The Improvisational Quilts of Susana Allen Hunter

Yesterday Dean and I had a wonderful day roaming around the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. It’s been quite awhile since I’ve been there, and much has been done to the museum during my absence. Our visit was planned so that we could attend the quilt show featuring the quilts of Susana Allen Hunter. The link takes you to the Henry Ford web page with her information.

Susana was an African American woman who quilted out of necessity for her family. The exhibit is only there through April 27th, so if you’d like to attend, you best hurry! Dating from the 1930s to the 1970s, her quilts provide daily-life context to the experience of African Americans living in the Jim Crow South. Don’t expect to see fancy applique and tiny, wonderous quilting motifs. However, the exhibit is an excellent display of real-life America for many people. Taking what they had, using worn clothes and blankets, women often crafted quilts to warm their families. If you visit, take take the time to read the displays. The information and quotes from Susana’s family are precious. What a great lady she was!

Here are just a few of the photos from the show:


That’s me in the middle admiring the back of her quilt. Looking at the display of her sewing materials (see above) was a humbling experience. Modern-day quilters tend to search for the newest sewing gadgets to make our work better. It’s amazing what needle, thread, and one simple pair of scissors will do! Thank you for your work, Susana.


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