Mapping the past with the artists of the future.

nocca-logoOn Friday February 3rd I had the pleasure of visiting the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts, an arts conservatory high school. I was there to speak to a group of juniors about the Unraveling Empire project, and the visit was a learning experience for me as much as them! I started out with an artist talk to a group of fifty students, which soon became a conversation about what they had learned the previous semester about 17th – 19th century global commodities trade, and how the research they had undertaken about cotton, silk, henna, indigo, and hemp played into the themes of the project. The conversation then shifted to the history of activist quilts, the feminist art movement, the difficult of representing the history of people who didn’t have access to books or documentation, and even tips and tricks for doing textile art on the cheap. Continue reading “Mapping the past with the artists of the future.”

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Upcoming Quilting Circles

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February 11, 2017 1:00pm to 3:00pm
Featured Speaker: Cecilia Pedescleaux
Beecher Memorial UCC
1914 North Miro, New Orleans, LA 70119

February 16, 2017 6:30pm to 8:30pm
Featured Speaker: Stephanie Hepburn

Pelican Bomb Gallery X
1612 Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard

Drop in Unraveling Empire Sewing at Catapult!
Join Unraveling Empire artist Rachel Wallis for some unstructured sewing time on the Unraveling Empire quilt. No sewing experience necessary -Stop by, say hi, and sew a little!
Tuesday February 14 – 11am – 1pm
Catapult
609 Saint Ferdinand St
New Orleans, Louisiana

All quilting circles are free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served. No sewing experience required. For questions or accessibility needs contact info@astudiointhewoods.org Please RSVP to info@astudiointhewoods.org

Quilter Rachel Wallis, a Studio in the Woods resident artist, is organizing series of community quilting circles/discussions in New Orleans, February 6 – 20, 2017. Each of these quilting circles will explore the way in which textiles and the textile trade played a crucial role in the economic system of slavery, and ultimately the foundation of much of our contemporary economic and political system. At each quilting circle, we will hear from a guest speaker about one aspect of the history of textiles and issues of racial and economic justice. As we learn about and discuss these topics, we will embroider in the outlines of the textile economy in the 17th-19th century onto a quilt pieced from chambray work shirts. We will trace the trade of Indian cotton and silk for West African bodies; the role of enslaved people in introducing indigo to the colonies; the cotton boom that drove the domestic slave trade and the forced migration of hundreds of thousands of enslaved people; and the cotton mills, fed by Southern cotton, that built the economy of the industrialized north. Continue reading “Upcoming Quilting Circles”

Quilting the connections between textiles and the global slave economy

Unraveling Empire is a community quilting project exploring the links between textiles and the global slave economy.

Quilter Rachel Wallis, a Studio in the Woods resident artist, is organizing series of community quilting circles/discussions in New Orleans, February 1 – 20, 2017. Each of the three quilting circles will explore the way in which textiles and the textile trade played a crucial role in the economic system of slavery, and ultimately the foundation of much of our contemporary economic and political system. At each quilting circle, we will hear from a guest speaker about one aspect of the history of textiles and issues of racial and economic justice. This will include the role of Louisiana, New Orleans, and the cotton trade as the economic engine of the slave economy in the US; the ways that African Americans have built a culture of textiles and quilting as a form of resistance and community memory; and how the 20th and 21st century textile economy echoes the trends of labor exploitation that has been made invisible to the average American. Continue reading “Quilting the connections between textiles and the global slave economy”