The Quilt Journal: Mission Statement


From The Quilt Journal - An International Review, Vol. 1, No. 1.


By: Holstein, Jonathan; Bingham, Eleanor Miller; Zegart, Shelly

Editor Notes: The Kentucky Quilt Project, Inc., was founded in 1981 by Shelly Zegart,Eleanor Bingham Miller and Eunice Ray to survey the state's quilts. Anexhibition "Kentucky Quilts: 1800-1900," which traveled widely in theUnited States and abroad with the Smithsonian Institution TravelingExhibition Service, and a catalogue of the same title followed the completionof the survey. The Kentucky project was the first such state-wide quilt surveyand has served as a modelfor many others in the United States and elsewherein the world. Others of its projects include securing for Kentucky a quiltby the American 19th century master quiltmaker Virginia Ivey, assemblingan exhibition of Kentucky quilts for Australia, and giving financialassistance to other quilt groups for special projects. In 1991-1992 itsponsored "Louisville Celebrates the American Quilt," planned to illustrate and further the worldwide growth of interest in quilts and quilting which has developed over the past several decades and provide a wider forum foremerging quilt scholarship. Included were six exhibitions: a re-creation ofthe 1971 Whitney Museum of American Art exhibition, 'Abstract Designin American Quilts;" 'A Plain Aesthetic: Lancaster Amish Quilts;" "Always There: The African-American Presence in American Quilts;" "Quilts Now; ""Narrations: The Quilts of Yvonne Wells and Carolyn Mazloomi;" "Quilt Conceptions: Quilt Designs in Other Media;" and four conferences: "The African-American and the American Quilt; " "Directions in Quilt Scholarship;""Quilts and Collections: Public, Private and Corporate; " 'Toward an International Quilt Bibliography." Two books were published in conjunction with the Celebration: Abstract Design in American Quilts: A Biography of an Exhibition, written by Jonathan Holstein, foreword by Shelly Zegart;and Always There: The African-American Presence in American Quilts, authored by Cuesta Benberry, forewords by Jonathan Holstein and Shelly Zegart. The Quilt Project, an offshoot of The Kentucky Quilt Project, Inc., is a new parent organization for this journal and a forthcoming international quilt index.

Author Notes: Jonathan Holstein's interest in quilts began in the 1960s when he andGail van der Hoof began to collect and study quilts, concentrating on theiraesthetic qualities. The exhibition they curated at the Whitney Museum ofAmerican Art, New York, in 1971, 'Abstract Design in American Quilts,"showed quilts for the first time as designed objects and is noted as the startingpointfor the modern quilt renaissance. Numerous other exhibitions curatedby them and drawn from their collection were seen across the United Statesand abroad and gave wide circulation to their view of quilts as aestheticobjects. These exhibitions were instrumental in creating a worldwideawareness of American quilts. Holstein continues to curate quilt exhibi-tions. His writing in the field began with the catalogue of the Whitneyexhibition. His book The Pieced Quilt: An American Design Tradition, astudy of the history and aesthetic basis of American quilts, was publishedin 1973, and many articles and exhibition catalogues followed. He wrotethe introduction and commentaries for The Kentucky Quilt Project'sexhibition catalogue, Kentucky Quilts 1800-1900 in 1983 and has beena Director of that group since 1984. In 1991-92, with fellow Directors ShellyZegart and Eleanor Bingham Miller, he organized and produced "LouisvilleCelebrates the American Quilt." A new book, Abstract Design in AmericanQuilts: A Biography of an Exhibition, was published in 1992. Eleanor Bingham Miller was a founder of The Kentucky Quilt Project,Inc., organized in 1981 to survey her state's quilts; and she has been activein all of its projects since then, including the 1991-92 production of"Louisville Celebrates the American Quilt." She is a filmmakerand a partnerin Double Play Productions, New York. Shelly Zegart was a founding director in 1981 of The Kentucky QuiltProject, the first state documentation project. Her initial interest in collectingquilts expanded with the Kentucky state survey to a full-time involvementin the field. Zegart lectures on all aspects of quilt history and aesthetics.She has curated many exhibitions here and abroad, including an exhibitionof Kentucky quilts in Australia. In 1992 she curated "Quilts Now," anexhibition of contemporary quilts. Her articles have appeared in numerouspublications. In 1992, she wrote forewords for Abstract Design in AmericanQuilts: A Biography of an Exhibition and Always There: The African-American Presence in American Quilts. She continues to act as an advisorto other groups conducting state quilt surveys. In 1991-92 with fellow quiltproject directors Jonathan Holstein and Eleanor Bingham Miller sheorganized and produced "Louisville Celebrates the American Quilt."