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Kansas Quilts & Quilters Paperback – September 1, 1993
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- Paperback : 216 pages
- Item Weight : 1.95 pounds
- ISBN-10 : 0700605851
- ISBN-13 : 978-0700605859
- Dimensions : 8.75 x 0.75 x 11.25 inches
- Publisher : Univ Pr of Kansas; First Edition (September 1, 1993)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #2,783,448 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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In its formative years, Kansas was a microcosm of America in the tense years leading up to the American Civil War. Congress had declared its voters would have the right to determine whether the state would come into the union as a slave state or a free state. And so partisans of both sides rushed into Kansas not merely to lay claim to part of its rich soil but also to determine its future and, most believed, the future of the United States. The bloody years of John Brown's massacres were but preludes to the bloodier war that would soon consume the nation.
KANSAS QUILTS is rooted in a deep understanding of this past and of the complex state that grew out of the it. Its writers discover no single unifying principle in the quilts produced by the Kansas Quilt Search. And to their credit, they refuse to invent one.
Looked at from outside, however, one is tempted to observe at work in this fine book certain principles that seem to characterize the quiltmakers whose lives and work are its subject. Neither history nor geography favored the survival of the weak in Kansas. It was not a place where one could easily turn her back to the physical realities of life or get lost in theory. Survival depended on keeping one's eyes open and on learning to make sense of what the eyes revealed, on being able to live in bleakness so profound it sometimes led to suicide, on being able to find redeeming comfort in the ordinary. The writers of KANSAS QUILTS have these gifts. They themselves are pioneers--tough-minded, imaginative scholars who favor fact over myth and who treat with seriousness a subject too often treated with condescension, even by scholars who declare themselves students of "women's history."
It is not surprising, therefore, that the book begins not with an overview, but with the papers of a Kansas woman who estimated that she had made over 300 quilts by her 93rd birthday. In her recording of daily life, a world opens. It is a world where women wash and iron, sew, think, go to church and community meetings, bear and bury children, do business, make homes for families, and exercise their creativity through home arts like quilting.
Aided by an astonishing variety of photographs and lively prose, we who read the book are privileged to enter and understand this complex world.
The photography and selection of quilts is superb. The scholarship is sound, imaginative, and ground-breaking. And who failed to tell the world Kansans could write so interestingly?
Americans are not noted for writing interesting history, but the authors of KANSAS QUILTS AND QUILTMAKERS write interesting history.
I am not a Midwesterner, but if I had to name only 2 quilt books that changed the course of my own study of quilts and quiltmakers--perhaps even my study of women's history, both would be by Kansans--"The Romance of the Patchwork Quilt" by Rose Kretsinger and Carrie Hall and "Kansas Quilts & Quiltmakers" by Barbara Brackman, Jennie Chinn, Gayle Davis, Terry Thompson, Sara Farley, and Nancy Hornback.
Different times, different books. But both knowing what they were talking about and concerned to get it right.
Don't miss this book. It's beautiful and it's true.