- Associated Press - Monday, March 7, 2016

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) - An exhibition of quilts at the University of Michigan’s Matthaei Botanical Gardens examines the connection between nature and well-being.

Members of the Great Lakes African American Quilters Network created quilts for the show that’s titled “A Cloth of Earth and Sky: The Healing Power of Nature through the Eyes of African American Quilters.” It opens Saturday and runs through April 24.

Nearly 50 quilts with vivid colors, patterns and textures will be on display. The quilts also reflect the history and cultural legacy embraced by African American quilters, organizers said.

“Quilts, to me, are the voices of artists singing something about themselves and their beliefs out into the world,” said Karen Simpson, a university staff member who helped come up with the idea for the exhibition, said in a statement.

Simpson, who works with Student Financial Services at the Ann Arbor school, and Debbie Taylor, a staff member with the university’s College of Engineering, envisioned an exhibition that would give members of the quilting community an opportunity to tell their stories.

Students from Eagle’s Nest Academy, a charter school in Flint, partnered with the Ruth Mott Foundation and volunteers from the Flint Area African American Quilters Guild to produce three quilts for the show that were inspired by Applewood, the Charles Stewart Mott estate.

The quilts comprise one submission titled “Floral Happiness Found at Applewood.” To create the distinctive color patterns on their quilts, the children pressed flower petals from Applewood into muslin squares. Volunteers then helped them stitch squares together.




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