In May of 2009, Karen Brackett from Skidmore College led an education study program to
South Africa. Niineteen college students participated in the course. Patti Estabrook, Jean Mead, and
Diane Podesva from Patti's Quilting and Fabrics in Glens Falls were part of the professional team working
with Brackett. The group is developing four full-size story quilts that will be on display
on the Skidmore campus and in local museums starting in the spring of 2010.
A two-day workshop to practice our skills took place at Skidmore November 2008.
Martha Beauchamp from The Quilted Jardin in Galway worked with us as a consultant. Her area of expertise
is creating quilts from drawings or photos.
The story quilts created on our journey and during the fall semester will focus on the following themes:
Quilt #1 This group worked with the younger children at Edendale (Grade R-Standard 1) to
gather data to create an alphabet quilt. Items significant to the African culture are represented
for each letter. Language samples of the children's stories about these items will be on display
with this quilt in exhibit format. Also the many languages spoken at the school
(there are 11 official languages in South Africa) will be represented in the stories.
Quilt #2 The second group worked with the Standard two class to create a quilt
about the people of South Africa and the landscape. They used the information they learned
about the following groups of people: the Xhosa, the Ndebele, the Zulu, the Pedi, and the Besotho.
They also chose to include the Afrikaans people, Indian people, and those that live in the various places
they visited while in South Africa, (ex. Pretoria, Soweto, Lesotho, Midlands, Cape Town).
Quilt #3 This group worked with the Standard three class to create a quilts about African art.
Reproductions created by the children were included. It is multi-faceted in terms of integrating dance,
music, painting, textile work and photography into the piece. Also included will be cultural art forms
of local artisans encountered throughout the journey.
Quit #4 The final group worked with the Standard four class to gather data for an historical quilt
representing aprtheid and post-apartheid eras. Students used children’s drawings and writing samples
as well as visited local museums. In Soweto students walked through Freedom Square and read
the Constitution on display. In Cape Town, students toured Robben Island and viewed
the District Six Museum. The oral history assignment will also impact the outcome of this quilt.
For more information about the 2009 trip, click here - 2009 Trip.
You can access information about past and upcoming journeys on the Skidmore Education Studies website