A Stitch in Time: The Making of the Legacy Quilt
Organized with The Museum of Food and Drink
WITH VIRTUAL OPTION
Wednesday, June 7th, 2022
7:00PM – 8:30PM
Join Harlem Needle Arts and their team of artists Laura R. Gadson, Sylvia Hernandez, and Ife Felix for a conversation and workshop(s) in quilt. Harlem Needle Arts was commissioned to design and construct The Legacy Quilt, the artistic centerpiece of African/American: Making the Nation’s Table. The Legacy Quilt incorporates the tradition of art quilt making in African American culture to express, celebrate and honor the icons who made a significant impact on the landscape of food in America.
The Legacy Quilt is a handmade quilt composed of 406 blocks, each one representing an African American contribution to American cuisine. Standing at 14 feet tall and nearly 30 feet wide, this awe-inspiring object makes a powerful point: there are countless stories that deserve recognition.
*Beginner-level quilting workshop tickets include free general admission to the museum. Workshops begin at 1 pm and 2:15 pm and are limited to 25 participants each. All materials included. Children between the ages of 5 and 10 may participate, but must be supervised by an adult. This is an in-person event. You must show photo ID and proof of COVID vaccine to attend.
Founded in 2005 by textile enthusiast Michelle Bishop, Harlem Needle Arts (HNA) is an arts and cultural organization revolutionizing, preserving, and expanding the narrative of fiber, textile, design and needle arts in the African Diaspora through exhibitions, education, economic development and other tools. HNA is committed to sharing histories of textile traditions from the African Diaspora in order to foster growth amongst working artists, youth and adults–primarily in Harlem, NYC.
LAURA R. GADSON
I consider myself a cultural griot speaking in a language of textile and mixed media. Working in a Folk Art aesthetic that crosses the lines between fine art and craft my quilts speak to my story much like a writer’s autobiography. Some chapters are steeped with historical or cultural significance while others tell of my personal journey. Blessed with the experience and ability to create with or without digital aid I blend many worlds in my work that is inclusive of repurposing materials and utilizing traditional and modern techniques, ideas, mediums, and machinery.
Quilt, fiber, mixed media and teaching artist Laura R. Gadson lives works and plays in the village of Harlem, NYC. She has been exhibited and published both nationally and abroad and her artistry has been reproduced as public art in the Harlem Community. While continually exploring the limits of needle mediums including quilting, crochet and tatting she enjoys creating fine as well as functional works of art in the gamut of creative mediums.
A self-taught fiber artist, quilting for 20 years ago, Ms. Hernandez’s thought-provoking work has graced the walls of galleries and museums in New York, Ohio, Virginia, South Carolina, California, Florida and Japan. A graduate of The High School of Art and Design, Sylvia received her artist skills that launched her career as a full-time artist. Sylvia is currently the president of two quilt organizations -Brooklyn Quilters Guild and Quilters of Color of NYC and is an artist in residence at Williamsburg Public Library through Spaceworks.
Artist Statement and Bio
As a fiber artist and writer my work reflects my urban surroundings. The rich cultures and traditions, which merge, are at the nucleus of the city’s energy. Living in Harlem, New York my samplings and stimuli are as diverse as the montage of individuals who live here. I use textiles and embellishments from Africa and the Caribbean where I have had the pleasure to visit and live. And like the merging of people in the city I enjoy the freedom to combine fabrics textures, designs, and colors along with embellishments to create my urban narrative. The media used in my art expresses the stories I have yet to pen.
A resident of Harlem, New York, Ife Felix began quilting at the St. Johns Recreation Center in Brooklyn, New York with a group of women devoted to keeping the quilt tradition alive. She learned to sew in a convent where she spent several years as a child. At Fashion Industries High School, she found her passion for sewing and fashion design.
Attending Long Island University, majoring in Political Science, she received a Bachelor of Science degree. Without further fuss she immediately returned to her love of textiles and fashion beginning in the fur industry and later in the garment district on Fashion Avenue. Having been in the world of art quilts since the 90s, her desire to learn about indigenous African textiles led Ife to spend extensive time in Senegal, Guinea, Ghana, Jamaica, and Haiti researching the traditions of cultural textile.
As a founding member of Harlem Girls Quilting Circle, she enjoys the monthly meetings which have been ongoing since June 2000.
Ms. Felix teaching artist portfolio includes Hudson River Museum, Studio Museum of Harlem, Jacobi’s Family Advocacy Program, Caribbean Cultural Center, Food Bank of New York City and Harlem Needle Arts and she served as the Regional Representative of SAQA-Studio Art Quilting Associates.
As Executive Director, Michelle Bishop incorporates her twenty plus year career experiences in the areas of marketing, information technology, business planning, and fundraising to broaden the overall scope of Harlem Needle Arts to represent a more inclusive role in the world of art and design. She serves as curator, technical support specialist for novice, emerging and established artists as well as an instructor in crochet and basic quilting. Under her leadership, Michelle transforms the narrative to respect history, tradition and culture but also represents the contemporary influences which continue to fuel the ever-expanding scope of the fiber constructionists.
Founded in 2005, Harlem Needle Arts is an arts and cultural organization at the forefront of revolutionizing, preserving, and expanding the narrative of fiber, textile, design, and needle arts in the African Diaspora through exhibitions, education, technical support, economic development, and other tools. We focus on the textile mediums of quilting, felting, knitting, crochet, batik, Adire, botanical print, weaving, spinning, embroidery, collage, illustration, beading, and fiber fusion. HNA is committed to sharing the histories of fiber, textile, and design traditions from the African diaspora to foster growth amongst working artists, youth, and adults in the Harlem community.
Harlem Needle Arts presents the work of both emerging and established artists in local and international exhibitions, corporate and museum acquisitions/economic development, and publications, including books, magazines, and online content. Our teaching artists produce innovative work in their fields and contribute to HNA’s community programming by examining and creating vibrant imagery that explores the multi-dimensionality of Black identities and art histories; they connect their works, teaching, and discussions with contemporary social, political, and cultural discourses in the Harlem community and beyond.
Michelle’s academic credentials include a BBA in Management Information Systems from Pace University and a Certificate in Community E-Institute from Cornell University. She resides in Harlem with her daughter.