Sunday, February 7, 2010

Safe House "Quilt"

Since February is Black History month I thought I'd post this piece I created last year called Safe House. I had heard a story that quilts were hung to direct slaves to freedom and decided to read up on it. I found a book called Hidden in Plain View: A Secret Story of Quilts and the Underground Railroad by J.L. Tobin and R.G. Dobard. I found it fascinating. Among the various stories was one that compelled me to create this work. Apparently traditional "log cabin" designs had interior squares of red to symbolize the hearth fire. The people that were part of the Underground Railroad made log cabin quilts with black centers and hung them over fences and on laundry lines. When slaves (who were escaping) saw this pattern, they knew it was a safe house. Thus, the messages were "hidden in plain view". After reading up on this a bit more, I found out that historians are divided on the veracity of these quilts. It's one of those things that makes a lot of sense to me though and I choose to believe it.
mixed media/collage on canvas

5 comments:

Carol Schiff Studio said...

Gosh, the quilt is beautiful, Kim. I have done a little needlework myself and know how much work is involved. You are obviously multi-talented.

The posts you mentioned, are shown on my dashboard as drafts and were not ready to be published. I don't know why the titles went out to you. Hmmmmm, could it be I don't know what I'm doing as the keyboard? I prefer to believe that blogger screwed up!

Mary Anne Cary said...

Great story and a beautiful quilt. I believe there has to be some truth to it too!

Kim said...

Thanks Mary Anne and Carol! And I should probably clarify that it's a collage on wrapped canvas - not a real quilt. Although I have tried my hand at that kind of thing and loved it. I'll keep those for a future post!

Linda said...

I found this post so interesting. Not only that the book inspired this piece, but that your art has opened the door to these stories for those of us who didn't know about the quilts. Your collage is beautiful in so many ways. Thank you for sharing.

Kim said...

Thank you Linda!