminated in West Virginia Quilts and Quiltmakers: Echoes from the Hills, published by Ohio University Press on November 1, 2000, in association with the West Virginia Heritage Quilt Search, Inc. The book includes 159 color photographs of selected quilts, with maps showing where they were made, a database analysis of the statewide survey, and the oral histories of descendants of quiltmakers.
“Quilts warm the body and the soul,” says Valentine. “A quilt can wrap the psyche in a loving embrace. Family quilts are symbols of bloodlines reaching across decades and generations.”
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Fawn Valentine has written and lectured extensively on quilts and quiltmaking. She lives in rural Monroe County, West Virginia.From Library Journal:
This work is the culmination of a ten-year project undertaken by quilt historian Valentine and the West Virginia Heritage Quilt Search to document quilts made in West Virginia before 1940. Thousands of people brought their family heirloom quilts to regional sites, where the quilts were measured and photographed. Offered here are 159 color photographs of quilts, with small maps showing the county in which they were made. Detailed and thoughtful essays describe the artistic composition and fabric selection of each textile masterpiece. Often a photograph of the quiltmaker is included. Not just a survey, this oral history offers a unique social perspective on domestic life. An analysis of more than 4000 quilts and a verity of appendixes further the academic usefulness of this title. Recommended for both popular and academic quilt collections in all types of libraries. Judith Yankielun Lind, Roseland Free P.L., NJ Crafts By Constance Ashmore Fairchild, formerly with Univ. of Illinois Libs., Urbana
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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