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Thread: Seminole patchwork

  1. #1
    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    Seminole patchwork

    Very interesting article on Seminole patchwork;

    https://www.npr.org/sections/codeswi...-appropriation
    Nancy in western NY
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    Very interesting. I had no idea that the patchwork designated as Seminole originated from the actual Indians themselves.
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    Super Member madamekelly's Avatar
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    I wore Seminole patchwork clothes as a little girl. One of my grandmothers was Seminole, so it really was “Seminole patchwork” but as a child I just loved all the color. .
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  4. #4
    Senior Member midwife's Avatar
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    Thank for the article. Very interesting.

  5. #5
    Super Member Rose_P's Avatar
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    According to this article in Quilter's Review: https://www.quiltersreview.com/semin...chwork-quilts/ Native Americans did not make patchwork prior to being introduced to it by Europeans. They did develop the distinctive style that is known as Seminole and also the distinctive Molas, which are a reverse applique technique made by San Blas Island natives in Panama. Both were and are used in clothing articles rather than quilts. There may be others that I don't know about. I believe the righteous indignation cited in the NPR article is a bit misplaced, though I do agree that Seminole clothing should not be imitated for profit because they are distinctive to those tribal people and have symbolic meaning. I wish they had a picture of the Donna Karan item it mentions that is in blacks and browns. In those colors it doesn't seem to be that similar to the native designs. If you look at the patches themselves, they are mostly squares, diamonds, 4-patches, and so on, and nobody has a copyright on those basic shapes. If you make a quilt with Seminole techniques, you might mention that in describing your quilt, but it's not "stealing" in any sense of the word, any more than it's stealing if you make a 4-patch or other traditional quilt similar to one my own grandmother may have made. Almost without exception every pattern you see is derived from an earlier form. Where you cross the line into stealing is when your work is so much like someone else's that it might be mistaken for theirs, especially if you're exploiting it for commercial purposes. Maybe that's what happened with the DKNY clothing mentioned in that article, but it isn't entirely convincing without pictures for comparison.

    On the other hand, when I see imported, cheaply mass produced quilts imitating those that our ancestors made lovingly, one at a time, it does set off a bit of resentment, and I can relate to the feeling expressed by the sculptor in that article. However, using the word "patchwork" as if her people invented that is simply wrong.
    “You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” ~Maya Angelou.
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  6. #6
    Super Member givio's Avatar
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    Nicely written, Rose.

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