Academic and Library Reviews

Library Journal Reviews “Why Quilts Matter: History, Art & Politics”

Why Quilts Matter : February 9, 2012 2:05 PM : Academic Reviews, News, Press, Reviews

Another positive review has rolled in, this time from Library Journal which has the highest circulation of any journal for librarians. Library Journal reviews are written by librarians for librarians and feature the latest reviews and collection development resources. Check out their final verdict:

“Zegart reveals through photographs and interviews just how essential quilts are in studying American culture… Currently, there are millions of quilters supporting a hugely profitable business worldwide, with quilts hanging in art museums and commanding premium prices among collectors. This compelling and visually rich series convinces us that quilts do matter. VERDICT This wonderful series would be an important addition for all museums, libraries, and quilt guilds.”

With all of these positive reviews in hand we are working even harder to make Why Quilts Matter: History, Art & Politics widely available to all whether that be in a museum shop, your local library or your next quilt guild gathering.

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“Why Quilts Matter” Reviewed by Educational Media Reviews Online (EMRO)

Why Quilts Matter : January 27, 2012 4:58 PM : Academic Reviews, Opinions, Press, Reviews

Published on Education Media Reviews Online (EMRO), Jan 10, 2012

Reviewed by Winifred Fordham Metz, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Lori Widzinski, University Libraries, University at Buffalo, State University of New York

Shelly Zegart, a known expert on antique and contemporary quilts, has collected, curated, lectured and written about quilts for over four decades. This deep and abiding passion for quilts is exemplified to valuable effect in Zegart’s series Why Quilts Matter. Originally produced for television, this robust series is a thoughtfully crafted and insightful examination of the American quilt. Covering the history, community and scholarship of the American quilt from early times through its current placement in the art world, Zegart seemingly covers every angle of American quilts and quilting over the course of this lengthy nine-part series.

Why Quilts Matter is broken out into 9 episodes: Antique and Contemporary Quilts, Quilts Bring History Alive, The Quilt Marketplace, What is Art, Gee’s Bend, How Quilts have been Viewed and Collected, Empowering Women One Quilt at a Time, Quilt Nation: 20,000,000 and Counting, Quilt Scholarship: Romance and Reality. In each episode, Zegart engages in an insightful conversation with an array of articulate artists, curators, collectors, dealers, critics and teaching faculty. Very rich in narrative, the series offers a good balance of this expert commentary with visuals of the quilts themselves. Zegart offers a complete image resource guide to all of the images, quilts and people in the episodes at the series’ website.

This series could just as easily serve as a primer on the subject as it could springboard detailed and layered discussions deconstructing and analyzing the aesthetics and politics of the American quilt. It certainly promotes quilt scholarship and underscores Zegart’s desire to “…engage a new audience in the centrality of the quilt to American culture.”

Shelly Zegart, the executive producer and host brings a thorough introduction of the rich world of quilting to the forefront, and her infectious enthusiasm encourages further exploration and research. This fine series has aired on selected PBS stations and is recommended for academic and public library collections. Each episode is further divided into sections, making it optimal for classroom selection and viewing. The Special Features section of the DVD includes some interesting stories from the producers and other quilters including how and why the films were made as well as Bonus Clips.

Why Quilts Matter Reviewed by Educational Media Reviews Online

Read full review on Educational Media Reviews Online.

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Why Quilts Matter: History, Art & Politics is Reviewed by Video Librarian: The Video Review Magazine for Libraries

Why Quilts Matter : January 9, 2012 9:20 PM : Academic Reviews, News, Press

Video Librarian Online Magazine CoverWe’re thrilled to be featured in the recent issue of Video Librarian: The Video Review Magazine for Libraries, where the series received “3 out of 4 stars” and a “Recommended” rating.  We’ve already received requests to carry the DVD from libraries, and along with this review and the recent review in Booklist, we hope to reach even more. Our goal is to continue to spread the conversation about the importance of quilts and to make the series accessible to everyone.  You can help us along by placing a request at your local library for the series!

– Shelly Zegart

Author and lecturer Shelly Zegart hosts this illuminating nine-part TV series about the history of quilting, which she launches by explaining the difference between antique and contemporary quilts (the former pre-date the 1960s; the latter came afterwards).  Zegart also distinguishes art or studio pieces, which exist primarily for display.  Vintage and contemporary footage and photographs are interwoven throughout the running commentary offered by Zegart and others, including quilt makers, antique dealers, textile curators, gallery owners, and history professors, such as William Ferris, who describes quilts as “recycled works of art.”  To many owners and collectors, each completed piece tells a story about its creator, whether an individual or a group (and also through the choice of fabrics and messages stitched into them).  Aside from their practical and aesthetic value, quilts have served as moneymakers for contest participants and fundraisers for various causes.  According to Zegart, prices took off after 1971 exhibit at the Whitney Museum but started to decline after the remarkable Reconciliation Quilt sold for $264,000 at Sotheby’s in 1991.  The most interesting episode looks exclusively at the striking work of the quilters of Gee’s Bend, AL, who’ve achieved international acclaim.  DVD extras include bonus clips and an interview.  Recommended.  Aud: C, P. (K. Fennessy)




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“Why Quilts Matter: History, Art & Politics” Reviewed by

Why Quilts Matter : November 30, 2011 9:32 PM : Academic Reviews, Opinions, Press, Reviews

If you own a handmade quilt, you may think you know why quilts matter. But it’s a guarantee that you don’t know everything about the history and culture of quilts, as revealed in this passionate nine-part documentary.  In the sampled Empowering Women One Quilt at a Time, host Shelly Zegart—author of American Quilt Collections (1998)—introduces five segments, concluding with “Taking On an Icon: One Quilt’s Journey.”  Each segment, backed by guitar and classical music, includes vintage and contemporary film clips and photographs as well as interviews with quilt makers, fabric artists, museum curators, scholars, and more.  The experts detail how quilts became powerful vehicles of expression—a “soft medium to deliver a hard message”—empowering women to move from homemakers to expressive entrepreneurs.  Other episodes include Quilts Bring History Alive, The Quilt Marketplace, and Quilt Scholarship: Romance and Reality. This colorful, well-produced, and fascinating production sees quilts “through the lenses of history, art, and politics.”  Downloadable resource guides with thumbnail photos accompany the series.
— Eloise Kinney

Originally published on


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