Stitches in time

Updated: 2013-04-07 14:24

By Mike Peters (China Daily)

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Stitches in time

Finished quilts that Ginn uses to show her different stitching techniques include Twisted Tree. Provided to China Daily

A veteran quilter comes to Dalian and Beijing to share her art, Mike Peters reports.

Her art form has long been celebrated as a distinctly American, but Mississippi quilter Martha Ginn found an eager audience for her craft when she arrived in China late last month. There was a crowd to greet her at the Dalian Modern Museum, where her work is featured in a traveling quilt show sponsored by the US embassy. A week later she was presenting a workshop at Slow Life Patchwork, where about 20 quilters were seated at sewing machines, ready to go.

Quilts may not be a tradition here, she says over a cup of coffee after the workshop, but the craft is not alien. Quilting techniques have often been used in making clothing - especially formal dress, she notes, and that goes back to imperial times.

"Quilts were on every bed in our home and I naively assumed everyone had them," she says with a chuckle. "Both of my grandmothers quilted and sewed and crocheted," she says. "I enjoyed embroidery as a child, but I didn't try to make a quilt until about 30 years ago."

Ginn and her daughter Linda, a librarian who traveled to China with her mother, had been working from a cross-stitch book making quilt blocks. "I knew I had found my passion," she writes on her website. The blocks she and Linda had made "were so beautiful that they deserved a 'real quilter' to assemble and quilt them".

Since that first quilt came together in 1984, Ginn has been a "real quilter indeed", exhibiting her work in innumerable shows and featured as recently as January in American Quilter magazine.


Stitches in time

Stitches in time

 Stitches from time Stitches of reality 

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