The Sum of Many Parts


Sum of Many Parts - banner

As one of our distinctive traditional art forms, quiltmaking is a cultural touchstone for many communities in the United States. Consequently, quilts represent our diversity in a unique way. The Sum of Many Parts is a quilt exhibit that was developed to tour China, and expose the Chinese audience to a side of American society they may not have experienced before. Created in conjunction with Arts Midwest, the US Embassy in Beijing, and the Great Lakes Quilt Center at the Michigan State University Museum, the exhibit opened at the Shanghai Museum of Textile and Costume at Donghua University in September 2012 and toured China through 2013.

Beth Donaldson, The Red One, My Charm Quilt,1999

Beth Donaldson, The Red One, My Charm Quilt,1999


Jereann King Johnson Flash of Spirit: African Design #2, 2006-10

Jereann King Johnson Flash of Spirit: African Design #2, 2006-10

The Sum of Many Parts: 25 Quiltmakers in 21st-Century America represents a broad range of artists, all of whom are currently producing work. Some of the artists began quilting and sewing as children and teenagers, while others did not pursue the art form until adulthood. Many learned the craft at home, creating practical blankets for their families. Others are academically trained artists who chose textiles as their primary medium. As a result, each quilt in the exhibit is as unique as its maker. They tell individual stories, have different artistic styles, serve distinct artistic purposes, and employ personalized techniques within the realm of fiber arts. Yet, the 25 artworks and artists featured in The Sum of Many Partsare united by two key factors. All of the artists respect the traditions of quiltmaking, and their pieces illustrate a passion for artistic expression through textiles.

Artists Included:
Alicia Avila Louisiana Bendolph Betty J. Collins
Marguerite Cox Patricia Cox Beth Donaldson
Caryl Bryer Fallert Eldeen Geist Martha Ginn
Carole Harris Gwen Procter Johnson Jereann King Johnson
Bettye Kimbrell Bonnie LeBeaux Carolyn Mazloomi
Eleanor A. McCain Tammy McGrew Dottie Moore
Patricia Lei Murray Edna J. Patterson-Petty Linda M. Roy
Patricia Stuen Cecelia Tapplette-Pedescleaux Caroline Trumpold
Erick Wolfmeyer    

A selection of quilts from this exhibition are included in The Sum of Many Parts traveling exhibition (managed by ExhibitsUSA), which is available to museums and cultural centers throughout the United States.