Sewing Up a Storm
updated 03/28/1990 AT 01:00 AM EST
•originally published 03/28/1990 AT 01:00 AM EST
These bold new designs actually renew a tradition dating back at least to the mid-1800s, when quilters unburdened themselves on abolition and the Union. "The quilter has always been a mirror of her society," says Robert Bishop, director of New York's Museum of American Folk Art.
Now, as in the past, women often sew in a group on one large or several individual works. "In the quilting process, people release emotional strain," notes Bishop.
The quilting movement is itself a kind of quilt. Environmental "Green quilts" are being popularized by artist-activists such as Ohio's SUSAN SHIE. Collectors are snapping up black-history quilts by slaves' descendants who confront the tragedies of the past. The nuclear accident at Chernobyl has found its way into arresting works by BARBARA CAROW, whose hangings sell for $2,000 at Boston's Society of Arts and Crafts. Soft-tech twits high-tech in PCB Bop, by New Yorker ROBIN SCHWALB. A colorful trompe l'oeil blowup of a printed circuit board, it is both alluring and faintly menacing.