Coal Mines, Quilting, & The Jungle Room: The Whistling Girl Hits the Road
MetadataShow full item record
When I was a kid, I used to tell people that I was "half-Italian, half-hillbilly" and that I frequently ate pasta barefoot. After living in Italy for six months, I felt that I truly understood my Italian heritage. But as for the hillbilly, I was clueless until I made it to Harlan. My grandmother is a quilter, and after seeing where the tradition of quilting came from, I knew that was the only sufficient means of showing my connection to that side of my family. So I interviewed my grandmother to get stories about her life in Kentucky and began making a quilt about my heritage. It became what is known as a "crazy" quilt. That is, it is not comprised of uniform pieces of cloth meticulously stitched together but is made of many different colors, sizes, and shapes of fabric. It is also intended to be a crib quilt, which to me embodies the idea that from a young age, I have possessed the stories of my family, but it was only as an adult that I could begin to understand and pass on those stories. I have made a quilt from the history of my family, and I have also woven together a work of poetry that is completely my own. Adding my story to theirs, the quilt grows.