May 22, 2011


House top quilt, wool and cotton, 1920’s.

Corrine Riley began collecting these quilts thirty five years ago when she was a student at The Art Institute of Chicago. Today these unique African American quilts hang in the Mingei Museum in San Diego’s Balboa Park for all to enjoy.

Triangles in Changing Patterns, 1970s, Illinois.

One of the most creative of the volunteers at the Discovery Shop gave me a ticket to go see the show. I confess, I wasn’t jumping up and down with excitement about going, but when I arrived I was mesmerized with joy at the bold creativity of these women. They had so little, and they created so much joy, passion, and power from this unknown well.

I was not only inspired, but galvanized into action by the creativity of these generations of hard working women. I’d show more, but himself is dragging me off to see the newest Pirate film. I need to go back to get a better record of the show itself. I’ll spotlight many of these quilts in the next few months for your enjoyment and the energizing effect they have on my art and my soul.

Strip Quilt in “X” Pattern, Texas, 1930s - 1940s.


  1. I hate it if anyone drags me anywhere and would much rather go to a quilt exhibit than a movie any day. Love the quilt with one light blue X. Piecework is great. You might enjoy our Textile Musseum her in Washington DC. I bet you have already been.

  2. Those area really beautiful. Is the Pirates film already out? I thought they were just filming it over here in Hawaii.

  3. I was a member of a quilting group when I lived in NYC. Our African American members made the best quilts--most creative, most colorful. I always admired them.

  4. These are awesome!!! Thanks!!!!!

  5. Really beautiful. Wish I could touch them.

  6. I so wish I had used brighter colours when I made mine.

  7. fantastic folk art--such an inspiration!!!

  8. I saw these last week but didn't have time to write a comment. I love the spontaneity in these quilts...I love the fact some women are able to create without worrying--as I always do--"am I doing it right" as if there were anything like "right" and "wrong" in art. I lament being brought up in such a rule-oriented community.

  9. Hello from Spain,
    Thank you for share. For me these quilts are pure energy and inspiration too.


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