The Museum of the San Ramon Valley's next exhibit will see the historical museum inside the former Danville train station showcasing a contemporary theme that is likely to be the subject of numerous accounts by future historians.
"Stir Crazy Quilts" features a selection of quilts created during the earlier days of the COVID-19 pandemic, as lockdown and quarantine measures at the outset in 2020 led many quilters to explore their craft in ways they hadn't before.
"We asked the community to send us pictures and stories of quilts they made during the pandemic," museum spokesman John Keenan said. "The response was amazing. From this large group, we curated a group of quilts and stories that help to tell the feelings, experiences, and emotions of life during that time."
With access to a range of local talent, as well as a being the center of operations for many local history enthusiasts, the museum was a natural fit for showcasing the work of local artists and documenting the thoughts, feelings, and creative expression brought on by the early, uncertain days of the pandemic, as "one of the most challenging times in recent history," according to Keenan.
"From the depictions of social distancing and mask-wearing to more abstract representations of the emotions brought on by the pandemic, these quilts are a testament to the resilience and creativity of the human spirit," Keenan said.
While some of the featured quilts make use of conventional patterns and techniques, others are the product of creating new designs and using experimental techniques.
In addition to the urge for new creative outlets and forms of expression brought on by pandemic lockdowns, exhibit organizers pointed to the limitation on materials to work with that the lack of in-person shopping opportunities and supply chain upheavals as being chronicled in the exhibit.
"Most quilts came from 'stashes' of fabrics which quilters have in their homes especially since, for a time, specialty quilt stores were closed," organizers said in the event description. "One quilt is made up of clothes the quilter 'impulse bought' and then cut up for her quilt."
Other quilts on display chronicle signs of the times more blatantly -- such as a piece called "Quinevere the Quarantine Queen" by Arden Dougan featuring what have come to be symbols of the pandemic's early days such as toilet paper, a "Stay Home" symbol and a "2nd dose" vaccination pin, along with an image of Dr. Anthony Fauci.
"Stir Crazy Quilts" debuts on Wednesday (Feb. 1) at 205 Railroad Ave. in Danville and will be on display through May 31. More information and museum hours are available at museumsrv.org.
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