Thursday, October 25, 2012

Quilts and Art in Alabama

To follow up on the excitement and interest in our library’s Annual Quilt Show, and to welcome the new downtown Arts Center to Decatur, this blog will highlight books from our collection focusing on folk art and the visual arts in Alabama.

First though, did you know that one of the official emblems of the state Alabama is the lovely Pine Burr Quilt? Here are a couple links to information on and instructions for this pattern:

At DPL, we already have many books of interest to our patrons who enjoy the Arts, and we are evaluating the existing collection to add more that may supplement or support Arts Center students as well.  While there are many related fiction books with artist characters and artistic themes, most of this current list are books from our nonfiction collection (shelved in the 700’s). These include exhibition catalogs, books of art history and criticism, artist biographies, and books on craft technique.  Some of the books are cataloged and housed in our Alabama Room collection, and as such are non-circulating, but may be used on the library premises. However, the majority of the books are in the general collection and are available for checkout; most of these art books  are large sized and profusely illustrated. Art books such as these titles are a delight to look at and informative to read!

Quilts and Fiber Arts:

ALABAMA STITCH BOOK: Projects and Stories Celebrating hand-Sewing, Quilting, and Embroidery for Contemporary Sustainable Style. Natalie Chanin. STC Craft, New York: 2008. 746.44 CHA

 ALABAMA STUDIO STYLE: More Projects, Recipes & Stories Celebrating Sustainable Fashion & Living, Natalie Chanin. STC Craft, New York: 2010. 746.44 CHA

ALABAMA STUDIO SEWING & DESIGN. Natalie Chanin. STC Craft: 2012. 746.4 CHA

 Three books of projects by Natalie Chanin of Florence, AL sharing techniques and traditional skills to create handmade clothing and home decorations.

THE FREEDOM QUILTING BEE. Nancy Callahan. University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa: 1987. 976 CAL

During the late 1960’s Civil rights era, the black women of Wilcox County created quilts and a handcraft cooperative, the   Freedom Quilting Bee, acclaimed across the nation.

 GEE’S BEND: the Architecture of the Quilt.  Tinwood Books, Atlanta: 2006. 746.46 GEE
Book and exhibition offering a focused investigation into the nature, inspirations and future of the quilting tradition of Gee’s Bend.

 LEAVING GEE’S BEND. Irene Latham.  G.P. Putnam’s Son, New York: 2010. JF F LAT
Juvenile novel set in 1932 and inspired by the quilting history of Gee’s Bend; a delightful, satisfying story of a young girl growing up.

 THE QUILTS OF GEE’S BEND. Tinwood Books, Atlanta: 2002. Oversize 746.46 QUI Oversized art book about the quilts and quilters of Gee’s Bend, a small isolated community where generations of women created quilt masterpieces from the early 20th century to the present.

 Alabama Folk Art:

ALABAMA FOLK POTTERY. Joey Brackner.  University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa: 2006. ALA 738.61 BRA.
A valuable resource for collectors and scholars, Director of the Alabama Center for Traditional Culture Brackner presents a definitive survey of folk potters and pottery traditions in Alabama from the early historical period to the present.

 HOWARD FINSTER: THE EARLY YEARS. Thelma Finster Bradshaw.  Crane Hill Publishers: 2001. B FIN
As well as being a fresh and insightful profile of one of America’s most esteemed visionary folk artists (Howard Finster, born in Alabama), this book is also a loving tribute from a daughter to her father.

 GONE HOME: Southern Folk Gravestone Art. Jack and Olivia Solomon.  New South Books, Montgomery: 2004. ALA 929.5 GON
Compilation of historical epitaphs, with accompanying photographs of gravestone art, collected from cemeteries in central and southeast Alabama

 LIFE AND ART OF JIMMY  LEE SUDDUTH.  Susan Mitchell Crawley. Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts:  2005. ALA 759.13 SUD
An elder statesman of Black folk art in America, Sudduth’s distinctive paintings were created largely using various colors of local clay. His rich and evocative creativity has expanded the boundaries of what is considered mainstream art.

 REVELATIONS: Alabama’s Visionary Folk Artists. Text by Kathy Kemp; photos by Keith Boyer.  Crane Hill Publishing, Birmingham: 1994.  745.0976 KEM
Profiles of 31 artists and their work showcasing Alabama as an active center of visionary art. This genre, also known as outsider art, is typified by an artist’s ability, without training or use of traditional materials, to create vivid, fresh, primitive and spiritually inspired works of art.

 Fine Arts in Alabama:

ALABAMA MASTERS: Artists and Their Work. Edited by Georgine Clarke.   Alabama State Council on the Arts, Montgomery: 2008. ALA 745.0976 ALA

Full color catalog of a 2007 “Year of Alabama Arts” exhibition featuring work by 20th century Alabama artists from the collections of six major state museums.

 FACING SOUTH: Portraits of Southern Artists. Jerry Siegel. One hundred photographic portraits of contemporary Southern artists, including many from Alabama. University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa: 2012.  770.975 SIE
IMPRINTING THE SOUTH: Southern Printmakers and their images of the region 1920’s-1940’s. Lynn B. Williams. University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa: 2007.  ALA 769.975 WIL

A visual history of printmaking in the South. Including biographical sketches, samples of work and analysis of imagery of over 60 artists.


OF TIME AND PLACE: Walker Evans and William Christenberry.  Thomas W. Southall.  Amon Carter Museum: 1990. 779.9976 SOU

From a joint exhibit of Walker Evan’s iconic photographs from the 1930’s and native Alabamian William Christenberry’s art  of a generation later.  Also includes essays exploring the interrelationships between these two artists.

 LET US NOW PRAISE FAMOUS MEN. James Agee.  Library Classics: 2005. F AGEE
AND THEIR CHILDREN AFTER THEM: the Legacy of Let Us Praise Famous Men: James Agee, Walker Evans and the Rise and Fall of Cotton in the South.  Dale Maharidge and Michael Williamson.  Pantheon Books: 1990. ALA 976.106 MAH

 PICTURE TAKER. Photographs by Ken Elkins; Foreword by Rick Bragg. University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa: 2005.
Collection of 100 photos  by Ken Elkins, selected from his 42 year career as the chief photographer for the  Anniston Star. Demonstrates his eye for capturing with great dignity images of rural southern lives and landscapes.

 Graphic books (about Alabama):

DARK ROOM: A Memoir in Black & White.  Lila Qunitero Weaver. University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa: 2012.

Transplanted at age five from Buenos Aires to Alabama, author and artist Weaver encountered the racially charged culture of the early 1960s as a Latina who is neither black nor white.  She creates a emotional story in a rarely heard voice from the turbulent past of U.S. race relations in this unique graphic novel format.

SCOTTSBORO ALABAMA: A story in linoleum cuts. Lin Shi Khan and Tony Perez.  New York University Press: 2002.  ALA 345.73 KHA

While not produced by regional artists, this book’s topic ties it to this list. An example of powerful political art, this graphic book of linocuts from 1935 links the struggles of black America, as seen through the Scottsboro case, with the oppression of the working class.