Quilts in Women's Lives

Traditional quilt makers share their art and their lives
Year Released
Film Length(s)
28 mins
Remote video URL


A series of first person portraits of seven quilt makers, including a Mennonite, a Bulgarian immigrant, an African American, and two mid Western sisters. They provide insights into the inspiration for their work and reveal their passion and love for an art form that reflects their values and philosophy of life.

Featured review

A brilliantly done series of studies...a fine memorable work of economy, beauty, humor and compassion.
Sheila Benson
Los Angeles Times


Quilts is a ground breaking film used by folklorists, anthropologists and historians of art and women's history that presents the lives, art, work and philosophy of seven ordinary women. This deceptively simple film won most of the major awards for independent films during the years after its release in 1981 ( including Emily Grand Prize from the , American Library Association American Film Festival; 1st Place Fine Arts, San Francisco International Film Festival; Best of Festival, National Educational Film and Video Festival, New York International Film Festival, Margaret Mead Film Festival.)

"Of the seven women seen during the course of Quilts in Women's Lives, some are indeed painters using scraps of material for their medium, and they take traditional painterly attitudes toward their work. But over and above painting, quiltmaking develops into a metaphor of life itself. Quilts in Women's Lives is visual anthropology. It examines by implication quiltmaking as a system of communication, record-keeping and structuring principle. The film, like the quilts, embodies the reassuring care, the forgiving attention to detail and the fascination of detail and emerging pattern that animates the best of life itself."
--- Charles Shere for the Oakland Tribune.


Quilts in Women's Lives, is a deceptively quiet half-hour leaving you fascinated and uplifted -- just as you respond to a magnificent quilt.
Charles Shere
Oakland Tribune

Awards and Screenings

Emily Grand Prize, The Best of Festival at the American Film Festival sponsored by the American Library Association
1st Place Fine Arts, San Francisco International Film Festival
Best of Festival, National Educational Film & Video Festival
New York International Film Festival

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