Home Quilting Storytelling By means of Quilts with Valerie White

Storytelling By means of Quilts with Valerie White


I had the pleasure of assembly artist and educator Valerie C. White In July 2022 when she got here to the Golden Peak Media studios to look in a number of episodes of Quilting Arts TV. As gifted with a paintbrush as she is with material, Valerie charmed us all along with her curiosity and curiosity in storytelling by means of quilts, types of fiber, and nice arts.

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One quilt that she introduced stopped us in our tracks when she revealed it — it was the quilt she known as Hallelujah Juliette Miles Crossed Over. The colours had been fascinating, the machine quilting expertly finished — and the look on Juliette’s face… it was arduous to explain. Was it reduction? Pleasure expressed with shyness? Or, maybe, a fancy mixture of feelings.

As we talked with Valerie concerning the quilt, she revealed Juliette and her household’s difficult lifetime of slavery in nineteenth century Kentucky. Clearly, storytelling by means of quilts is considered one of her strengths. So we requested Valerie to write down down her story — it seems beneath and was additionally featured in Quilting Arts Journal, Winter 2023 version.

Introduction by Kristine Lundblad

Storytelling By means of Quilts with Valerie White

That is the story of Juliette Miles and the quilt I made in her honor.

When the material for this quilt was hand-dyed, I had no thought it might grow to be the catalyst for bringing individuals collectively in a approach that will perpetually change them and me. Quilts are distinctive in that approach. Creating this work was completely different from the very starting. I needed to be taught to dye material nearly on the identical time I embraced artwork quilting. Initially, I had extra disasters than successes.

Nevertheless, I did create one piece of dye-painted material that was distinctive. As soon as dyed, the white material turned a kaleidoscope of shade; as quickly as the fabric was rinsed, it sparkled. I made a decision to save lots of the fabric for one thing deserving of its superb magnificence. I saved it in my stash for nearly two years. Throughout the interim interval, I answered a name for entries for an exhibit titled “On the River’s Edge.” Being curious, I typed the title into the pc.

storytelling through quilts

What occurred subsequent was greater than serendipitous — it was divine intervention. This was the second I first discovered of Juliette Miles. The sentence within the pc learn, “Juliette Miles was captured On the River’s Edge.” WOW, what had I stumbled upon? Who was Juliette Miles? I needed to know who she was, and the extra I found, the extra intrigued I turned.

Within the meantime, I had nearly forgotten concerning the piece of cloth created two years prior. Think about my pleasure upon discovering it once more. Putting the fabric on my design wall, I instantly visualized the river and the early morning sky — good floor for Juliette to relaxation upon.

On the Fringe of Discovery

The story of Juliette Miles is a hardly ever documented account of an African American girl’s efforts to free her kids from the oppression and perils of slavery. In 1851, John Gregg Price bought Juliette from his father, desiring to launch her from bondage instantly. (The spelling of her identify relies upon analysis from his autobiography.)

Some data maintains that Juliette took care of John Price as an toddler. Different analysis revealed she was his mom’s seamstress. Upon her liberation, Juliette was instantly ordered off the farm. At John Price’s Jr. mom’s agency request, Juliette was given a house on that farm along with her kids and soon-to-be-free husband. I’m certain it was primarily resulting from her nice seamstress abilities. Juliette and her husband remained on the farm in slavery quite than go away their kids.

“Hallelujah Juliette Miles Crossed Over” (element) • 32″ x 50″ • Valerie C. White

Lastly, in 1851 Juliette was emancipated and left the farm; in 1858, Juliette returned to assemble her two sons, three daughters, and 4 grandchildren to flee to Felicity, Ohio. Within the early morning of Monday, October 18, 1858, they had been found on the banks of the Ohio River at Rock Springs in Bracken County, Kentucky. Juliette had organized for assist to cross the damaging Ohio River; within the early morning gentle, the “associates” from the opposite aspect of the river had been gone.

She was captured by slave merchants and remanded to jail, charged with engaging enslaved individuals. Her kids had been offered to slave merchants in New Orleans. She was later transferred from the Bracken County Jail to the Kentucky State jail. Then she spent two years in Frankfort, Kentucky, on the State Penitentiary. Juliette died in 1860.

What occurred subsequent is probably essentially the most thrilling a part of my Juliette Miles story.

The Legacy Seems

Whereas attending a quilt present in Williamsburg, Virginia, I shared a seat at a lunch desk with an amiable woman. We chatted comfortably and earlier than I knew it, I shared the story of my discovery of Juliette Miles. This girl appeared riveted by the story. The extra I talked, the extra her face revealed one thing else. Her eyes had been filling with tears and her face flushed. Then she mentioned, “I attend the Church Of Christ that John Gregg Price based in 1853; he was an abolitionist, minister, and educator, and the founding father of the city of Berea, Kentucky. I’ve heard bits and items of the story of Juliette Miles.”

What are the probabilities of this occurring?

storytelling through quilts
Click on right here to comply with Valerie on Instagram (@valeriewhite483).

We made plans to speak following a gathering she would have with the present minister — to counsel that I go to the church and convey Juliette again to exhibit in Berea. Lastly, I made the journey to Berea, Kentucky. The Sunday service was distinctive. When the phrases, “Welcome Dwelling Juliette,” had been spoken, there was not a dry eye within the viewers. I used to be overcome with feelings. Juliette exhibited within the sanctuary of the church for a 12 months. By no means to be offered once more, she resides on a wall in my house.

Hand-painted and dyed material. Textile paint, oil-based paint sticks, and tulle had been used for the primary physique of the quilt. The picture was fused onto felt after which stitched onto the background. The drawing was created utilizing coloured pencils and textile paint. Genuine African materials imported from Ghana had been used to make her head wrap and gown.


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