Peralta Community College District's Only Student-Run Publication
Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

    OMCA leaves visitors in stitches

    Small but colorful exhibit highlights local quilters

    quilt

    Quilts you have no intention on sleeping with are on display at the Oakland Museum. The exhibit is called “Yo-Yos & Half Squares: Contemporary California Quilts.” Eli Leon, an Oakland resident, artist and collector of unique and unusual items, gathered together five people who were strangers to one another to inspire 20 extraordinary quilts. Leon’s vision was to have the quilters tell a story of a time and place in African American history.
    The five quilters are Angie Tobias, Arbie Williams, Mattie Pickett, Rosie Lee Tompkins and Sherry Byrd. Each contributed a vision and artistic expression to each quilt. Leon involved himself deeply in the project, often revisiting the quilters to assure the success of the project. Quilting is recognized as an expression of life’s experience through asymmetrical designs, rich colors and a variety of patterns. Traditional quilts were made as bed covers and clothing consisting of padded pieces of fabric encased between double layers of fabric held together by stitching. Most quilts have piecers and quilters. The piecer stitches the fabrics and the quilters put together the patches forming the quilt. Yo-yos and half squares refer to the shapes in which the patches are cut. 
    ChairLeon’s collection of quilts represents a collaboration of heritage, triumph and religion. Leon is also the author of the book called, “Accidentally on Purpose” where he wrote on the irregularities in African textiles and African-American quilts.
    A popular piece called “Unfinished,” made of red velvet and embroidery, is the main focus of the Eli Leon collection. Rosie Lee Tompkins, artist, quilter, and creator of the quilt “Unfinished,” died in 2006. The quilt was called “Unfinished” because Leon wanted his inspiration to continue. “We hope the exhibition alters viewers’ ideas of what a quilt can be,” said Carin Adams, associate curator of art and material culture. “Looking at these 20 quilts is like entering a different world.” 
    Another piece is called, ”Mamaloo,” which is created from a pair of pants Arbie Williams found on the streets of 14th Avenue. Waking up in the middle of the night, Williams’ creative juices were flowing and she had an idea for the pair of pants. A piece called “Memory`” is the work of Angie Tobias, who grew up learning to sew using scrap materials. This quilt was made from Tobias’s own bedding and her children’s clothing.

    QuiltYo-Yo’s & Half-Squares: Contemporary California Quilts is on view at the OMCA until February 21, 2016.
    1000 Oak St, Oakland
    More info available at: museumca.org
    ($15.95 general admission)

    About the Contributor
    In the fall of 2019, The Laney Tower rebranded as The Citizen and launched a new website. These stories were ported over from the old Laney Tower website, but byline metadata was lost in the port. However, many of these stories credit the authors in the text of the story. Some articles may also suffer from formatting issues. Future archival efforts may fix these issues.  
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