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Quilting life experience with Her Art

On Saturday, March 5, the Women’s Center hosted a quilting workshop with local artist Nedra Bonds as a part of the Her Art Project series, which runs through May.

Participants were able to make quilting blocks representing a women’s issue.

There will be another quilting workshop with Nedra Bonds on April 9 in the University Center. The finished quilt will be displayed in the Women’s Center next fall.

As an artist and teacher, Bonds has a great deal of experience teaching others how to use quilting to express their creativity.

“I’ve done other quilting workshops in Turkey, Tanzania and all over the country,” Bonds said. “My favorite part is watching the reaction of the participants. People who don’t know each other, have never met, work together, teach each other, learn from each other. That’s what’s so great about this for me.”

The workshop was open to people’s different ways of creativity.

All supplies are provided for people to use and explore. Bonds acts as a guide to help you find ways to show your thoughts with the tools.

“You don’t sew, I got glue. You don’t draw, I got scissors, whatever way that you want to do this, I can accommodate you,” Bonds said. “Some people have to sketch it out first before they do it. I’m one that does it first and then I write what I do. You know, that’s how the brain works.”

Bonds began quilting at a young age. She was taught by her grandmother.

She returned to quilting later in life as a means to express life’s experiences.

“My grandma said that idle hands were the devil’s workshop, when I was 6, so she taught me how to do traditional quilting, which I hated. Then I started doing this as an adult,” Bonds said.

Many students were inspired to attend the event by Dr. Pearlie Johnson, Professor of Black Studies. Johnson specializes in the field of quilting art and its cultural significance.

“Much of my research centers on quilts, contemporary and traditional,” Johnson said. “I recently curated an exhibit for the New England Quilting Museum in Lowell, Mass. and I’m getting ready to work on a project for 2012, a talk at the International Quilt Museum in Nebraska.”

Students who attended brought many perspectives to the quilt.

Many students wanted to celebrate their mothers with their quilting pieces.

“The story behind my quilt is my mom. She was just diagnosed with cancer, so I wanted to show how much inspiration she’s been and how strong she’s been throughout the whole thing,” student Lia Washington said. “So it’s just an ode to my mother.”

Sophomore Machon Draper also had her mother in mind.

“Every piece of fabric represents a trait of my mother,” Draper said. “I have a piece of fabric with musical notes, my mother loves to sing and she has a beautiful voice. I have a piece of quilt that has different words on it like support, love, strength, which signifies some qualities of my mother. I have a piece of fabric with Princess Tatiana, which, I think my mother’s a queen, but you know. I have a pice of quilt which has the Superman symbol, and she’s superwoman to me, so it all represents her and her traits.”

This was not a woman-only event. Several men attended. One male student made a quilt representing important aspects of his heritage.

“My quilt shows, Ibeji, Mother of twins in Yoruba. I am a twin, so it’s a celebration of the Yoruba culture and how it celebrates Twins and the mothers of twins as well,” freshman Babajide Ajisafe said.

The opportunity to work with Bonds on a quilt also brought many non-students and alumni who respect her work. Some had never quilted before.

“The favorite part of my experience is realizing that everyone has talent and all they have to do is reach down within themselves and pull it out,” said Alumna and professor of African American Studies at Penn Valley Community College Geri Sanders.

To learn more about the “Her Art” project series, please go to www.umkc.edu/womenc/.

gmoore@unews.com

 

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