Thursday, February 26, 2015

Putting it All Together

Quilting has been around since Egyptian times, according to the presentation I heard at San Antonio College.  Four panelists provided quilts for an exhibit and talked to the audience about what got them into quilting, what inspires them, and a little bit about how they each create quilts.  Our own Allison Chambers was one of the panel members.

The presentation was very interesting to me.  The speaker talked about the history of quilting, the history of America and how quilts were made and used by Black Americans.  This was a black history month presentation.  She talked about the link between contemporary quilting designs and art, especially graphic art and spoke a little about the Gees Bend quilters.  Too bad she didn't know they were just an hour away in Austin just a couple days ago.  They would have been a great addition to this presentation.  Each of the panelists told their story and some of their quilts are on display in the library.  That exhibit will be available all semester in the Moody Learning Center on the fourth floor if you'd like to check it out.  Below are pictures but they don't do the work justice.

The speaker provided a background of each of the quilters that I'll share after the pictures. (Okay I'm admitting defeat -- I have been trying for 2 days now to get these photos to show up right and no matter what I do they keep going sideways.  So please just turn you head to see them correctly.  If you wait until I figure out how to get them right, you'll never get to see them. On my phone they are cropped tightly, cleaned up, and right side up, honest.  No clue why they return to crap on their own but tired of fighting with them.)

Robin Collett works at San Antonio College as the Executive Assistant to the President.  Robin is a fourth-generation (at least) Texas quilt maker.  She grew up in San Antonio sleep under quilts made by her maternal grandmother Barbara Bruce Wood out of feed sacks and dressmaking scraps.  Robin's mother, Grace Wood Meyer, taught her to embroider, sew, and crochet as a child, hobbies that she enjoys to this day.  She began hand quilting when she and her sister inherited a number of quilt tops made by their great grandmother, grandmother and mother.  In addition to making new quilts featuring reproduction 1800s fabrics such as the ones displayed here [at the college], Robin enjoys restoring antique quilts and hand quilting antique quilt tops and hopes someone will do the same for all of her "UFOs" (unfinished objects) in some distant future!

Lolita Crump was born in Port Chester, New York, and began sewing at the age of 11 with her grandmother who made uniforms for the Armed Forces.  She is a retired career woman with a degree in design from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City.  During the past 11 years Lolita has instructed quilting classes and sold Bernina Sewing Machines.  Her quilt art is featured is featured in commemorative poster for San Antonio College Black History Month 2015.  She lives in San Antonio.

Nina Fennell is a history quilter, genealogist, community activist, CASA child advocate, and treasurer of the African American Genealogical and Historical Society of San Antonio.  In addition to her quilt art, Nina displays her genealogical quilts, showcasing not only her artistry and skill but also her family history all laid out on fabric.  Her personal quilts add a unique dimension to the ancestral story.  Nina has gives guest lectures (most recently at the San Antonio Central Public Library during Black History Month 2012).  She lives in San Antonio.

Joan Fabian is an artist and Fulbright Scholar working in painting and the multimedia arts, receiving her degrees in art from the School of the Art Institute of  Chicago (BFA) and the University of Texas at San Antonio (MFA).  She has taught art at the National College of Arts, Lahore Pakistan. Her work has been exhibited at the American center in Islamabad, Parsons School of Design in Paris, France and throughout the world.  Her most recent exhibition was at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. entitled "Revealing Culture."  Joan is the host of San Antonio College InTV Educational Cable Access program called Artist Palette where she interviews artists and curators in San Antonio.  Her own artwork can be viewed at  She works at San Antonio College in the Department of Creative Multimedia.

and you may already know, but in case you didn't:
Allison Chambers is a preservation architect by day and a quilter by night.  From her tiny apartment in downtown San Antonio, she designs modern quilts that challenge the traditional notions of both art and craft.  Her work features bold colors and patterns inspired by minimalist design, pop art, and studies in repetition.  Born and raised in Dallas, Allison grew up watching her mother and grandmother created beautifully handmade quilts and she credits them with nurturing her love of quilting.  Her work has been exhibited at the Dallas Quilt Show and QUILTCON (2013 and 2015), the international show of the Modern Quilt Guild.  You can see more of her work by visiting her blog  Allison is an associate at Ford, Powell and Carson Architects and Planners, Inc. and a project manager for the Historic Preservation Department.  With degrees in both architecture and historic preservation, she approaches each project with a unique design perspective and the desire to see historic building utilized to their full potential.  Currently she is working on a conditions assessment report for the future restoration of the Koehler House Complex on the SAC campus.

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