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"Hands" Quilt

Sarah Mary Taylor, American, 1916 - 2000

Made in Yazoo City, Mississippi, United States, North and Central America

Winter 1980

Pieced and appliquéd cotton and synthetic solid and printed plain weave, twill, flannel, knit, dotted swiss, and damask

83 1/4 x 78 inches (211.5 x 198.1 cm)

Research inconclusive. Copyright may apply.

Curatorial Department:
Costume and Textiles

* Prints, Drawings, and Photographs Special Exhibition Gallery, ground floor (Honickman and Berman Galleries)

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
The Ella King Torrey Collection of African American Quilts, 2006

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Inspired by the success of her aunt Pecolia Warner, whose quilts were exhibited in a 1977 Smithsonian traveling exhibition on southern folk arts, Sarah Mary Taylor of Yazoo City, Mississippi, began making appliqué quilts in 1979. Taylor employed a bold color palette and organized her designs to highlight the interaction of one color with another. She created her appliqué quilts block by block, often sewing the blocks to strips of pieced fabric. For this quilt she traced her left hand on a sheet of brown paper, which she then used as a pattern, cutting the shapes from old dresses. Taylor later produced other versions of this quilt, one of which was commissioned for the 1985 film The Color Purple.

* Works in the collection are moved off view for many different reasons. Although gallery locations on the website are updated regularly, there is no guarantee that this object will be on display on the day of your visit.

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