Yesterday I spent the morning at the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum. There are currently two exhibits that are dramatically different and demonstrate the time and place of the quilters. The other quilts are based on works from the civil war but I am focusing here on Coahagan Island. Look through the pictures for more spectacular works of art.
The quilts of Caohagen Island are now the cultural and economic focal point of the island. Through the exhibit I learned that this tiny island in the Philippines 🇵🇭 with a population of 600 residents has 100 quilters.
The joy in these quilts fills the room and comes through in the stories they tell. Color choices and intricate designs are only part of the story. In 1996, quilting was introduced by a woman named Junko who had traveled to the island from Japan. Beginning with school children, Junko introduced the traditional art of Japanese Quilt making. She then began teaching a group of 10 women who have become the core of the quilting collective. Since that time, men and women have been creating these works of art. In the beginning, lacking the skills and confidence of established quilters, they were known for their imperfections. They turned this into a strength and the world has embraced them.
Unlike the quilts we are familiar with in the United States, these quilts aren’t straight lines and perfect patterns. This may not appeal to a purist, but in my mind, they are superior for their ability to exude island life.
Quilts from this island are available for sale and make up 1/6 of the local revenue. Both the stories of the quilters and the quilts themselves provided a morning of inspiration that I will not soon forget.