Telling Stories: Quilted Art by Yvonne WellsBy Katsil • Apr 10th, 2012 • Category: Calendar, Past Exhibits
|April 10, 2012 10:00 am||to||May 24, 2012 5:00 pm|
The 13-piece exhibit features full-size quilts by Yvonne Wells, a retired teacher from Tuscaloosa. Mrs. Wells is completely self-taught as a quilt maker and an artist. She is known for her hand-stitched quilts that depict historical events, personal experiences and observations, and religious themes. Using appliqué, she creates quilts with ingenious materials and innovative visual designs.
Yvonne Wells started quilting in a traditional fashion in the late 1970s but quickly realized her need to create works from the stories and thoughts within her. She is a natural artist, and where some artists create with paint, brush, and canvas, she creates with fabric, scissors, and thread. Mrs. Wells does not use patterns or templates but cuts freehand from fabric and other materials the elements of her art pieces. She is inspired by many materials; using non-traditional quilting materials such as buttons, zippers, tape, and rope, and recycled materials such as whole flags, objects given to her by friends, and garage sale finds. She has been known to raid her own closet, cutting up her clothes to obtain the perfect textured or colored fabric for a piece.
Two quilts on display, North Meets South and Liberty Lives feature the Statue of Liberty and are inspired by Mrs. Wells’ visits to New York City. In her quilt Portrait of a King, Mrs. Wells presents a life size Martin Luther King Jr., with his Bible in hand, surrounded by vignettes of events that occurred during the Civil Rights movement in Alabama. In contrast, Mrs. Wells’ whimsical Elvis depicts another “king” smiling in a silvery suit with a purple guitar. The Code challenges viewers to decipher a word code “written” in buttons.
Yvonne Wells says of her work, “Oh, art is a way of expression. It is a way of getting the inner feeling out so that others can see it. It is a fulfilling event. It is like a baptism. It is all those things in one. It’s not what you learn in the halls and walls of the schools, but it is that which is learned out there in this vast world, and it’s also satisfying. It’s that inner peace or that inner thing that’s talking to you that you hear and others don’t hear. But when you make the quilt or make the piece of artwork, this is what the inside of you is saying, and you just bring it out and people can see the way you feel or the way you are hearing things.”
Selected Exhibitions, Awards, and Permanent Collections
Birmingham Museum of Art
Huntsville Museum of Art
International Quilt Study Center, University of Nebraska
Cultural Exchange with Pietransanta, Italy
Museum of Folk Arts, New York City
“Yvonne Wells: An Exhibition of Quilts” Rosa Parks Library and Museum, Troy, Alabama
“African-American Quilts from Alabama” The Textile Museum, Washington, D.C.
Alabama Arts Awards
Visual Craftsman Award
Three of her quilts reproduced as greeting cards by Hallmark Card Company
Regular museum hours are Tuesday – Friday, 10 AM – 5 PM and Saturday, 10 AM – 2 PM.
The Carnegie is located at 207 Church St. NE Decatur, Alabama 35601.
Hi-res images available by request.