Quilting was said to have dated back somewhere between the first century B.C. and the second century A.D. The practice originated out of purpose, creative release and communication. Quilting had part in creating the industry of fabric and the production and desire for new colors, patterns and designs.
Looking back to the beginning of fabric, history explains that quilting began with rags and left over food bags being sewed together for warmth and comfort, but quilts are more than just warm blankets.
The Hmong people indigenous of China, Laos, Thailand, Myanmar, and Vietnam did not have a language until 50 short years ago. It was their rich traditions, knowledge of constant immigration and culture that survived because of the stories they incorporated into their quilts and authentic long coats.
Halfway across the world in Chile, Peru political unrest creating violence and censorship left the country dangerous and women without rights by means of communication and freedom. Quilts became the voice of women and Peru’s hope for change as the quilts were smuggled out of the country to compel other countries to help. These quilts show gruesome stories of protests, lost relatives and violence.
In Africa, weaving reed strips began the process that soon turned into quilting. But the African people used their quilts for means of recognition during hunting parties or to ware off other tribes from their territory. These quilts had large shapes and bright patterns making them easy to spot and clear to understand. They put breaks in their patterns to ward off evil spirits that were known to travel in straight lines and diamond shapes to mimic the cycle of life; birth, life, death, and rebirth. Fast-forward hundreds of years to the time of slavery, quilts again made an appearance by communicating messages of safe refuge houses, and showed escape routes to the hopeful members of the Underground Railroad.
Today in America we see quilting as a traditional hobby and communal activity. But let us not forget the world altering accomplishments that quilting has been apart of throughout time.