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Monday, November 14, 2005


The Great American Quilt Revival

Georgia Bonesteel and her son, Paul, have made the documentary that captures the American (and world) quilting revival that we have lived through during the last half of the 20th century. "The Great American Quilt Revival," originally made for PBS, has now been issued as a DVD, along with extra bonus footage, and it was the hit of last month's Houston Quilt Market. As it explores the factors that fueled this amazing cultural and artistic revolution, the video features such contemporary quilting luminaries as Jean Ray Laury, Yvonne Porcella, Barbara Brackman, Jinny Beyer, and Karey Bresenhan, musing on the ways a traditional and practical craft became tranformed into high art -- and big business.

There are lots of retro photos coupled with touching discussions of how the quilting experience was an essential part of people's lives. The watershed Whitney exhibit, the Gee's Bend Quilts, the impact of the Paducah and Houston shows are all part of the included footage, which concludes by featuring the Quilting Hall of Fame, its contemporary inductees, and the dedication of its new headquarters in Marion, Indiana. All of this has been artfully blended into a riveting narrative that chronicles the journey not only of American pioneers but of the women who led the way for those who followed to become artists and businesspeople, and to give "permission" for women to find their own creative space and expression. It is, in its way, the ultimate "chick flick," and makes for a very pleasant evening immersed in the recent history of quilting.

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