Historic textile research champion Virginia Gunn has been selected as the 2017 honoree in The Quilters Hall of Fame. Virginia’s induction will take place during Celebration, July 20-22, 2017 in Marion, Indiana.
This is a well-deserved honor for a woman who has made the scholarly research of quilts her life’s work. It is important that no matter how much quilt making has changed especially over the past couple of decades that we understand and value the roots and early years of quilt making. This is especially important for me as a restorer of vintage quilts.
According to the press release: Virginia L. Gunn earned her Bachelor of Science degree at Kansas State University, a Master’s degree in applied arts, clothing, textiles and interiors from Syracuse University and a Ph.D. in history from the University of Akron. Today Gunn is in demand as a speaker nationwide, presenting and publishing research on American costumes and textiles, on quilts and coverlets, and on women’s history.
In 1980 when the American Quilt Study Group was founded, there were no graduate programs offering degrees in quilt history; no academic gatherings in which to present scholarly papers on quilts; no journals in which to publish scholarly research. All three conditions have changed dramatically since 1980. Dr. Virginia Gunn has played a vital role in the reordering of this disparity within the academic world since the days of such “desert” conditions for quilt scholarship.
Virginia Gunn has also demonstrated a gifted ability to inspire, motivate and empower those who have an interest in doing quilt research outside the purely academic community through her long association with the American Quilt Study Group. Her influence and hands-on guidance of others in maintaining the highest standards of scholarship in AQSG’s publications has played no small part in the acceptance of said publications in at least eight academic indexes that are accessed by researchers, museum curators and academics from around the world.
What makes her particularly valuable to anyone studying local and state history in her adopted state of Ohio is her knowledge of decorative arts, material culture and historical methodology. Gunn continually emphasizes to all her students and volunteers alike the importance of “well developed research to figure things out.”
In her position as a faculty member at the University of Akron, Virginia Gunn has worked successfully at encouraging a younger generation to explore and pursue the field of quilt and textile history. In 1997 the Dr. Virginia L. Gunn Scholarship in Family and Consumer Sciences was created through a gift from a former University of Akron student to recognize and honor the mentoring and encouragement that Dr. Gunn has provided so many. This is a powerful statement about how deeply Gunn’s dedication to education within the field of quilt and textile history has touched and will continue to impact students for generations to come. It is with great enthusiasm and respect that we salute Dr. Virginia L. Gunn as The Quilters Hall of Fame’s 2017 Honoree. The official induction will take place at the induction dinner on Saturday, July 22 at 6:30 p.m.
Go to quiltershalloffame.net/celebration-schedule/ to view the schedule of events. There are many interesting lectures and there are opportunities to walk through exhibits at the Marion Public Library with Dr. Gunn and view her favorite quilts from a historical perspective at no charge. Workshop topics include WWI quilts, red/green quilts and their Anglo and Germanic influence, Tobacco Mourning and Garibaldi and other fabric fads to name a few. Marion is about an hours drive from Fort Wayne, I hope to see you there!
Lois Levihn buys, sells and restores vintage quilts at Born Again Quilts located at 4005 South Wayne Avenue, Fort Wayne. She can be contacted at 260-515-9446 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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