Friday, August 26, 2016

Quilts Tell A Story

This was the view as we drove into Washington DC to visit the relatively new location of the Textile Museum.

The museum used to be located on Embassy Row and it was tiny, but became part of George Washington University and now has a beautiful new home.


I heard about an exhibit a couple of months ago, called "Stories of Migration: Contemporary Artists Interpret Diaspora". I originally heard the word diaspora in relation to the Jews. I wasn't really sure what it meant, but the pieces in this exhibit explained it so clearly. I would use the word dispersion as a synonym. The dispersion of ethnic groups can be voluntary or involuntary. This was the basis of the story that each of these fiber prices told.

The interpretation of this theme by 44 textile artists was amazing. I expected to see 2 dimensional quilts hanging on the walls. Instead it was fiber art represented as quilts, sculptures, video and even a piece that was hanging from the ceiling. Honestly I was curious as to how these pieces were delivered to the museum.

Interestingly, we were listening to NPR on the way to DC and there was a broadcast about the National Park Service and the making of one of the Japanese internment camps, Manazar, into a National Historic site. One of the first pieces I saw was about the Japanese children being sent to one of these camps during WWII.

Following are a bunch of photos I took of the diverse pieces along with the artist's statements that I thought were so very thought provoking, far ranging and diverse.




There was also a patriotic textile exhibit. Did you know that it wasn't until 1840 that politicical campaigns were coordinated on a national level? They started to use promotional textile material such as bandanas and flags. William Henry Harrison had a 10 foot ball covered with campaign material that would be rolled from town to town - "let's keep the ball rolling".

There is not much time left to see the Diaspora exhibit. It closes September 4th. I will definitely watch for the upcoming visits at this museum. They seem to be able to combine history and textiles in such an interesting way. Click HERE if you'd like to visit their website.



  1. We almost went to this museum a few weekend when we were in DC for an evening event. But we opted for Congress & library of Congress and the building museum. All were good but this looks fantastic. I'll probably miss this exhibit but at least I can say I saw the bandaid quilt up close & personal before.

  2. I was listening to that broadcast too!!! you are so lucky to have been able to see it!! Thanks for sharing!


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