Why Quilts Matter: History, Art & Politics - Episode 1 - Quilts 101

Episode 1: Quilts 101 – Antique and Contemporary Quilts



  • What Is a Quilt?
  • What Makes One Quilt Better than Another?
  • Ways to Develop Your ‘Eye’

What is a quilt? This episode introduces the audience to the brave new world of the American quilt, where that question has many different answers.  If a ‘real’ quilt is a three-layer fabric sandwich sewn together and folded over a bed, how do we define the quilt that is an amalgamation of fabric, photography, print making and other media, and hangs on a gallery wall?  Our experts contribute varying perspectives, setting the stage for the complexity of the series’ larger topic: Why quilts matter and how they relate to history, art and politics.  This episode also takes a look at judgments of quality in the quilt world.  Learn what makes one antique quilt more valuable and important than another, and why contemporary quilts are judged by a very different set of standards. To close the episode, experts provide practical suggestions for quilt fans who want to develop their ‘eye’ for a great quilt.  In short, it’s Quilts 101, and the perfect introduction to a surprisingly complex subject.

Featuring appearances by Shelly Zegart, William Ferris, Karen S. Musgrave, Christa C. Mayer Thurman, Gerald Roy, Tom Pfannerstill, Matt Arnett, Bernie Herman, Clifton Anderson, Niloo Paydar, John M. Walsh III, Susan Parrett, George Allen, Rod Lich and Douglas Dawson.


Episode Resources:

Image Resource Guide | Image Gallery Biographies


Watch Episode Introduction:

In this video: Matt Arnett, Co-Founder Tinwood Media, Co-Organizer Gee’s Bend quilt projects (Atlanta, GA)


Image (page top): Eli Lilly Family Album (1847). Cotton. 104″ x 105″. Gift of Louise Emerson Francke, great-great granddaughter of Eli Lilly. Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, IN.






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