Radical Quilt Histories
Play • 39 min

Quilt enthusiasts have been writing about the craft’s history for over 100 years now, first focused on collecting and sharing patterns based on historic quilts, and later collecting and trading published patterns, in essence building an analog database of quilts. These women began to interpret and synthesize quilt history, eventually moving their newspaper clippings and mimeographed copies to digitized forms. Today, quilt history flourishes in thousands of books and articles, online spaces, and exhibit galleries that collectively have expanded our understanding of the history of quilts and quiltmaking. The QSOS oral history collection of the Quilt Alliance has further contributed to that history by recording and preserving interviews with living quiltmakers. And Running Stitch now mines that archive, sharing highlights from the collection of over 1200 interviews with you. Jess Bailey is adding another layer to our understanding of quilt history. A young and relatively new quiltmaker, Jess makes quilts as a one woman studio called Public Library Quilts, a moniker she discusses with host Janneken Smucker in this episode. In addition to making quilts, Jess is an art historian currently living and working in London, where she studies medieval manuscripts. She combined her interest in quilts and historical research in her recently published zine, Many Hands Make a Quilt: Short Histories of Radical Quilting, published by Common Threads Press.

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