Quilts subject of Lightner Museum exhibit

The Lightner Museum is showing Handstitched Worlds: The Cartography of Quilts from October 7th to January 20th.

Quilting, an American pastime, was a hobby promoted by museum founder Otto Lightner in his Hobbies magazine. Writing about his plans for his St. Augustine Museum in the 1940s, Lightner envisioned the building “decorated with museum materials such as historic quilts, fine needlework, and rich fabrics.”

Like many items rooted in everyday life, quilts have the ability to tell stories about the context in which they were made and used. They represent maps of the quilter’s life – living records of cultural traditions, rites of passage, relationships, political and spiritual beliefs, landmark events and future aspirations. Since a map is a pocket-sized abstraction of the world that lies beyond the visible, a quilt artist’s choice of fabric and design reveals insights into the topography of her world and her place in it.

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Handstitched Worlds: The Cartography of Quilts invites viewers to read quilts as maps, tracing the paths of individual stories and experiences that illuminate larger historical events and cultural trends.

The exhibition spans the 19th, 20th and early 21st decades and brings together 18 quilts from the collection of the American Folk Art Museum, New York, representing a range of materials, motifs and techniques – from traditional, early American quilts towards more contemporary sculptural assemblages.

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The quilts in Handstitched Worlds show how this often-overlooked medium reconciles creativity with tradition, individuality with zeitgeist.

The exhibition begins with a free open house at the Lightner Museum from 5:30pm to 7:30pm on October 7th.

Handstitched Worlds: The Cartography of Quilts is presented at Lightner by the Community Foundation for Northeast Florida. Additional support comes from the State of Florida, the State Department, the Department of Arts and Culture, the Florida Council on Arts and Culture, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

The exhibition was organized by the American Folk Art Museum, New York, and is being toured by International Arts & Artists, Washington, DC

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Founded in 1948 by Chicago publisher, collector, and professional hobbyist Otto C. Lightner, the museum offers a comprehensive experience of art, architecture, history, and design. Central to the museum’s offerings are its compelling collections, including Tiffany lamps, geological specimens from around the world, Sèvres-made porcelain and Victorian mechanical musical instruments.

The museum is open seven days a week from 9am to 5pm at 75 King St., St. Augustine. Visit lightnermuseum.org or call 904-824-2874 for more information.

For information about the American Folk Art Museum, visit folkartmuseum.org. For information on International Arts & Artists, visit artsandartists.org.

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