Franklin County Visitors Bureau Invites All to A Conversation with Grandmother Edna: Fabric Artist and Storyteller
Franklin County Visitors Bureau hosts Edna Williams, a fabric artist and storyteller, at the 11/30 Visitors Center on July 17.
Franklin County Visitors Bureau invites the public to A Conversation with Grandmother Edna: Fabric Artist and Storyteller on July 17 at 1 PM in the Great Room of the 11/30 Visitors Center, on the square in Chambersburg PA. Visitors can enjoy more than a dozen quilts and pillow covers, created by Grandmother Edna and learn how she expresses herself through art to tell stories of her life and America’s history. The art, called Pillow Talk is on display in the lobby of the Franklin County 11/30 Visitors Centers.
Williams hails from Baltimore and is displayed at the 11/30 Visitors Center through the Franklin County Visitors Bureau’s relationship with the African American Historical Association of Western Maryland.
I reach back to move forward. It is the only way to grow, said Grandmother Edna. Her Pillow Talk display includes stories that connect directly to her mother, father, and grandmother as well as highlight her meetings with poet Maya Angelou and actor Harry Belafonte. Others tell stories related to enslavement and civil justice. Williams believes storytelling is a means to connecting people and endorses the importance of history stating, Why create a mountain when you can cross a hill.
Pillow Talk is displayed as part of the Franklin County 11/30 Visitors Center’s Let The Journey Begin…People, Places, Possibilities. In addition to the storytelling quilts of Grandmother Edna, the exhibit looks at the quest for freedom from the earliest European settlers to the importance of the Pennsylvania Constitution’s Environmental Amendment.
A Conversation with Grandmother Edna is free and open to the public. Following the presentation, Grandmother Edna will offer a quilting and storytelling activity to participants who want to learn a little more. To reserve seating, please register here. A Conversation with Grandmother Edna is presented by the Franklin County Visitors Bureau as part of the July 17 Chambersburg Comes To Life Celebration, which includes the living history portrayal and light show depicting the 1864 Ransoming, Burning & Rebirth of Chambersburg.
The Franklin County Visitors Bureau invites all to explore Franklin County PA and enjoy trails of history, arts and architecture, recreation, natural beauty, fresh foods, and the warm hospitality of communities like Chambersburg, Greencastle, Mercersburg, Shippensburg, and Waynesboro. Franklin County PA is located just north of the Mason Dixon Line and is an easy drive from Washington DC, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh. Discover more and plan a visit at their website or by contacting 866-646-(8060).
Q×A with Grandmother Edna
By: Emily Bunn
Showcasing over a dozen quilts and pillow covers, Grandmother Edna weaves stories of her own life and chronicles American history into her fabric fashioning. The complex interweaving of Edna’s own life fluidly connects with the United States’ grappling with enslavement, civil justice, and the quest for freedom. Depicting familial relations, as well as Edna’s encounters with Maya Angelou and Harry Belafonte, Grandmother Edna brings history to life with her quilting and storytelling. 360 Magazine spoke with the artist about the success of “Pillow Talk”, what inspires her to create art, and her upcoming CD release.
When did you begin creating fabric art?
Really, I mentally began in the 1950’s [while] sitting on a stairway watching my grandmother quilting. Then, maybe somewhere around the late 80’s, I decided to pick my poems up from midnight brown paper bags writings to hand sewn quilting.
What first got you interested in American history?
Being Black in the 50’s going with my grandmother to be the help/maid. And, in the 60’s, attending an all white school.
If you were to create fabric art to express our current moment in time, what would that design look like?
I have a new quilt on exhibit titled: “There Was A Time When The Universe Was FREE.”
What inspired you to start selling your quilted creations, pillow covers, and fabric art?
First of all, my quilts will never be for sale. My pillow covers sales will I hope help fund my free educational mobile classroom called “A Grandmother’s Pilgrimage, INC.” and my Grace Wisher Reparation Recovery Youth Scholarship Fund, LLC.
What inspired the name “pillow talk” for your exhibition?
I travel through the country as an invisible soul, no one seems to listen to anything I had to say. I decided to create a nightcap to relax the busy minds of everyone–and just maybe they would have time to hear me.
What has the reaction to “pillow talk” been like?
Amazing, fresh. It’s a newness in the art world.
What has working with the The Franklin County Visitors Bureau and The African American Historical Association of Western Maryland been like?
Exciting, cool and [represents] that change is coming, History being over-hauled. Janet and Ron have been great to partner with. I hope this [exhibit] will … improve that culture sock everyone keep avoiding in this America.
Your fabric art often reflects stories from your own life. What milestones from your life have you felt were most important to include in your artwork?
It’s that front door entry thing for me. The lost traditions of my people.
Are you currently working on any exciting fabric art projects that you can reveal to 360 Magazine’s readers?
Yes, I have my new CD on release. I have a file cabinet packed with poems to be quilted. I have faith the money will come. It’s appears to be easy, but it’s very hard to get paid for a job very well done. This is all fun and relaxing for me. I tell everyone to Just sew your emotions. Thanks 360 Magazine for this new media.