Wednesday, 25th May 2011
Following our fantastic session with Quilters Dream, we have become aware that there is some considerable controversy regarding secret code used by slaves to aid escape. A book written in 1999 by Jacqueline Tobin and Raymond Dobard called Hidden in Plain View: A Secret Story of Quilts and the Underground Railroad explores the idea that a “secret quilt code” was in place during the era of the Underground Railroad. The book is based on the early 1990s oral testimony of an elderly black quilt vendor from South Carolina, the late Ozella McDaniel Williams. Reportedly, the secret quilt code guided slaves by providing specific directives hidden in quilt block patterns. Each quilt block was meant to be a memory device and conveyed a certain course of action. These patterns and their meaning can be seen at http://www.osblackhistory.com/quiltcodes.php.
However, it seems that there is no tangible evidence to support this theory as to date, no diaries, journals, or letters have been located that would support the theory that quilt blocks were used in a secret quilt code. No oral testimony in support of the code was ever provided by former slaves who were interviewed by the Works Progress administration in the 1930s, nor did anyone come forward at a later time and it is said that not one quilt or quilt block has been recovered that can be documented as having conveyed hidden messages among slaves during the era of the Underground Railroad. For further reading on this, go to http://www.quiltersmuse.com/an-american-quilt-myth.htm.
Our previous news letter contained some information about Encaustic Art, which many members have shown in interest in. Our article addressed the fact that the demonstrator required payment a we asked for feedback from as to whether you would be willing to cover her costs. Please do let us have a definite yes or no to help us plan Crafty Affairs sessions for the future.
Tonight’s Crafty Affairs meeting consists of three ‘Crafty Corners’: our Drawing and Water Colour classes, held by Damien in the outer area and two other in the main hall: ‘Crochet Corner’ and ‘Card Corner’. Crochet Corner is as the request of many members who enjoyed the beginners crochet session and asked for Maria to demonstrate how to crochet flowers. The Card Corner will be a demonstration by Miranda of one particular decorative element, ‘prick and stitch’, where a pattern is pricked through on to card and then sewn, creative a stunning and effective card. These make fantastic gifts whether as the finished item or for someone to receive or to stitch themselves to give away and is an ideal way to get youngster started in a quick and simple craft. Apart from some free patterns available on our own website at www.craftyaffairs.org, it is worth using the online shops for patterns, thread and accessories as there is a great variety to choose from. Here are two sites worth a visit www.form-a-lines.net and www.stitchingcards.com.
Visitors to our website at www.craftyaffairs.org will notice that the [Calendar] now has a lot of information on it, listing events nationally, in the southern region, locally and of course includes all the Crafty Affairs sessions and planned activities, highlighted in purple. Do please let us know of any that we have missed as did Rosie who told us of the ‘Art in Action’ show which begins on the 21st July. You will also see that we have been busy adding on a [Resources]. This is fairly new so doesn’t yet have too much information there, but it does have some free prick and stitch patterns for you to download and in time will have more free patterns, links to websites, how to videos and suggested books so please bear with us while we populate this page and indeed trawl for the information! If you have any hints or suggestions on what can be included here, again please tell us so that we can share it with everyone and don’t forget we need you to add your comments on to the website!
Please note that we have intentionally not scheduled any activities for the next session on Tuesday, 7th June as we thought it would be a nice idea to have a relaxed evening of crafting where we all bring whatever we want along, whether finished or in progress to show others and chat about what we have done
Finally, our thanks to both Rosie and Vivienne who have both taken the time and trouble to suggest ideas for fundraising, advertising and demonstrators. Happy Crafting everyone!