Since each of us was several, there was quite a crowd. Here we have made use of everything that came within range, what was closest as well as fartherest away. (Deleuze & Guattari, in the introduction to A Thousand Plateaus, 3)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Is the past a foreign country?

So this is where it starts. An exhibition of quilts from India, Pakistan & Bangladesh, South Asian Seams at the International Quilt Center & Museum. I was in Lincoln, Nebraska for the Textile Society of America conference where I first presented research on quilts and this blog. I had walked through the first room past quilts from Bangladesh, West Bengal, Bihar, Maharasahtra, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Gujarat--then round a corner into the second room, and here it was a charpoy (bed/day bed) covered with a quilt from Southern Sindh in Pakistan. The applique technique is a hallmark of the work of the Muslim Charhan quilters, which often includes mirrors and sequins. This quilt was made sometime between 1950 and 1980.
Yet that's the technical part, my response to coming across the charpoy extends even wider and deeper than my interest in quilts...all of a sudden