Handstitched Worlds: The Cartography of Quilts

Lower Level Galleries

January 30 – April 21, 2024


Quilts are a narrative art form, featuring themes that are political, spiritual, communal, and commemorative. Infused with history and memory, quilts map out intimate stories and legacies through a handcrafted language of design. Looking across city blocks and quilt blocks, roadways and seams, one can see a visible kinship between quilt making and cartography. Both are built upon established systems that use color, pattern, and symbols to create whole compositions from a network of interlocked parts. Handstitched Worlds: The Cartography of Quilts is an invitation to read quilts as maps, tracing the paths of individual histories that illuminate larger historic events and cultural trends.


This insightful and engaging exhibition presents eighteen quilts from the collection of the American Folk Art Museum in New York City. Spanning the nineteenth to twenty-first centuries, the quilts represent a range of materials, motifs, and techniques, including traditional early American examples and contemporary sculptural assemblages. Handstitched Worlds demonstrates how this often-overlooked medium balances creativity with tradition and individuality with collective zeitgeist.



Handstitched Worlds: The Cartography of Quilts was organized by the American Folk Art Museum, New York and is toured by International Arts & Artists, Washington, DC.







Thursday, February 15, 2024

5:30 p.m. Lecture

6:30 – 7:30 p.m. Reception


Dr. Sandra Sider will present “Centennial to Bicentennial: Quilt Making in the United States, 1876-1976.” Dr. Sider, a past president of Studio Art Quilt Associates, recently retired after 10 years as Curator for the Texas Quilt Museum. She edited Art Quilt Quarterly for six years, and has published numerous articles and books on fiber and textile art for more than three decades. A studio quilt artist since the late 1970s, she focuses on photographic processes in her work, embellished with surface design techniques, including hand embroidery. Her art quilts have been acquired by several museums and corporate collections.  She studied photography and printmaking in workshops at the School of Visual Arts (NYC) and Manhattan Graphics Center, and has an MA in art history from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, and a PhD in comparative literature from the University of North Carolina.  From 2019 through 2022, she taught the History of Textiles course for the MFA Textiles program at Parsons School of Design.




Artist Unknown (Virginia), Map Quilt, 1886, Silk and cotton velvets and brocade with embroidery, Image Courtesy of the American Folk Art Museum, Gift of Dr. and Mrs. C. David McLaughlin, Photo by Schecter Lee


Artist Unknown (Minnesota), Fans Quilt, 1922-23, Rayon, wool, and army uniform wool with embroidery, Image Courtesy of the American Folk Art Museum, Gift of Margaret Cavigga, Photographer unidentified


Jerry Gretzinger (MI, NY), Jerry’s Map (E1/N1, Generation 11), 2009-12, Felt-tip pen, colored pencil, acrylic, tape, and plastic clippings on cardboard, Image Courtesy of the American Folk Art Museum, Gift of the artist, Photo by Adam Reich


Dr. Sandra Sider (Photo by KOM Studio)

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