Makers and their Inspirations

Sandra Sider head shot web
Sandra Sider, curator of the Texas Quilt Museum, will speak Oct. 3, detailing the "Texas Art Quilts and Modern Masterpieces" exhibit at the ITC.

The Makers and their Inspirations

Quilt museum curator Sandra Sider speaks Oct. 3

Mike Patterson, ITC Communications Volunteer
SAN ANTONIO – When she was seven years old, Sandra Sider’s family moved to the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina where she fell under the artistic spell of her grandmother, "a talented, prolific quilt maker and embroiderer."
This influence, along with instructions from an aunt who "sat me down at the quilting frame and sewing machine," taught Sider the skills that she would perfect over a lifetime. Those early lessons led to her emergence as a nationally recognized fiber artist, curator, teacher and prolific author on the topics of crafts and fiber art.
Today, she is curator of the Texas Quilt Museum in La Grange as well as curator of two traveling exhibits featuring more than 40 contemporary Texas quilts now on display at the Institute of Texan Cultures through Jan. 11.
"Modern Masterpieces by Texas Quilters, 1989-2010" showcases 20 works by Texas quilters and presenting a variety of themes, including gardens, fishing, and heavenly stars. With bold new interpretations of old favorites, the quilters in this exhibition have pushed the boundaries of Texas quilt making.
"Texas Art Quilts, 1993-2011" presents 26 works by Texas artists, embracing abstract and representational modes and celebrating a variety of themes, including science, fantasy, political causes, and natural beauty. Employing color and pattern in painterly fashion, the artists in this exhibition demonstrate that contemporary quilt art in the Lone Star state represent a vital aspect of visual culture.
Sider will appear at the ITC from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Oct. 3 to discuss the process of evaluation and selection of quilts for the exhibit, plus tips and tricks for beginner and long-time quilters alike. She will also "focus on the makers rather than their work" and women’s history in Texas.
"Texas quilts embody the spirit of enterprise and innovation of pioneer women in the Lone Star state," Sider said. Even in today’s networked culture, where "we are beginning to lose regional identity in arts and crafts" there are some unique aspects to quilting in Texas, she said.
"If we look at 20th century traditional quilts, there are some significant differences, such as colorful local names for various patterns. ‘Indian Tipi’ in Texas would be an example. Texas feed-sack quilts serve as another instance of local influence, and there are distinctive applique quilts celebrating Texas history and events, such as the ‘Yellow Rose of Texas’ pattern. In addition, Texas has a very strong tradition of quilt guilds," she said.
Sider’s journey in the world of quilts evolved over the years and included a Ph.D. in comparative literature and Renaissance studies. Even then, she gravitated toward displays of historic textiles and decorative art when visiting European museums. She later returned to college after receiving her doctorate and obtained a master’s degree in art history.
Among her early interest in quilt-making was learning how to put actual photographic images on her quilts. She eventually perfected this skill and today almost all of her own quilts display photographic imagery.
She credits her own professional evolution with her "artistic involvement with the quilt medium and wanting to learn more about what others were doing and had done in the photographic processes in quilts." She also cites as an influence the "historical continuum of quilts with women’s work, triggered for me by the 1970s feminist movement."
The Institute of Texan Cultures is located on the UTSA HemisFair Park Campus, 801 E. Cesar E. Chavez Blvd., a short distance from the Alamo and the River Walk. Regular hours are 9 a.m.- 5 p.m. Monday-Saturday; noon-5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $8 for adults (ages 12-64); $7 for seniors (ages 65+); $6 for children (ages 3-11); free with membership, UTSA or Alamo Colleges identification.
Texas Art Quilts and Modern Masterpieces is funded in part by a grant from the Quilters Guild of Dallas and Helena Hibbs Endowment Fund.
For more information, call 210-458-2300 or visit




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