Arts and Humanities Curricula through Technology

Todd Family Quilt


Artist(s): Deonna Todd Green and Ione Todd
Genre(s): visual arts, storytelling
Medium/Media: textile, quilts
Material(s): cotton/polyester fabric, cotton embroidery floss, fabric paint
Technique(s): piecework, embroidery, painting, photo-transfer
Dimensions: 82"h. x 79"w.
Date made: 1989
Where made: Remus, Mecosta County, Michigan
In whose collection: Collection of Michigan State University Museum
Collection# (s):Michigan Quilt Project # 90.001, MSUM 7005
Photograph of work by: Mary Whalen
Rights to photograph courtesy of: Michigan State University Museum

In embroidered and painted pictures and text, the Todd Family Quilt chronicles the experiences of the Todd family members in their journey to and settlement in a mid-Michigan farming community. Each block portrays carefully researched information about the Todd family, including lists of individuals within each generation, a pictorial depiction of a family story, an embroidered copy of a family document or historical photograph, painted coats-of-arms, and plat maps of family farmsteads. As the makers -- Deonna Green and her mother, Ione Todd -- clearly reveal in their oral accounts, the quilt is the result of painstaking research into their family history.

This quilt is the third version of this design. The first one was raffled off at the Old Settlers' Reunion held annually in Mecosta for descendants of the first African-American settlers in Mecosta, Montcalm, and Isabella counties. A cousin won that raffle and now owns the quilt. A second version was made so that the Todd Family History could be shared with other family members; this version was shown in a national exhibition called "Stitching Memories: African-American Story Quilts," organized by the Williams College of Art in 1990. The third version was commissioned by the Michigan State University Museum for their collection and was included in the 1991 exhibition, "African-American Quiltmaking Traditions in Michigan."

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