White Work Quilts

As a child, I assumed (without knowing I was making an assumption) that John Ritter had grown up in my home town. His father, Tex Ritter, was from there and we had a statue of him to prove it. I later realized that John Ritter had been born in Los Angeles. His father had of course left my town on his way to becoming a famous Country/Western singer. Yet, I still feel a bond with both of them based on my youthful ignorance of basic geography. To compound that error, another town in East Texas also claims Tex Ritter,and in a sense, they're right. He's buried there. Recently, I made the long drive from my hometown to his grave. Being there confirmed my sense of connection to the Ritter men despite (or perhaps because of) the questionable facts on which that initial feeling was built. I came back to Brooklyn determined to stitch all those places and all our lives together permanetly.

The white quilts I have made about this connection are based on white quilts from the early 1800's. An American fascination with classical sculpture inspired the production of those quilts even though, much like my work, the inspiration was rooted in a misunderstanding. Greek and Roman statuary was not originally white and John Ritter was not originally from Beckville, Texas. The women who produced those quilts sought validation through a myth and in turn elevated their work from a bedroom to a museum. 200 years later I am conducting my own search through those women and moving my myth from Beckville to Brooklyn one stitch at a time.

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