International Quilt Museum
1523 N. 33rd St. , Lincoln, NE 68503 - United States
The International Quilt Museum is located on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s East Campus at 33rd and Holdrege streets. The center houses the world’s largest publicly held quilt collection spanning five centuries and more than 50 countries.
Old World Quilts
Old World Quilts transports us to the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, an age of burgeoning global commerce and cultural exchange. Here you will view some of the earliest textiles from the International Quilt Museum’s collection. In this era, Europe’s desire for goods from unfamiliar, “exotic” Asian cultures led to unprecedented growth in overseas trade, which also fueled a boom in domestic manufacturing and fed a growing consumer mentality. The introduction of novel production techniques and materials, as well as the development of hybrid designs and aesthetic approaches, resulted in textile designs that are still relevant in our lives today.
The Story Quilts of Rumi O'Brien
Artist Rumi O’Brien’s quilts are intimate narratives of her life. Whether set in her everyday world of Madison, Wisconsin or in an imaginary landscape, the quilts are always deeply personal. O’Brien grew up in Tokyo, Japan, the daughter of seminal manga (comic book) artist Katsuji Matsumoto. Later, she moved to the United States to train as a watercolorist. For the past 50 years she has lived in Madison, where, several decades ago, she also began making quilts.
O’Brien’s quilts defy categorization or pigeon-holing. They reflect her cross-cultural background, sometimes displaying America’s block-style quilt format and sometimes using Japan’s episodic narrative structure—telling a story with a series of short, visual snippets. Each figure—often a stand-in for O’Brien herself—seems to beckon us to join in a commonplace or fantastical adventure: hunting for wild mushrooms or escaping from gargantuan fishes, floating in canoes or dancing on mountains of strawberry gelatin. She shares with us her world—real and imagined, observed and felt.
Diana Harrison: Traces in Cloth
Diana Harrison’s quilts and textile hangings reflect a contrast of strength and quiet, of precision and happenstance, of wear and long-lasting presence. The forms are strong and deliberate, yet the overall effect is contemplative and thoughtful. In some pieces, the quilting stitches are linear and remarkably even, thus contrasting dramatically with the rough, hardened surfaces. The shapes are purposefully imperfect, with deliberately unfinished edges, loosely hanging threads, and hazily blurred markings. In others, Harrison begins with a familiar object and transforms it—through folding, dyeing, and printing—into a new piece that leaves only an echo of its original form.
Harrison’s work is commemorative, evoking the day-to-day context of life. She finds value in the ordinary, seeing each item with its own physical and emotional story. Her work invites further conversation and contemplation about the traces that remain.
In one Japanese dialect, champloo is a culinary term meaning “mixed up” or “blended together,” but colloquially, it refers to improvising or making things up as you go along. This is what the two heroes of the popular Japanese animated television series Samurai Champloo must do to reconcile their substantial differences as they battle corruption and defend the innocent. When artist and professor Byron Anway discovered that Samurai Champloo was a shared interest and cultural touchstone between himself and his students, he was inspired to consider art-making in a new way. To Anway, champloo was an apt metaphor for an idea he had been incubating: How can artists mix up their own work by exploring other mediums?
For Studio Champloo, Anway asked regional artists to engage specifically with quiltmaking themes and values to challenge and expand their own studio practices. As Anway describes in each exhibit label, some do this in formal ways by referencing and incorporating quilt-related techniques and materials. Others address the conceptual issues surrounding quilts, including domesticity, tradition, and gender. The nine artists—ambitious, vibrant, contemporary, and socially engaged—all have Nebraska connections. Studio Champloo presents their blended, boundary-pushing work and hints at possibilities for further mixing of mediums in the future.
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