What Does It Mean To Be An American?
October 1-October 30
Quilt installation documenting the responses by over 500 Oregonians to the question “What does it mean to be an American?”.
What does it mean to be American? A question with many answers and one that the collaborative quilt project “What Does it Mean to Be an American?” led by Alicia Decker and Ellen Knutson begins to answer. The United States is such a diverse nation, how do we understand what it means to be American, and what do we hold valuable? How do those notions differ depending on our lived experiences and in the context of the current political climate? Quilting is an American tradition that has the power to narrate and to create community through the nature of its practice. This project aims to build community around recognizing and celebrating our differences, while perhaps finding common ground in the process.
The quilt installation at Black Fish Gallery showcases the words that over 450 people used to describe their thoughts on what it means to be American, drawn from community conversations held across Oregon in partnership with the Oregon Humanities Conversation Project.
The second installation for this project is located at Kat + Maouche at 33 NW 4th Ave. Portland, OR 97209. This installation features quilted tapestries displaying the most frequent responses from the Oregon Humanities Conversation Project to the question ‘What does it mean to be an American?”, as well as an ongoing community quilt featuring the embroidered answers to this question from over 40 participants across the country. This installation also features an interactive poster wall where visitors can add their own answer to this question.
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Portland Textile Month only happens one month out of the year and we have more events than we can list. So the TextileX-change has been created to serve as a year-round companion site. Both community platforms provide a space to share ideas, histories, knowledge, commerce, and practices across cultures and generations.
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In a little over two years, PTM has turned from an ambitious idea into an engaged community movement. This transformation highlights the power of our mission to foster collaboration cross-pollination, cultural dialogue, and exchange among the Portland textile community and beyond.
We've organized 3 festivals with over 170 events representing the diversity of textile interests and practices. And we've galvanized makers, businesses, teachers, students, institutions, and organizations to gather around shared interests and knowledge-sharing.
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