Exhibition of Quilts: Harriet Tubman & The Underground Rail Road

Harriet Tubman is an icon of courage & freedom. Her story tells of an African American Slave who escaped to freedom during turbulent times in the Mid-19th century on the East Coast of the United States of America. Despite being in constant danger, Harriet returned to her home town 19 times to rescue family and friends and to help them escape via what became known as The Underground Railroad, a series of secret routes and safe house.

Mandy Shaw is passionate about Harriet Tubman and her journey, so much so that she has designed a whole Quilt in her honour. The quilt combines clever and intricate patchwork blocks, each of which represent a different part of Harriet’s inspirational story. Mandy has taught her Underground Railroad Quilt to students at our shop since we opened a decade a go, so we have seen quite a few come and go over the years! Traditionally the quilt is made in Civil War reproduction fabrics, but there have been many variations meaning the same quilt has turned out differently time and time again.

It is these quilts that are the subject of our exhibition for this years local visual arts festival, Lewes Artwave. We are gathering all the quilts made in Mandy’s class and displaying them with loads more information about Harriet Tubman and The Underground Railroad itself.

The exhibition will take place in our sunny upstairs workshop and will be open during shop throughout the two weeks of Artwave from 22nd August – 5th September. The quilt makers will be around should you have any questions about their work and Mandy Shaw herself will be hosting a talk about her quilt and the tale behind it on Thursday 27th August in the evening.

If you feel inspired by the exhibition then we have plenty of Civil War fabrics in our shop, which will be available during the exhibition. and if your creative juices really get flowing then Mandy will be teaching the course here again in the autumn term.