General Info > News Releases > Archived Releases 2006-07 > 2006-08-24:Los Hilos de la Vida (The Threads of Life) Exhibit

News Release - August 24, 2006
MENDOCINO COLLEGE, 1000 Hensley Creek Road, Ukiah, CA 95482
Contact: Ross Beck, Director of Public Information & Marketing
         T: 707-468-3012, Fax: 707-468-3008, Email:
File:            NR-Art Gallery-Threads

Art Gallery is honored to present
Los Hilos de la Vida (The Threads of Life)

exhibit opening September 7

UKIAH, CA — Hilos de la Vida (The Threads of Life) is a collective of women artists who make pictorial wall hangings using free motion quilting techniques.  The project began in a parenting class offered by the Anderson Valley Even Start program for women who had migrated from Mexico.  Most of the women participating in Hilos are immigrants from Mexico, who came to the Anderson Valley as agricultural workers, often with only 3 - 9 years of school in Mexico and little chance of advancing beyond minimum wage employment here.
Molly Johnson Martinez, Even Start Parent Educator, and Susan Kerr, a Behavior Specialist, (and also a member of the Mendocino Quilt Artist Guild) decided to introduce story quilting techniques into a parenting class they were co-teaching as a way to attract more women to the class. They also hoped to give the women in the class new ways in which to creatively explore and express themselves.  Since Even Start is a literacy program, the women also wrote short stories about the quilts they made and what they meant to them.   The class met for three and a half hours once a week, during which the women learned to design a wall hanging that told their story.  They also learned how to use a sewing machine and quilting techniques.   Many of the quilts tell stories of the women’s lives, culture and community in Mexico, experiences of crossing the border into the United States, and what living here and leaving her home and family there has meant.
The Instructors were so impressed by the intuitive sense of design and compelling stories portrayed in the quilts, that they wanted to share them with the community. They were first exhibited in a local restaurant in May of 2005.  The sale of some quilts inspired the women to make more and find new exhibition venues.  They have been seen at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco among other places.
What had begun as a class intended to enrich women’s lives has become a small business bringing needed income into the lives of the artists and the community in which they live.  Women come to Even Start classes when they aren’t working, either because they have small children at home or cannot find jobs.  The project provides sewing machines that can be borrowed, materials to work with, support and instruction.
The exhibit runs through October and the public is welcome. Regular gallery hours are Tuesday - Thursday 12:30 - 3:30 pm or by special appointment: 468-3207 or 468-3022.

Additional information is available online at
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Created: August 24, 2006 @ 09:35 AM
Last Modified: August 24, 2006 @ 09:35 AM


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