These quilts were created by and passed through the hands of several generations in my family of origin. I look forward to sharing additional content regarding this part of my history, my Southern Appalachian bond and culture, and the roots of my own creative practice - grounded in the practical use of objects imbued with meaning during creation and across time.

This lightweight summer quilt is one of my favorite family quilts. It was made by my maternal great grandmother, Katherine (Katie) Edmonds, in the early 1960s using a treadle. By the '60s, Katie was machine quilting, in this case cutting and piecing hundreds of small squares and quilting around each one. Katie quilted all day and sold her quilts for $15 each. She also ran a boarding house in Knoxville, Tennessee on 5th Avenue off of Broadway near the Old City. She quilted until the 1980s.

This hand stitched detail is from a double-sided quilt, also made by Katie Edmonds (pictured here), in the 1950s or '60s. Each time I look at one of her quilts I notice something new. I especially appreciate this color combination, along with the hand stitching and imperfect piecing on the pink square in the bottom right hand corner.

I don't prioritize precision or perfection in my own quilt making. Noticing the uneven seams and piecing on this quilt from my maternal line creates a connection with the process, aesthetics, and purpose of quilting that I share with family that came before me. Here we meet where the art and utility of quilting join together.

The fabric and pattern for this quilt were shared with my mother by an older friend and member of our community from the Burns family in Tennessee. The design originated in their family and was passed down through generations. My mother appliqued the quilt top by hand while she was pregnant with me. She finished it while on bed rest in the last month of pregnancy. She then passed it to the women at my paternal grandmother's church to hand quilt in their circle using the original quilting pattern developed by the Burns family. The quilt was ready to welcome me into this community by the time I was born.

 

© 2020 KAREY KENST.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.