Bicentennial Quilt Steeped in Indiana's History
Story originally published in the Layfayette Journal and Courier
It took Gloria Dux Klutzke about five years to ponder and plan how she would layer meaning and express Indiana's history in the art quilt she titled, "Migrations Over the Crossroads of America." "My ideas morphed over time," she said. What rang truest for her was depicting people and animals in "flight," told through the Trail of Death, Underground Railroad, Monon Railroad and major rivers in the state.
Her 38x55" quilt tells of "the flight of the Native Americans as they lost land and the flight of slaves as they trekked north to freedom, which required every fiber of their beings to survive." She also wove in "the animals who took flight as more settlers disturbed their habitats, and the rivers and railroads, which have been a means of travel in migrations."
She completed her research, chose her storytelling path, and consulted with local historians to solidify her approach, then she began creating the quilt.
Gloria was lucky enough to already own the perfect piece of fabric, a hand-dyed piece she had purchased some time ago. "It was almost magical," she says when she pulled the fabric out to see if it would work. "One place is dark green, which is perfect for the forest. There's yellow to the west, where natural prairie grasslands are, and the browns work with moraines throughout the north and the bedrock in the southern part of state."
The finished piece debuted at the Tippecanoe County Historical Association's Heritage Day festival, then was part of the FibR arts group's "Flight of Fibre" show. On June 27 she was invited to an unveiling at the Indiana State House, where it is on display for two weeks. "One of my biggest thrills in this project has been that others ‘get it' - the many messages I've tried to convey. I created it to honor the memory of all who traversed the state in search of home and safety."