Priscilla Kibbee

I love to travel all over the globe shopping for textiles to add to my wearable art. I have taught quilting to school children in Nepal, seminole patchwork to seamstresses in Thailand, and jackets and embellishment to quilters in Turkey where I also served as a judge at 2 of their International Quilt Shows. I have created garments for 5 Fairfield and Bernina Fashion Shows and teach classes on embellishment and wearable art. Lately I have been leaning more toward making art quilts.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Hmong Story Quilt - Escape to a New Life

Perhaps the best known form of Hmong needle art is "Paj Ntaub Tib Neeg" also called "story cloth" These lovely pictorial embroideries developed very recently in Hmong history. It appears that Hmong men began to draw elements of traditional Hmong stories to help make sure they would be remembered during the times of change. While in the refugee camps, if not sooner, women began to have the men draw on fabric so that they could stitch the stories on cloth.

These remarkable embroidered cloths include not only the stories and daily life of Hmong culture but also record their experiences during the Vietnam war and their escape to Thailand. The quilt shown above is a large version of the "escape" quilt. If you saw Clint Eastwood's movie Gran Torino there was a smaller version on the wall in the hall in the Hmong house.

These "story cloths" have been made extensively in refugee camps to sell to foreigners who visit the camps. Many were sent to relatives in America and other countries where they could be sold in a broader market.

I have been purchasing these wonderful Story Quilts for a number of years from their makers in Vientiane, Laos. Although the Hmong can be found in Vietnam and Thailand I usually find the best quilts in Laos. And over the years I have developed a relationship with some of the makers who save me a nice selection.

This quilt depicts daily life, working the fields and travel between the different villages.

This beauty focuses on caring for the animals. The quilts are made of cotton or poly/cotton and every stitch is made by hand.

The stitches used for story quilts seem very limited at first glance. But there is a surprising variety including back stitch and stem stitch in a dazzling array of colors, bokhara couching is used in the walls of the houses which does a fantastic job of mimicing the bamboo construction of the Hmong houses. People, animals, flowers and tools are all comprised of satin stitch. Traditional style clothing and adornment are delicately portrayed. Note the black jackets with blue sleeve cuffs which are everywhere in a Hmong village.

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Blogger Kathy said...

Are any of these quilts still available for sale? They are beautiful!

November 2, 2010 at 1:08 PM  
Blogger Priscilla Kibbee said...

Any quilt is for sale which has a price on it...and isn't listed as Sold.

November 2, 2010 at 10:50 PM  

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