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Handstitched Worlds: The Cartography of Quilts

  • Self-Taught Genius Gallery 47-29 32nd Place Long Island City, NY, 11101 United States (map)

Handstitched Worlds: The Cartography of Quilts

Looking across city blocks and quilt blocks, roadways and seams, one can see a visible kinship between quilt making and cartography. Both are built upon established systems that use color, pattern, and symbols to create whole compositions from a network of interlocked parts. Quilts and maps are also infused with history and memory—similarly living records of traditions, experiences, relationships, beliefs, and future aspirations. What can be gleaned from a bit of patchwork cut from a wedding dress, castoff feed sack, or commemorative flag? How are personal, political, cultural, and spiritual ideals inscribed onto a quilt’s surface, creating a network of roadways and landmarks that illustrate the quilt maker’s world and his or her place within it?

Handstitched Worlds: The Cartography of Quilts is an invitation to read quilts as maps, tracing the paths of individual stories and experiences that illuminate larger historic events and cultural trends.

Monday - Thursday, 11am - 5pm.


Map Quilt, artist unidentified, possibly Virginia, 1886, silk and cotton with silk embroidery, 78 3/4 × 82 1/4 in., gift of Dr. and Mrs. C. David McLaughlin, 1987.1.1. Photo by Schecter Lee.