African-American Quilting Traditions Honored in Myrtle Avenue Windows

By Janet Upadhye on February 18, 2013 7:29am 

FORT GREENE — Colorful patchwork quilts have been hanging in storefront windows on Myrtle Avenue in February as part of the neighborhood's celebration of Black Artstory Month.

The vibrant display — which is catching the eyes of passersby and enlivening the blocks between Classon and Vanderbilt avenues — honors folk patchwork quilting while also allowing contemporary artists the freedom to create their own take on the traditional craft.

"The exhibition creates its own patchwork from the artists and the artworks exhibited, bringing together the diverse backgrounds of the artists, their unique visual perspectives and personal insights," curator Daonne Huff said.

"Nine individual stories collected, create one collective ‘quilt’ — documenting and responding to history, life and contemporary society as these artists feel, see and experience it through collage, mixed media, fabric and paint.”

Some artists in "A Patchwork Story" used comic books and newspaper clippings, thumbtacks, string and stained glass to create their quilts while others took a more classic approach, using colorful fabrics. The result is a winsome mash-up of materials that each artist perceived as a "quilt."

Each quilt also has meaning for the artist, with themes including the Underground Railroad, the 1968 Memphis sanitation workers’ strike and the traditions passed down from a grandmother.

Patchwork quilts are currently hanging in Connecticut Muffin, Karrot, Green in BKLYN, Mark’s Gourmet Burgers, Anima, Kum Kau, Miracles Unisex Barber Shop and Soketah on Myrtle Avenue.

They are presented by Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership.

The display runs through Feb. 28.