Thursday, March 13, 2014
I really enjoyed reading this book, in part because of the quilts and quilt stories involved. Hetty's mother was the slave seamstress for the family, making all of the clothes for the family and for the other slaves. She takes scraps of cloth from making these clothes and makes her "story quilt", appliquéing her life's story into a quilt. In the author's notes, Sue explains that "the story quilt was inspired by the magnificent quilts of Harriet Powers, an enslaved woman from Georgia who used African appliqué technique to tell stories about biblical events and historical legends. Her two surviving quilts are archived at the National Museum of American History in Washington D.C. and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston." She further states "I made a pilgrimage to Washington to see Powers' quilt, and after viewing it, it seemed plausible that enslaved women, forbidden to read and write, could have devised subversive ways to voice themselves, to keep their memories alive, and to preserve the heritage of their African traditions." The quilts come up in other ways in the story, being used as a place to hide things from their owners, such as money, papers, stolen fabric etc. Anything they didn't want discovered, they would just sew up into their quilts! I highly recommend this book and hope you enjoy it as much as I did!