“The Cultural Crossroads Quilters is about far more than
something to keep you warm. It’s about stitching together
— Roland Freeman, author of A Communion of the Spirits:
African-American Quilters, Preservers, and Their Stories.
Craft in the Classroom
Engage students in a conversation about times when they have worked
with others to create something beautiful.
Have students learn more about
Mississippi Cultural Crossroads
Also, listen to Gustina Atlas tell
about her process of making a quilt
pattern at www.craftinamerica.org/
fiber/ story_ 58.ph p. What part does
she enjoy? How does she arrange her
Have students research many
kinds of quilts, such as Amish,
Hawaiian, and crazy quilts to learn
how quilts are made and how patterns, colors, and uses vary. Collect
and display images of quilts they
find. How do they compare to quilts
made by the Crossroads Quilters?
Have students make a small string
quilt with fabric scraps. Stitch 2– 3"
wide strips to each other and also to
a “foundation” block—a rectangular piece of muslin. Join rectangles
to form the quilt top. In the spirit
of improvisation, remind students
to focus on how each colored strip
looks next to others. A local quilter
might be willing to help students in
stitching the top, batting, and bottom together.
Geraldine Nash, Geraldine’s String, 1999,
Rachel Gehlhar photograph, Courtesy of
Mississippi Cultural Crossroads.
Craft in America is a monthly feature in
SchoolArts magazine. Article and educator guides by Marilyn Stewart, professor of
art education, Kutztown University, Kutztown, PA; Kathleen Walck, art educator,
Kutztown, PA, for Craft in America, Inc.
Craft in America: The Series
Craft in America’s nationally
broadcast PBS documentary series
seeks to celebrate craft by honoring the artists who create it. In
three episodes entitled “
Memory,” “Landscape,” and “
Community,” Craft in America television
viewers travel throughout the
United States visiting America’s
premier craft artists in their studios to witness the creation of
handmade objects, and into the
homes, businesses, and public
spaces where functional art is
employed and celebrated. The primary objective of the series is to
convey to a national audience the
breadth and beauty of handmade
objects in our culture.
Master quilter and mentor Hystercine Rankin (middle) and quilter Gustina Atlas work
on a quilt at Mississippi Cultural Crossroads while another member quilts in the background. Hystercine’s prizewinning quilt, Memories of Hystercine, hangs behind her.
Three Educator Guides accom-
pany Craft in America. Each
and Community—relates to and
reflects the core ideas, artists, and
art forms presented in the corre-
sponding series episode. Educator
Guides are available at www.pbs.
Ordering the DVD and Companion Book
To order the Craft in America DVD for long-term
viewing and in-classroom use, or to order the
companion book Craft in America: Celebrating Two
Centuries of Artists and Objects contact PBS Video at
1-800-752-9727, or www.shoppbs.com/teachers.