Sunday, December 6, 2020

63 Suffragist of Color


63 Suffragist of Color by Patricia C. Coleman

I’m sure that you have heard it said by others for any number of reasons that a project took them places never imagined.

It was doing a random web search on quilting I came across the Bloomington Quilters Guild’s posting about a suffrage quilt exhibit call. My interest was sparked and immediately began considering ideas which led to a bit of reflecting back to my youth visiting the Frederick Douglass museum with my identical twin brothers as a safe place for us to explore. I knew immediately that I wanted to create something that would bring greater awareness of suffragist of color. I wanted to feature Indiana people.

When I say the exhibit call, I was just at the beginning design stage for two lap sized quilts. I really wondered if I had time to add on another quilt project. I decided to make a quilt but it couldn’t get in the way of me compleating the two in process. As I worked on the animal and dinosaur quilts I dove in to researching suffragist.. I spent many hours each day seeking suffragist. As the lap quilts progressed, I began focusing on a decision to use a fabric tessellation pleating as my foundation surface for images. Why? I love fabric tessellations and may put some sort of pleat into future quilts.. As the animal quilt and dinosaur quilt came to completion, it was necessary for me to decide which surface or face of the pleated tesselation I would applque upon. Every tessellation has two distinct surface designs. I pleated a few samples while determining my approach to pleating my fabric.  I finally decided on this pleating.  I plan to auction off a few of the samples made during my process of choosing.  Look for any auction posted to my Instagram.

This being the anniversary year of women gaining the right to vote, I found an abundance of web resources ranging from historical blogs to state blogs offering information on suffragist, including the fact that women of color did not receive the right to vote at the time the amendment passed.

Searching for suffragists of color, I began in Indiana where I learned quickly that this would be challenging because Indiana passed prohibitive legislation regarding african/black persons prohibiting them from moving into Indiana and requiring substantial sums of money from those blacks choosing to remain.

For many hours over many months, I searched out images for suffragist of color; Black, Native American, Asian, Hispanic. Through all of this research, I imagined that I would have 54 Women Suffragists of Color selected for my quilt, in the end I celebrate 63 of the many women who have worked for voter rights.

I missed the deadline for the quilt call. I decided to complete the quilt. Im very pleased to say that the Grunwald Gallery of IU’s Eskanazi Museum has invited the quilt to feature in an exhibit from February 9th to March 12th, 2021.


I am considering an ebook.  Time will see what happens.

May we take care of ourselves and one another during this great transformative time.  May all voices for peace, justice, love and equality be heard, appreciated and respected.  We are all here together and I believe that together we can stand strong as a human species.  


Much love to all, may we hold love and light before us,


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