Previous Symposia

2015: Making & Mending: Quilts for Causes & Commemoration

2015: Making & Mending: Quilts for Causes & Commemoration

For many quiltmakers the threads that connect them to the important things in life run through their quilts.

Whether it's quilts to raise money for abolition in the 1800s, the Red Cross in the early 1900s, or the local quilt guild in the 2000s; quilts to support wars or advocate for peace; quilts to warm the wounded or welcome the newborn; quilts made to carry on family traditions or create new ones—quiltmakers past and present support the causes and commemorate the lives important to them.

Invited scholars and artists will elaborate on these themes during the symposium in keynote presentations. Curator-guided tours of related exhibitions will provide opportunities for discussion and reflection on the themes, too.

About the Speakers

Erika Doss
Erika Doss is professor of American Studies at the University of Notre Dame where she teaches courses in modern and contemporary American art and cultural studies.

Her most recent book is Memorial Mania: Public Feeling in America (University of Chicago Press, 2010). She is co-editor of the “Culture America” series at the University Press of Kansas, and on the editorial boards of Public Art Dialogue and Material Religion: The Journal of Objects, Art, and Belief. Her current book project is “Spiritual Moderns: Twentieth Century American Artists and Religion.”

Lynn Setterington
Lynn Setterington is a major British textile artist particularly known for her handmade quilts and Kantha embroidery. She trained in Textiles at Goldsmiths College, University of London in the 1980’s. Her work is held in many public and private collections including the V&A Museum, London, England; the Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester, England; Denver Museum of Art, Denver, Colorado; The International Quilt Study Center & Museum, Lincoln, Nebraska; The Terrance Higgins Trust, England; and the Embroiderers Guild of the UK.

For the last fifteen years she has specialized in devising and co-ordinating a number of large-scale commissions and pubic engagement projects using embroidery and quiltmaking with diverse and under represented groups. Since 2010 she has instigated a wide range of participatory signature cloth projects with the citizens of over twenty countries. Lynn was awarded a Public Engagement Fellow at Manchester Metropolitan University in 2009 and Knowledge Exchange award in 2013. She has been a Senior Lecturer at the Manchester School of Art since 1992. Lynn is a member of the 62 Group, Textile Society of the UK and an Associate Fellow of the International Quilt Study Center & Museum at the University of Nebraska. She is currently undertaking a practice based PhD at the University of the Creative Arts in Farnham, Surrey.

Madelyn Shaw
Madelyn Shaw is an independent curator specializing in the exploration of American history and culture through textiles and dress. She has held curatorial and administrative positions at the New Bedford Whaling Museum; The Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design; The Textile Museum (Washington, DC); and the Museum at FIT (New York).

She is lead author and co-curator (with Lynne Bassett) of the award-winning Civil War sesquicentennial book and traveling exhibition titled Homefront & Battlefield: Quilts & Context in the Civil War. Other recent projects include the exhibition Color Revolution: Science Meets Style in the 1960s for the American Textile History Museum (2013) and the publications, Clothing through American History: The British Colonial Era for ABC-Clio Press (with Kathleen Staples, 2013).

She has held research fellowships from the John Nicholas Brown Center at Brown University and the Wintherthur Museum, and she has taught at Boston University as well as the Rhode Island School of Design.

Victoria Findlay Wolfe
Victoria Findlay Wolfe is a New York City-based award winning quilter, designer and author of 15 Minutes of Play (C&T publishing), founder of NYC MOD quilters, board member of the International Quilt Association and The Quilt Alliance. She is also the Modern Contributor to The Quilt Life Magazine. Her quilt, Double Edged Love, won Best in Show at the first QuiltCon in Austin, Texas, 2013.

She runs several community drives through BumbleBeansBASICS, her on going quilt drive, which gives finished quilts to those who need some quilt-y love, hope and support. Through the organization, more than 800 quilts have been given to homeless families in transitional housing programs, 1,500 to Hurricane Sandy victims and hundreds of others to various local women's shelters and facilities. If you have a quilt that needs a good home, please visit

Born and raised on a farm in Minnesota, she credits her quilting influences to her grandmother’s double knit crazy quilts that kept her warm growing up. She is trained as a fine artist with a degree in painting, but her love quickly turned back to textiles, when her daughter became part of her family. Her biggest supporters are her husband, Michael, and teenage daughter, Beatrice.