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Material & Memories: Elizabeth Talford Scott and the Crazy Quilt Tradition

Material & Memories: Elizabeth Talford Scott and the Crazy Quilt Tradition

As artistic compositions, quilts—most frequently made by women—are imbued with memories. Last year, MCHC acquired Elizabeth Talford Scott’s quilt Abstract #1 (1983) for its permanent collection. Abstract #1 is the first quilt in the collection documented to an African American maker. Talford Scott’s work as the centerpiece of this collaborative exhibition engages the crazy quilt form in dialogue with responsive works by the African American Quilters of Baltimore and the antique quilts in MCHC’s collection.

Crafted from the scraps of family members’ clothing and decorative household fabrics, these quilts are deeply personal “landscapes of memory.” Each irregular size and shape in a quilt connects to an event, a story, and a person. Of Abstract #1, Elizabeth Talford Scott said, “This is a family quilt, all something from the family. Everything that I didn’t want to throw out I saved a piece of it.” The quilts and their memories are further embellished with topstitching, ribbons, buttons, and stones as touchpoints, lending a meditative quality where both the maker and the viewer are drawn in, losing themselves within each quilt.

Twenty-five years ago, MCHC partnered with the Maryland Institute College of Art’s Exhibition Development Seminar to present Eyewinkers, Tumbleturds, and Candlebugs: The Art of Elizabeth Talford Scott, a retrospective of her work. Material and Memories reconnects MCHC as a community partner with the Baltimore Museum of Art’s anniversary show, presenting Talford Scott’s work at locations throughout Baltimore City.

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Event Details

Thursday, February 1, 2024, 10:00 AM – Tuesday, December 31, 2024, 5:00 PM


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