Quilt exhibit coming to Wichita Falls Museum of Art

WFMA Quilt Journeys exhibit

Quilt exhibit coming to Wichita Falls Museum of Art

Quilting may date back as far as 3400 BCE, and yet the sewing technique is still evolving today. Through the years, quilting progressed from fulfilling needs for physical protection and insulation, with carefully chosen decorative elements, to a contemporary point of view where a function is abandoned for a focus on art.

The exhibition Quilt Journeys: Pattern at the Wichita Falls Museum of Art will explore patterns in 20th -century quilt patterns. The exhibit from WFMA’s Permanent Collection will be on display from January 30 to July 24.

“More often than not, a quilt tells a story,” said Danny Bills, WFMA Curator of Collections and Exhibitions. “It can be an obvious story based on images or words sewn into the fabric, but sometimes it requires insider knowledge or perhaps explanations of quilting patterns in order to know what the author or quilter is saying. I find it fascinating that a depth of meaning, design, and storytelling could be contained in the fabric that was once a winter necessity for warmth and possibly survival.”

The quilting journey has a rich history that includes patterns, stories, and collaboration. It was quite a journey from Colonial quilts through the Industrial Revolution, the Abolitionist movement, and into the Crazy Quilt era of the 19th century, to thousands of quilts made in the 1940s and 1950s from printed farm feed sacks and contemporary experimentation with materials that redefine the notion of what a quilt can be.

“Quilts are beloved. They’re beautiful, soft, and warm, and often they’re made by someone with love,” WFMA Director Tracee Robertson said. “They are also works of art, made through skilled craftsmanship by people with an eye for color and pattern, creative courage, and a desire to express something. In this exhibition, we look closely at patterns and how their pieces come together to create an overall image, and we reflect on why a pattern is chosen and what it may communicate, beyond the quilt’s function to protect and provide.”

Bills is excited for visitors to see this exhibit. “It is my hope that viewers who are familiar with quilting will enjoy these examples; however, it would be just as special if someone who knows nothing about quilts other than their use as blankets would discover that there are more layers to quilts than the three layers of fabric from which they are made,” Bills said.

The WFMA at MSU Texas is open from 10-5 on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, open 10-7 on Thursday, and from 1-5 p.m. on Saturday. The museum follows State of Texas COVID-19 guidelines and asks visitors to sanitize hands, cover coughs, maintain six feet of distance from others, and wear a mask. Admission is free to the public.

There will be a special Valentine’s Day Workshop, led by artist Mary Helen Maskill, on January 30 from 1-3:30 p.m. ($10 entry, $5 for MSU students). Call 940-397-8947 or email Elizabeth.adams@msutexas.edu to reserve a spot.