Stitches in time

Updated: 2013-04-07 14:24

By Mike Peters (China Daily)

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Stitches in time

Finished quilts that Ginn uses to show her different stitching techniques include Butterfly Crossing. Provided to China Daily

"I didn't come from an art background," she says. "I started with the very traditional, from patterns in a book, but I soon got a little frustrated.

"I wanted to express myself with my own designs as a fiber artist - not finish someone else's," she recalls, likening her initial experience to "paint-by-number" kits that were popular in the US in the 1960s.

Stitches in time

Martha Ginn, quilt artist.

"My first foray in expressing myself was completing a Baltimore Album, a milestone for every quilter. This is an 1850's style quilt, something like a picture album, in which each block has a special meaning. It's a story of a life."

There were patterns available to fill in certain kinds of events (such as babies, hearts), but Ginn soon found herself making several of her own blocks from scratch.

"We have some good Chinese friends at home," she says, "and so I included the double-happiness symbol to commemorate that special friendship. And since I was working on this in 1992, the 500th anniversary of the landing of Christopher Columbus in America. I wanted to include a block for that, too. So I drew my own ship," she says with a chuckle. "And then I drew my church, to make a block commemorating my faith, and wrote a bit of scripture I like to sew into the design."

Then came family. Her dad was a Texas highway patrol officer, so she created a block that incorporated the button design from his uniform.

"Making a Baltimore Album quilt is a sort of paying-your-dues step," she says. "Once I'd mustered the skills to create a Baltimore Album, I knew I could do anything else." She started that quilt in 1990 and finished it five years later; it has hung at major quilt shows around the US.

Stitches in time

Stitches in time

 Stitches from time Stitches of reality 


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