"The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera." - Dorothea Lange

Monday, April 26, 2010

nedra bonds

NB06 18" x 9"

When I first started talking about my desire to find artists for this doll project, more than a few people told me I needed to get in touch with Nedra. Not only has she long championed children in need in the US, Haiti and Africa, she often makes artwork for social change AND she’s a fiber artist who happens to make dolls. I’d not met Nedra before this, and I’m so glad I have now had the opportunity to do so!

Look closely to see the pom-poms that have been glued to her doll’s head for hair, the peace dove necklace, the open (welcoming) hands and the faces on the base (which pay tribute to children all around the world.)

“A contemporary art quilter, Nedra Bonds comes from a long line of traditional quilters. Both her paternal and maternal grandmothers quilted, as did her mother and father. Each child in the family had a ‘real’ quilt and a ‘play’ quilt. The real quilt went on the bed, and the play quilt was used by the children when taking naps. ‘Sunday’ quilts are also a part of Bonds’ heritage. Every Sunday the beds were covered in the best quilts, awaiting the admiring eyes of those who would come to Sunday supper. As a six-year-old, Bonds was told that idle hands were the Devil’s workshop and was encouraged to begin preparing a hope chest. To help her prepare that hope chest, Bonds’ grandmother taught her traditional quilting techniques. At that young age, Bonds was shown how to make ten stitches equivalent to the length between the tip of her forefinger and the first joint. If she failed at her task, she was required to remove the stitches and to start again. As a teenager, Bonds turned her back on the family tradition of quilting.

As an adult, a private-school and college art teacher, Bonds looked at the tradition with fresh eyes. Bonds, who embraces quilting as a fine-art form that has grown from a folk tradition, incorporates three-dimensional elements and a variety of textures and colors into her art quilts to interpret the world around her and express her views on various social issues. One of her best-known quilts is the Quindaro Story Quilt, a traditional appliqué quilt that tells the history of the Civil War settlement of Quindaro, Kansas. The quilt, approximately four by six feet and bordered in a bright yellow fabric, depicts black people who escaped slavery in Missouri and followed the Underground Railroad through Quindaro. In recent years, an eight-year battle was waged by environmentalists because the state had wanted to convert the Quindaro site into a landfill. The quilt was displayed during a Kansas legislative hearing on a bill that was to declare the Quindaro site a historic area, saving it from pollution. The quilt traveled for more than a year as a reminder of the important historical events in Kansas and the impact of those events on the United States in general. Quindaro did not become a landfill, and some community leaders attribute that, in part, to the creation of the Quindaro Story Quilt.”

- from The Greenwood Encyclopedia of African American Folklore


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I know her and I hate her, her work is great yes but her as a person no.