Tuesday September 16th 2014

Watch “Craft in America: Threads,” coming soon on PBS

CRAFT IN AMERICA, the Emmy nominated and Peabody Award‐winning documentary series dedicated to exploring America’s rich craft history, will premiere its fourth season with Craft in America: Threads on PBS Friday, May 11, 2012, at 9pm (check your local television listings).

“Cotton Fields, Sunflowers, Blackbirds and Quilting Bees,” Faith Ringgold. ©Faith Ringgold, 1997, The American Collection, #8

The first episode of Season Four, Craft in America: Threads, explores work by Faith RinggoldRandall Darwall, Consuelo Jimenez Underwood, and Terese Agnew – nationally acclaimed fiber artists who through story quilts, fiber collages, and woven textiles go beyond pure technique. Faith Ringgold’s bold colors and forms express her strongly held, loudly expressed credo “Anyone Can Fly.” From a family of quilters she developed her craft, and even though a painter, author, teacher, and feminist organizer, she is best known for her painted story quilts which regale us with rich and determined stories of African‐American life.

The clear light and bold sunsets on the Cape Cod beach inspire premiere colorist/weaver Randall Darwall’s sophisticated fabrics, which affect our intellect and emotions through visual rhythms and sensuous tactility. Darwall and life‐partner of 25 years, Brian Murphy, create a panoply of colors that fill their studio and dye pots. “Why use five colors when fifty will do nicely,” they ask as they joyously produce their unique and beautifully crafted scarves, shawls, quilts, and garments.

For Consuelo Jimenez Underwood, life began in the green fields of California’s Central Valley as a child laborer. Artistic expression was deeply tied to traditional Huichol weaving, a heritage she incorporates into her large mixed media textiles. For her, it is the thread that links the past to the present.

All of Terese Agnew ’s quilts are stories drawn from real life. Fueled by environmental and labor rights concerns, Agnew paints and sews painstakingly detailed quilts in her Wisconsin studio. Agnew’s important Portrait of a Textile Worker, pieced together from more than 30,000 clothing labels mailed to her from all corners of the country, underscores the abusive conditions endured by disenfranchised workers who make our clothing in countries.

Wisconsin quilter Terese Agnew (photo courtesy of Mark Markley)

(Posted by Christine N. Brown, American Quilter magazine editor-in-chief)

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