Work quilt exhibit
returns to Oldham History Center
13 notable 20th century women
Helen E. McKinney
LA GRANGE, Ky. (January 2009) When Rebekka
Seigel realized that quilts could be an art form, she became more serious
about quilting. She put 61/2 years into a project that has evolved into
a highly sought after quilt exhibit circulating all over the United
States since 2003.
that quilting be
an art form, and
dedicated herself to it.
Womens Work is a series of 13 quilts
depicting famous women of the 20th century. The series is similar to
paper dolls in that smaller quilts attach to, or dress up, a larger
The popularity of this quilt is based on its subject matter, said Seigel,
60. And the novelty of the idea of a quilt looking like paper
Womens Work will be on exhibit in the museum of the
Oldham County History Center from January through February. Seigel,
who lives in Owenton, Ky, is expected to present a talk about her quilts
sometime during their showing.
This is the second time Womens Work will be on exhibit
at the History Center. Womens Work was popular, said
Nancy Theiss, executive director of the Oldham County History Center.
The quilts are unusual because of the paper doll theme. She features
famous women and then creates costumes that represent important aspects
of their career.
In conjunction with this exhibit, We are interviewing local women
who were First Achievers in Oldham County the first
woman judge, the first African American bank teller and the first woman
magistrate, Theiss said.
Another highlight of this exhibit is featured speaker Tori Murden at
noon Saturday, March 21. Among her many accomplishments, Murden was
the first person to row across the Atlantic. A reception will follow
the speech in her honor.
Seigel uses hand appliqué and hand quilting in her work which
is rare in this day and age, she said. Reverse appliqué
and batik are techniques she frequently uses.
Each quilt is a history lesson, Seigel said. Young and old
both enjoy her work. Children often learn something about these women
and how a quilt is put together, while some older people are often already
familiar with the subject matter.
My grandmother was my first inspiration when it came to
quilting, said Seigel, originally from Cincinnati. Her grandmothers
traditional quilts were beautiful, but didnt allow Seigel the
freedom to express herself artistically.
Seigel has done so by creating her own paper doll technique, which differs
from the traditional quilting method. She said she was amazed to have
been able to complete the series in six and a half years.
She said it is rewarding to have created this body of art work and feels
she has made a statement about women and their contributions.
Seigel said she may add a 14th quilt to the series in the future. Based
on Hillary Clintons accomplishments, she is becoming quilt-worthy,
Any time she creates a quilt, Seigel focuses on color choices, layout
and design. Her mind is working on creating the best quilt she can make.
The result is often beautiful, meaningful and artistic in its own right.
Her work has appeared in shows such as Quilt National and The American
Quilt Societys annual competition, in which she has won awards
three times. Seigel represented the Commonwealth of Kentucky in the
first great American Quilt Competition. This competition was designed
to honor the centennial of the Statue of Liberty.
In 2000, Seigel was chosen by the governor of Kentucky to create 11
prizes given for the Governors Awards. Her work is contained in
many private collections and in the collection of the Evansville Museum
of Art and Science in Evansville, Ind.
Seigels work has taken her across country. In 1995, she traveled
to Northern Ireland, where she was an artist-in-residence. She gives
many lectures, teaches classes and conducts workshops.
Following the exhibits run at the Oldham County History Center,
Womens Work may travel to the National Womens
Museum in Seneca Falls, N.Y. It seemed appropriate to display the quilts
in an area where womens suffrage was strong, said Seigel.
For more information, on Rebekka Seigels
work, visit: www.quiltartz.com.
For more information on the exhibit, contact the Oldham County History
Center at (502) 222-0826.
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