Quilts and Health

Indiana University Press
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Name an illness, medical condition, or disease and you will find quiltmaking associated with it. From Alzheimer’s to Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Lou Gehrig's Disease to Crigler-Najjar Syndrome, and for nearly every form of cancer, millions of quilts have been made in support of personal well-being, health education, patient advocacy, memorialization of victims, and fundraising. In Quilts and Health, Marsha MacDowell, Clare Luz, and Beth Donaldson explore the long historical connection between textiles and health and its continued and ever growing importance in contemporary society. This lavishly illustrated book brings together over one hundred health-related quilts—with imagery from abstract patterns to depictions of fibromyalgia to an ovarian cancer diary—and the stories behind the art, as told by makers, recipients, healthcare professionals, and many others. This incredible book speaks to the healing power of quilts and quiltmaking and to the deep connections between art and health.
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About the author

Marsha MacDowell is Professor of Art, Art History, and Design at Michigan State University, Curator of Folk Arts at the Michigan State University Museum, and Director of the Quilt Index (www.quiltindex.org). She has authored many publications on traditional material culture and quiltmaking, including Quilts and Human Rights and Ubuntutu.

Clare Luz is Assistant Professor in the Department of Family Medicine at Michigan State University. She is a gerontologist whose research focuses on quality of life for vulnerable older adults, long-term care health services, and the intersection of health, creativity, and the arts.

Beth Donaldson is Digital Humanities Project Asset Coordinator at the Michigan State University Museum and Coordinator of the Quilt Index. She is a quilt maker and coauthor of Quilts and Human Rights, among other publications on quilts.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Indiana University Press
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Published on
Dec 22, 2017
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Pages
304
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ISBN
9780253032270
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Language
English
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Genres
Art / American / General
Art / Subjects & Themes / General
Crafts & Hobbies / Quilts & Quilting
Health & Fitness / Healing
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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A NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW NOTABLE BOOK OF THE YEAR
A FINALIST FOR THE LOS ANGELES TIMES BOOK PRIZE IN BIOGRAPHY AND SHORTLISTED FOR THE PEN/JACQUELINE BOGRAD WELD AWARD FOR BIOGRAPHY

"Welcome to Rockwell Land," writes Deborah Solomon in the introduction to this spirited and authoritative biography of the painter who provided twentieth-century America with a defining image of itself. As the star illustrator of The Saturday Evening Post for nearly half a century, Norman Rockwell mingled fact and fiction in paintings that reflected the we-the-people, communitarian ideals of American democracy. Freckled Boy Scouts and their mutts, sprightly grandmothers, a young man standing up to speak at a town hall meeting, a little black girl named Ruby Bridges walking into an all-white school—here was an America whose citizens seemed to believe in equality and gladness for all.

Who was this man who served as our unofficial "artist in chief" and bolstered our country's national identity? Behind the folksy, pipe-smoking façade lay a surprisingly complex figure—a lonely painter who suffered from depression and was consumed by a sense of inadequacy. He wound up in treatment with the celebrated psychoanalyst Erik Erikson. In fact, Rockwell moved to Stockbridge, Massachusetts so that he and his wife could be near Austen Riggs, a leading psychiatric hospital. "What's interesting is how Rockwell's personal desire for inclusion and normalcy spoke to the national desire for inclusion and normalcy," writes Solomon. "His work mirrors his own temperament—his sense of humor, his fear of depths—and struck Americans as a truer version of themselves than the sallow, solemn, hard-bitten Puritans they knew from eighteenth-century portraits."

Deborah Solomon, a biographer and art critic, draws on a wealth of unpublished letters and documents to explore the relationship between Rockwell's despairing personality and his genius for reflecting America's brightest hopes. "The thrill of his work," she writes, "is that he was able to use a commercial form [that of magazine illustration] to thrash out his private obsessions." In American Mirror, Solomon trains her perceptive eye not only on Rockwell and his art but on the development of visual journalism as it evolved from illustration in the 1920s to photography in the 1930s to television in the 1950s. She offers vivid cameos of the many famous Americans whom Rockwell counted as friends, including President Dwight Eisenhower, the folk artist Grandma Moses, the rock musician Al Kooper, and the generation of now-forgotten painters who ushered in the Golden Age of illustration, especially J. C. Leyendecker, the reclusive legend who created the Arrow Collar Man.

Although derided by critics in his lifetime as a mere illustrator whose work could not compete with that of the Abstract Expressionists and other modern art movements, Rockwell has since attracted a passionate following in the art world. His faith in the power of storytelling puts his work in sync with the current art scene. American Mirror brilliantly explains why he deserves to be remembered as an American master of the first rank.

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