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PIECE OF MY SOUL: Quilts by Black Arkansans

5 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1557286208
ISBN-10: 1557286205
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Benberry clearly articulates the story behind each quilt and quiltmaker . . . in the finest Benberry tradition. We are all invited to see the quilts for the material culture that they are and to be inspired." —Raymond Dobard, author of Hidden in Plain View: The Secret Story of Quilts and the Underground Railroad "Benberry clearly articulates the story behind each quilt and quiltmaker . . . in the finest Benberry tradition. We are all invited to see the quilts for the material culture that they are and to be inspired." —Raymond Dobard, author of Hidden in Plain View: The Secret Story of Quilts and the Underground Railroad "Benberry clearly articulates the story behind each quilt and quiltmaker . . . in the finest Benberry tradition. We are all invited to see the quilts for the material culture that they are and to be inspired." —Raymond Dobard, author of Hidden in Plain View: The Secret Story of Quilts and the Underground Railroad

From the Inside Flap

Arkansas is well known for its rich tradition of upland folk arts. Little, however, has been reported from the lowland areas, particulary on African American contributions to the state's cultural heritage. A Piece of My Soul: Quilts by Black Arkansans seeks to rectify that oversight by drawing attention to the extensive, important collection of African American quilts in the Old State House Museum in Little Rock. Over seventy-five individual pieces of patchwork art are presented in this publication in full-color plates, each with a commentary by the exhibit's guest curator, Cuesta Benberry. The book details the importance of quilting to black Arkansans; the quilts' uses, materials and construction; and what each piece says about the artist and her beliefs. We are granted a glimpse into the living conditions and cultural mores of the quilters' lives. Regionalisms, such as the unusual custom of renaming traditional quilt patterns for things seen in the farmyard, such as Rooster Tail or Chicken Feet, and of piecing patchwork funerary cloths to decorate coffins are discussed. This impressive collection of cultural artifacts is placed in the larger context of the African American experience through an introduction by noted scholar Raymond Dobard (art history, Howard University), co-author, with Jacqueline Tobin, of the highly acclaimed book, Hidden in Plain View: The Secret Story of Quilts and the Underground Railroad (1999, Doubleday). All those interested in American folk art, the quilting craft, and black history will find this beautiful book fascinating and rewarding.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 158 pages
  • Publisher: University of Arkansas Press (July 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1557286205
  • ISBN-13: 978-1557286208
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,002,273 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Carole on December 6, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Cuesta Benberry has been a well-respected and internationally known quilt curator and historian for many years. With this book, she again "raises the bar" for those who research and wish to preserve the history of American quilt making. For many years, the dominant critical voices ignored the full range of quilt making by Black quiltmakers of the past. Ms. Benberry now has written and published a thoroughly documented and exciting work that clearly documents that Black quilters were part of the mainstream--not an exotic offshoot. In fact, one could argue that it is just as likely that some of the traditional patterns might have been invented by Black quilters--as easily as we assume that all the patterns were Euro-American inventions!
The State Museum of Arkansas, whose collection she is documenting, is to be congratulated for their support. Most importantly, her book can be used to challenge other state museums, regional quilt collections and national museums to seriously track, document and collect a full range of all types of quilts by Black quilters from the 19th and early 20th century--before this powerful and important legacy is lost forever. As a contemporary Balck artquilter, I am so grateful to Ms. Benberry for her continuing work! This book belongs on the shelf of anyone interested in the history of American and African American quilt making.
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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on January 23, 2001
Format: Hardcover
A Piece Of My Soul: Quilts By Black Arkansans showcases more than seventy-five individual pieces of patchwork quilt art in full-color photography. Each is accompanied by Cuesta Benberry's informative commentary as she details the importance of quilting to black Arkansas and the extensive holdings of African American quilts in the Old State House Museum in Little Rock, Arkansas. Enthusiastically recommended reading for students of Black History, southern popular culture, and the needlecraft arts, A Piece Of My Soul explains the quilt's uses, materials, and construction, as well as what each piece featured says about the needlecraft artist and her beliefs.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By ana on May 6, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I enjoyed reading the history of quilts and how they were kept and now able to share with the rest of the world.
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By the real skinny on March 27, 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This was a feast for the eyes and was very inspiring! a lot of my quilting books were bought to simply help me center my thoughts to my own design creation, it is a delight to draw on various cultures to do so and I find books like this energizing and very good prompters that spark my own creativity!
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4 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Reecia Thompson Stoglin VINE VOICE on November 8, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am an Arkansans who has recently started quilting and I have learned several of the patterns. I have started my own yo-yo quilt. I love the quilts featured in this book. One of my favorites is plate 13.
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