On March 26, 2016 University of Michigan faculty and staff gathered at Matthaei Botanical Gardens to view and judge the quilts in the exhibit “A Cloth of Earth and Sky: The Healing Power of Nature through the Eyes of African American Quilters.” The judges convened and discussed the evaluation criteria they used, with several scoring models on hand.  These included:
·         How the quilts fit to the exhibit theme (“the healing power of nature”);
·         How the quilts express the artists’ statements (when a statement was provided);
·         Artistic creativity;
·         Technical craftsmanship appropriate to the artistic engagement.
About the judges and the review process:
Judging took place on Saturday, March 26, 2016. The judges were:
·         ·         Marianetta Porter, Professor of Art & Design, UM Penny W. Stamps School
          of Art and Design.

·    Martha Jones, Presidential Bicentennial Professor, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of History, Afroamerican and African Studies in the College of Literature, Science and the Arts and Affiliated Faculty, Michigan Law School.
·      Debbie Taylor, Assistant Director of the Women in Science and Engineering, College of Engineering
·      Karen Simpson, Student Account, Financial Operations.
·       David Michener, Associate Curator, Matthaei Botanical Gardens & Nichols Arboretum, UM Museum Studies (clerk).
Best in Show: Thorn in My Side, Greens in My Pot
April Shipp

Best in Show

April Shipp, Thorn in My Side, Greens in My Pot
This quilt is exquisite. It is sculptural and complex – and as stunning up close as it is from a distance. Every detail is considered. The sense of dandelion and its powers is evoked – fitting tribute to a folk and healing ‘walk-over-medicine’. The statement is almost poetic and unites untold generations.
Best Fit to Theme
Carolyn Bunkley, Mother Earth

Best Fit to Theme

Carolyn Bunkley, Mother Earth
We love the story and its presentation in the quilt. The intergeneration teaching is personal yet universally understood. Powerful!

Honorable Mention,
(alphabetical order)

Honorable Mention:
Theadra Fleming, 
Bouquet of Flowers

Theadra Fleming, Bouquet of Flowers

Beautifully composed – all the elements and techniques are integrated into a complex harmony. The chevroned borders are a meticulously executed complement. Masterful – and well-tied to the artist’s powerful statement.

Honorable Mention
Shirley Phillips-Horne, Flowers of Life

Shirley Phillips-Horne, Flowers of Life

Stunning – it’s hard to imagine composing this piece, which is so evocative of an Impressionist painting.
Honorable Mention,
April Shipp, 

April Shipp, Ancestree

Remarkable and profound. Powerful spiritual symbols including the bottle tree, shells, and Sankofa. Respectful homage to ancestors and healing nature.

Honorable Mention – Youth

All three of the Student entries.

The judges expressed their gratitude and thanks to all the quilters for their impressive works, many of which will long live in our memories.