Celebrating Famous Women

Oldham County launches new
Westport Row & Kayak Club

Seigel’s ‘Women’s Work’ quilt art displa
returns to La Grange, Ky.

LA GRANGE, Ky. (March 2018) – Quilt artist Rebekka Seigel made her first quilt when she was expecting her first child, more than 40 years ago. She continued to create quilts over the years, straying from the traditional focus that had been previously given to them, to that of a more contemporary art form.
“My grandmother was a quilter. We shared a love of quilting. She inspired me to want to learn to quilt,” said Seigel, who was raised in Cincinnati and now lives in Owenton, Ky.
At the time she made her first quilt, Seigel thought quilting or sewing was something mothers were supposed to do. Realizing that quilts could be much more, she later spent six years creating a special exhibit titled, “Women’s Work.” It extols the significance of 13 influential women of the 20th century.
Seigel said the idea for such a quilt was born in the late 1990s when “I was commissioned to do one for Phyllis George.” George, the former wife of Kentucky Gov. John Y. Brown Jr., has held “a lot of roles in her life,” she said.

Rebekka Seigel

Seigel had been looking for a way to portray a woman’s life through garments. She combined this with her love of paper dolls so that the quilt illustrated George’s life in a unique paper doll format.
Seigel thought that telling a woman’s history “through a garment would be an interesting way to tell about that woman’s life,” she said. “Women’s Work” became a traveling exhibit that has been displayed in Kentucky, Indiana, Tennessee, Virginia, Utah, Wisconsin and Florida. From January to March 2006, “Women’s Work” was the winter exhibit at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library in West Branch, Iowa.
“Women’s Work” will be on display at the Oldham County History Center from March 2 to May 6 in the Rob Morris Chapel Education Building, 207 W. Jefferson St. in La Grange. Visitors must first check in and pay admission (members are free) at the Peyton Samuel Head Family Museum located at 108 N. Second Ave. Admission to “Women’s Work” also enables visitors to tour the museum.
An Opening Reception with refreshments will be held from 5-7 p.m. Friday, March 2. Included will be a gallery talk by Seigel about each woman represented in “Women’s Work.”
Reservations are required and cost is free for members of the Oldham County Historical Society or $8 per person.
As to her choice of which women to include, “They sort of chose me,” she said. For her subjects, Seigel chose “women who were from all different walks of life. They were all groundbreaking in their field.” Women depicted include dancer and choreographer Martha Graham, Kentucky folk singer Jean Ritchie and anthropologist Margaret Mead.

Photo provided

One of Rebekka Seigel’s quilts is shown above. Her quilt exhibit will run from March 2 to May 6.

“Each quilt is a history lesson,” Seigel said. She said she feels it is rewarding to have created this body of art work and that she has “made a statement about women and their contributions.”
“The show was very popular when it was here in 2009,” said Nancy Stearns Theiss, executive director of the Oldham County History Center. “The exhibit is unusual in the way it highlights the contributions of famous women from the 20th Century.”
She said it was a popular exhibit that covers a variety of topics such as environment, government, entertainment and literature. “It is colorful, attractive, and creative. It complements the quilt show currently displayed by the Log Cabin Quilters in the history center museum.”
Every three months a new quilt will be on display in the museum created by members of the Log Cabin Quilters. A Block Quilt, by Claudine Finn, is on display through March.
“Historically quilts tell stories,” said Theiss. “People create them for a variety of reasons – as a blanket of security and love, as a representation of art that may capture a historic moment (like Seigel’s quilts) or in memory of a community (such as church quilts that we have in the museum).”
The Rob Morris Chapel Education Building was recently painted with help from the inmates at Roederer Farm, she said. A hanging system was installed as well, “so we thought it would be great to have the quilts back in the refurbished building. March is also Women’s History Month, and I felt that this exhibit highlights accomplishments of some very interesting and important women in our country. The quilts will be up through May 6 during all of the special Derby events held in April and during Derby Week.”
Seigel’s quilts are far from ordinary bed quilts. They hang in private collections, galleries and are exhibited in many museums across Kentucky and the United States. She was one of 14 visual media artists in Kentucky to have received the 2004 Al Smith Fellowship Award.
Before this, Seigel was chosen to create an award given to recipients of the Kentucky Governor Awards for the Arts in 2000. Her work is included in many books on contemporary quilt making and craft, including one by Phyllis George. Seigel‘s quilts are part of the permanent collection of the Kentucky History Center in Frankfort and the Evansville (Ind.) Museum of Art & Science. In 1986 she created a special quilt of the Statue of Liberty to mark the statue’s 100th birthday, which hangs in the Museum of American Folk Art in New York.
In addition to “Women’s Work,” the Oldham County History Center will be holding a special quilt auction fundraiser to help support the Campus Renovation Campaign from 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, April 18, in the Rob Morris Chapel Education Building. The quilt auction will feature a large variety of donated quilts.

• For more information or to make reservations for the Opening Reception, call (502) 222-0826.

Back to March 2018 Articles.



Copyright 1999-2018, Kentuckiana Publishing, Inc.

Pick-Up Locations Subscribe Staff Advertise Contact Submit A Story Our Advertisers Columnists Archive Area Links Area Events Search our Site Home Monthly Articles Calendar of Events Kentucky Speedway Madison Chautauqua Madison Ribberfest Madison Regatta