Why Quilts Matter

Why Quilts Matter is the title of a new program (and DVD) now showing on Kentucky Educational Television.  This fascinating 9 part series is not to be missed.  Below are just a few of the highlights from the series.

You’ll discover how quilts can illuminate our past.  For example,

  • Standards of living can be deduced from the fabric choices women made.
  • Increasing numbers of quilts made in the American west with fabrics manufactured in the east directly demonstrate improvements in transportation.
  • When women from all parts of the country started using the same patterns, it is because national magazines were being published.
  • Constrained in their ability to speak out, women got their ideas across in quilts, as long as the viewer could decode the message.
  • An increase in the number of quilts made for decoration, not function, indicates an increase in the country’s wealth.

The art marketplace is explained.  You’ll understand how value is assigned to a quilt and why some old quilts might be valued very low while new quilts can command high prices.  And you’ll get insights into quilts in the museum world as well as the marketplace.

You’ll learn from an extended conversation on what it art and what is craft.  Is a quilt an example of craft when it’s on the bed and art when it’s on the wall?  Does it even matter?

You’ll get an insight into how huge the quilt world is:

  •  30,000 people attend the quilt festival in Paducah, Kentucky each year.  That’s more people than live in Paducah!
  • 250,000 people visited the most recent quilt festival in Tokyo, Japan, which lasted for 10 days.
  • There are 54 magazines devoted to various aspects of quilt making.

Why Quilts Matter was funded and produced by the Kentucky Quilt Project.  The UofL Libraries is fortunate to have the Kentucky Quilt Project records in the University Archives.  Shelly Zegart,  one of the co-founders of the project,   is also the moving force behind Why Quilts Matter.  Zegart is an internationally-known curator, lecturer and writer on all aspect of quilts.

If you miss the series on KET, stop in the Art Library and watch the DVD.  You won’t be disappointed.  And make sure to look at the accompanying website, whyquiltsmatter.org.  It’s full of helpful information, particularly the download-able Image Resource Guides.


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