Nora Ezell, Eutaw

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Nora Ezell (1990)

Nora Ezell (1919 - 2007) is a quilt maker of extraordinary talent and dedication as well as an articulate spokesperson for an art form that is deeply rooted in Alabama culture. This Greene County resident taught herself to quilt more than 40 years ago by watching her mother and her aunt make the traditional scrap quilts that were once a necessity. While Mrs. Ezell continues to use time-honored patterns, such as "wedding ring," "log cabin," and "bear's paw" in her work, she has recently gained recognition from quilt scholars and collectors for her innovative storytelling quilts. Using the traditional techniques for piecing, applique and embroidery, Mrs. Ezell creates individual scenes that are linked thematically to the rest of the images on the quilt.

She began making her narrative quilts in the early 1980's. One of her significant early works, a quilt depicting important moments in the life of Martin Luther King, led to a piece commissioned by the Civil Rights Institute in Birmingham called "A Tribute to the Civil Righters of Alabama." uot;A Tribute to the Civil Righters of Alabama."

Mrs. Ezell participates in several festivals per year including the Folk Roots Festival in Eutaw. Her work was featured in a one-woman show at Stillman College in 1986 and in the Alabama Artist's Gallery at the Alabama State Council on t he Arts in 1990. She has also received teaching grants through the State Arts Council's Folk Arts Apprenticeship Program. In 1992, Mrs Ezell received the prestigious National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. In 1998, My Quilts and Me, a book about Ms. Ezell's quilting was published by Black Belt Press.

Click >here to hear Alabama Folkways Radio Series program interview with Nora Ezell.

Obituary in New York Times