West Virginia University’s Mountaineer Week (Oct. 20-29) will be part of the West Virginia Quilt Documentation Project which seeks to record the history of quilts that have been made or are currently housed in West Virginia.
Sponsored by the West Virginia Quilters, Inc., in collaboration with the West Virginia Division of Culture and History, and supported by the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts, two “documentation days” are slated for Oct. 21 and 22.
The “documentation days” are part of an ongoing effort to record West Virginia’s quilt artistry and history, and to create a record for future historians and researchers. The focus – only the second of its kind in West Virginia - is quilts made prior to 1970.
“We enjoy quilts because of the many beautiful fabrics sewn together to put on a bed or cover up to keep warm,” said Fran Kordek, coordinator of the West Virginia Quilt Documentation Project. “It is important that we properly document, care for, and preserve these fabrics of our lives.”
Kordek emphasized that the quilts should be brought “as is.” “Sometimes people think they need to clean their quilts first or mend them because they have been stored away in an attic or are well-used,” she said. “This is not something we encourage as it could alter the quilt in some way or even harm the fabrics if they are fragile. We are interested in having the quilts photographed and examined, and to record any history or documentation related to the quilts.”
She also recommends that participants include family photos, especially those showing the quilt and quilt maker, and details about the quilt maker such as birth date, death date, maiden and married names, and religion or ethnic background. In addition, details about the quilt, such as whether it was made for a special occasion or whether it won a ribbon at a fair, are also be useful. Kordek also noted that in the case where the quiltmaker is unknown, the item is still worthy of documentation.
Records and information about the quilts will be stored in the archives managed by the West Virginia Division of Culture and History in Charleston. Photographs of the quilts and related information also will be added to a national online database (The Quilt Index) for scholars and educators. Personal information about the quilt owners, however, will be kept confidential.
Quilt documentation will occur at the Mountainlair, Oct. 21-22 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Individuals interested in having their quilts documented can call 304.370.3239 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to make an appointment with Jane Larke. The West Virginia Quilt Documentation Project is conducted by volunteers. Those who want to volunteer should contact Larke or Linda Vaughan at Ldvaughan@frontier.com.
For more information on Mountaineer Week, visit http://mountaineerweek.wvu.edu/.
CONTACT: Sonja Wilson, Mountainlair
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