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Newsletter

Quality Quilting Of The Appropriate Kind

Carolyn Warfield, Great Lakes African American Quilters Network

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Justine Burnell
Three regional quilters with a preference for sumptuous African fabrics make aesthetic judgments which feed the spirit and transform the mind and heart for prosperity and survival.

Justine Burnell, a master quilt innovator and founder of the Great Lakes African American Quilters Network conceived "The Heavens Are Telling the Glory of God," to illustrate the God of I AM as the Sun, a star that sustains life on earth and is the basis of the solar system.

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Rachel Clark

California folk artist Rachel Clark is a woman of enormous integrity, giving vision to retelling social history through folk textile traditions. In September, 2005, Clark visited Michigan as workshop facilitator and lecturer for the 16th annual exhibition and agenda of the Flint African American Quilt Guild as part of the Greater Flint Arts Council "Quilts at the Crossroads." Recognized on the national quilting circuit for daring experimentation, Rachel demonstrates a self expression which unifies forms of dressmaking and tailoring with the imaginative character of quilting. Her garments pulsate with life and energy, celebrate the human spirit and venerate the wearer. "I sew on of-a-kind cultural statements that reflect global consciousness," she remarked. "Textile designs with aesthetic retentions of Africa, Asia, Europe and America." "Stars and Huts," a remarkably beautiful coat of visual motion is Clark's interpretation of dive presence and human aspiration.

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Gloria Kellon
An enthusiast of Rachel Clark, Gloria Kellon of Sankofa Designs enjoys quilting performance apparel for literary personalities as a member of the Cleveland affiliate of the National Association of Black Storytellers (NABS). Wordsmith and oral traditionalist, Gloria captivates children and adults with her blend of wit and confidence by weaving tales of African and American tradition. In her classroom before retirement, Kellon weaved cultural threads into the minds of young children with a floor loom as a way to inspire creative imagination. In African vernacular, griots (storytellers) are the carriers of "history remembered" and are held to the memory of their communities through vast repertoires of expressively detailed chronicles. "I never liked fairy tales but wanted my students to learn how people in the past and present handled joy and struggle," she says. "Cultural stories are wonderful to teach self respect to overcome challenges." Gloria has designed fourteen coats of honor and has many commissions. Baba Jamal Koram, an international storyteller of commanding stature and considerable influence is quite regal in Kellon's strip construction coat. He and Gloria mutually agree that "storytelling works on the heart and allows transcendence of the human spirit." Gloria is also in the Great Lakes African American Quilters Network and teaches quilting classes for the guild.

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