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'A Small Miracle of a Southern Island' Comes to National Quilt Museum in Paducah

Courtesy of Judy Schwender, National Quilt Museum

Caohagan is a 13 acre island in the south Philippines, 10 degrees above the equator. When quilting was introduced to the island, the inhabitants were able to increase their standard of living significantly. Their colorful quilts became increasingly popular worldwide and several are on display at the National Quilt Museum in Paducah. On Sounds Good, Kate Lochte speaks with curator Judy Schwender about the exhibit, "A Small Miracle of a Southern Island: Quilts of Caohagan" on display through October 13.

"One of my favorite artists is Vincent Van Gogh. Has always been. And when I look at his paintings I feel like I'm looking through his eyes at the world. And when I look at the Caohagan quilts I am looking at their life on the island through their eyes... That is art in the purest sense." - Judy Schwender

These quilts tell us what the island looks like to people who live there, were born there and whose descendants will be there. The quilts are a combination of hand cut and applique technique, which is good for storytelling, Schwender says.

The quilts feature sea creatures from fish to squid, seahorses, crabs and gar. Other things featured include the houses built on stilts, palm trees and cats and dogs. They're brightly colored with plaid and polka dot patterns, free cut and spontaneous.

August 7 through 21, the National Quilt Museum will be welcoming two women from the island demonstrating quilting and applique. Also, two Japanese women who introduced quilting on the island will be at the museum. Quilts are for sale in the museum store.

The exhibit is on display through October 13.

More about the National Quilt Museum

Matt Markgraf joined the WKMS team as a student in January 2007. He's served in a variety of roles over the years: as News Director March 2016-September 2019 and previously as the New Media & Promotions Coordinator beginning in 2011. Prior to that, he was a graduate and undergraduate assistant. He is currently the host of the international music show Imported on Sunday nights at 10 p.m.
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