Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Let Freedom Ring

Independence Day in the U.S. is the anniversary of the publication of the declaration of independence from Great Britain in 1776. Our Fourth of July celebrations have deep roots in the American tradition of political freedom. Here are some historical and modern red, white and blue quilts that symbolize the freedoms we cherish as our heritage and right.

Freedom Quilt, 74 x 68, by Jessie B. Telfair, 1983, from the collection of the American Folk Art Museum

This is one of several freedom quilts made by Jessie Telfair (b. 1913-d. 1986).   The powerful invocation of one word, “freedom,” is repeated here as a symbol of struggle for voting rights embodied in the Civil Rights Movement.  To read about the quilt, see the American Folk Art Museum webpage.

Attic windows - a Soldier's Quilt, 42 x 56, by Darlene Douglass at Douglass Arts

The magnificent "Attic Windows - A Soldier’s Quilt" was machine pieced by Darlene Douglass and quilted by Sandy Henricks of Sun City Quilters.  The quilt was presented to a wounded soldier at Ft. Hood, Texas, in April 2008.

Flag Quilt, 77 1/4 x 78 3/4, ca. 1898, by Mary C. Baxter, from the collection of the American Folk Art Museum

According to oral tradition, the Flag Quilt was made at the time of the Spanish-American War in 1898.   All of the flags and the shield in the center of the quilt have thirteen stars, a reference to the thirteen original colonies. For more information, see this American Folk Art Museum webpage.   The quilt graced the cover of the 1986 book, All Flags Flying: American Patriotic Quilts as Expressions of Liberty.
We must be free not because we claim freedom, but because we practice it.  ~ William Faulkner

God Bless the USA, 53 x 38", by Pam Smith, Contra Costa County Quilt Guild, Pleasant Hill, California

The quilter, Pam Smith, explains her lovely work:  "I wanted to quilt the words of the refrain to 'God Bless the USA' by Lee Greenwood... After some practice I found that quilting words was much easier than regular designs.”

Last but not least, there are many free patterns for red, white and blue quilts that may inspire you.  Please check out our 2013 Free Pattern Day for Patriotic Quilts:

Image and song credits:  Photos of the Freedom Quilt, Attic Windows - A Soldier's Quilt, and The Flag Quilt are shown with permission.   Photos of 'God Bless the USA' were taken by Quilt Inspiration at the Contra Costa County Quilt Show, California, April, 2012.

1 comment:

  1. I have limited myself to only reds, whites, and blues on several quilts but they are not really patriotic. Those are very interesting.


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