Monday, 7 May 2018

Show'n'Tell Topic For Monday 7th April

Its that Time of the week again
Show'n'Tell Topic
Although I am running a little behind 
schedule this week "/

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 here is what Sarah wrote this week...

Saturday is the 5th of May and of course a celebrated day in Mexico and the United States - El Cinco de Mayo. Actuall,y the day isn’t exactly a huge celebration in Mexico and some people think Cinco de Mayo represents Mexico’s independence day. Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of when the Mexican army defeated the French in the horrific battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. Mexico’s independence day is September 16th. 

In the United States, Cinco de Mayo is a day to celebrate Mexican culture and hopefully not just from a margarita glass. Quilting and especially embroidery does have its own historical underpinnings within the context of Mexican history and its so important to realize that quilting is not just an American tradition.
So gather around the computer and read about the history of Mexican quilting and embroidery.
Once a long time ago, a very long time ago in a country that we now know as the United States; way before and I mean wayyyyyyy before any Anglo Saxons dug their heels into the country, Spanish and Mexican people had been living on the land for years. Decades. And before the Spanish and Mexican people established their zip codes, Native Americans had been land dwellers even longer. That is the reason I always laugh about immigration issues in the United States; if anyone has to leave its the Anglo Saxon/Caucasians and not the Mexican Americans.
During the 1500s, gold was discovered in the territory known as Colorado. So with the digging came the establishment of villages and with the villages came the need to survive so sheep were raised for food and their wool. Weaving wool into blankets became a first step towards the evolution of quilting. As people migrated to other states, New Mexico became one of the first states where the established stepping stones towards quilting was based more on practicality than on esthetics. For example: the weather was quite cold in New Mexico, especially if one lived in the mountains. Hence making blankets and then stuffed with cotton or old blankets helped keep people warm. The bed rolls depicted on TV in those corny westerns - several blankets sewed together. The blankets were woven out of wool since the availability of fabric did not become a reality until the establishment of the railroad. And even then, only women who had the luxury of time and money could take the fabric and turn it into a blanket. Remember: practicality.
I know you are cringing because I’m using the word “blanket” instead of a “quilt.” For Mexican American women living in New Mexic,o a blanket was consider a necessity and not a work of art. What these women did instead to add beauty to their beds, they would embroider these beautiful designs onto bed sheets and use the bed sheets the same way we use quilts. So you see, blankets stuffed with heavy material became too heavy to wash and too pragmatic to be used as a decoration.

Things began to change when Mexican Americans migrated to Texas and women started picking up on the quilting skills of women living on the east coast. Quilting became something to do in your leisure time (again if women were lucky to have the time) and “the old way quilts” now became something for “show.”
Quilts made my Mexican Americans are an entity that represents a lack of American quilting influences. Not necessarily skill but the quilts are more uninhibited, “experimental and sensible.” Quilters are not dictated by any rules. And here is something after my own heart. Mexican American quilt making emphasizes the fabric - bright, cheerful fabrics that are tied instead of free motion quilted so that nothing dilutes the integrity of fabric. Such quilts are nothing like the puritanism that dictated the United States. Can you image if a Mexican American design our first flag????? Big, bold and colorful!!! I’ll probably get into trouble for this but red, white and blue doesn’t do anything for me though I respect the flag.
As a quilter we have to open ourselves up to not only quilting skills but recognize that American does not own the historical roots of quilting. And as an American, I wouldn’t want that. It would be too boring not to recognize and appreciate the wide diversity that fabric sewn together represents.
Show and Tell Monday, May 7th: Go into your sewing room and find something - be it fabric or a notion that was NOT made in the United States or China. Fabric manufactured in Japan is ok anything that is part of our quilting diversity. For example: I have some fabric made in Israel. Show us what you have and give us some information on where it came from.

'Till Next time 
Happy Quilting and Crafting ") N

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