African American improvisational quilts: an introduction – 3/15

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Quilt collector Heather Korostoff Murray introduces us to African-American improvisational quilts: the unique qualities of these extraordinary textiles, their possible African connections, and the stories behind their creators. The exhibit will feature twenty-five quilts from her collection, illustrating the key characteristics of the genre. Her slides come from quilt scholar and curator Eli Leon’s extensive collection. Leon has generously provided the slides to edify Murray’s audience about this special province of African-American quilt making. Murray’s talk will focus on the lives and work of eight significant African-American improvisational quilt makers, including striking examples from Leon’s collection.

Murray’s interests include the quilt makers themselves – their stories, inspirations and astonishing talents. Her talk incorporates the technical side of the quilts, as well as anecdotes of their inspiration.

Heather Korostoff Murray, Bio
Heather Korostoff Murray, a native Philadelphian and long-time admirer of traditional Bucks County quilts, stumbled upon her first African-American improvisational quilt while exploring online. This experience launched a passion for the genre that has quickly led to a considerable collection, and a desire to learn more about these spectacular textiles and their makers. She finds these distinctive quilts to have an almost palpable depth and melodic eloquence.

Sponsored by the MIT Program in Writing and Humanistic Studies, MIT Humanities Library and the Program in Women’s and Gender Studies