As a passionate collector of African American Improvisational Patchwork Quilts, I have researched and collected not only many fine examples of quilt makers creations, but also their histories and legacies. Sherry Byrd is one of the quilt makers that I feature prominently. She is a fifth generation quilter from Freestone County, Texas, and one of six generations of craft persons in the Edward Ned Titus family lineage. Ned was a slave who was transported to Freestone county in 1852, from South Carolina by the Simeon and Nancy Lake family.
I am attracted to and fascinated by Sherry's fluid execution of improvisation in her one-of-a-kind artworks and her use of bold, electric colors. Her works are akin to abstract modern art paintings. They command the audience's attention and hold them captive for long periods of time.
I met Sherry in the San Francisco Bay area around 1985, bought some of her quilted pieces, and included them in my now famous traveling exhibit and catalog -- "Who'd A Thought It: Improvisation In African American Quilts". This exhibit traveled to 28 venues in 20 states nationwide, and included the Smithsonian. It was a groundbreaking exhibit in the study of African American quilts.
Since that time I have featured Sherry's works in several additional exhibits and catalogs, including "NO TWO ALIKE",1998 "ACCIDENTLY ON PURPOSE",2006, and "WILL THE CIRCLE BE UNBROKEN",2006.
Sherry's quilts are truly astounding. Not only is she talented, but she comes from a uniquely talented background of quilt makers. Her mother, Laverne Brackens was recently (on July 23, 2011) awarded a (NEA) National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellowship. This is the highest award that the U.S.Federal government awards to folkartists.
I highly recommend her quilts and other creative works to anyone who is serious about collecting African American Patchwork.
Researcher/Curator/Collector of African American Quilts