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Design Notes

Black Quilters' Exhibit Is a Vivid Patchwork of Folklore, Tradition

March 08, 2001|CANDACE A. WEDLAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

An exhibit devoted to the traditions and family legacies of black quilters, both women and men, is the subject of "A Communion of the Spirits: African-American Quilters, Preservers and Their Stories," opening March 16 at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. The display, covering more than 5,000 square feet, will include more than 200 photographs, 25 quilts and 40 quilted mattes (individual squares that make up a quilt), and a woodcarving titled "Quilting Bee."

The exhibit, representing at least 25 years of field research, is based on the book of the same title by photojournalist and folklorist Roland L. Freeman, who also is curator of the exhibit. He toured the nation interviewing African Americans about their quilts and their lives for his book.

"Quilts pass down cultural stories--those of family joy and pains," Freeman said. "Whether made as something to keep one's feet warm or as an expression of art, some quilts made by African Americans tell histories that are often not written in textbooks."

The exhibit, which runs through Sept. 3, is included with a general admission fee to the Natural History Museum, 900 Exposition Blvd., Los Angeles. For details, phone (213) 763-3466 or visit http://www.nhm.org.

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The "Award Winning Italian Design 1954-1998" exhibition is open to the public at the IstitutoItaliano di Cultura, the Westwood cultural affairs office of the Italian Consulate. A collection of lamps, chairs, tables, sporting gear and kitchen equipment--all winners of the Italian design award "Il Compasso d'Oro" (The Golden Compass)--will be on display until April 6, Monday through Friday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

The free exhibit is at the Istituto Italiano di Cultura, 1023 Hilgard Ave., Los Angeles; (310) 443-3250. Parking is $3 at 10861 Weyburn Ave.

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For the first time, the Pacific Design Center is opening one design lecture, normally limited to the trade, to the public. The center has set aside 15 seats for the "Interiors of 18th Century France" discussion April 4 by Charissa Bremer David, associate curator of decorative arts at the J. Paul Getty Museum.

Reservations are a must for the free, 10 a.m. lecture: (310) 360-6408. Parking is $3 at the Pacific Design Center, 8687 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood.

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Also, the Pacific Design Center offers a free service called Pacific Design Services, which allows the public to shop at the showrooms that in the past have been closed to it. Members of the public can go through the showrooms alone or with the help of a designer chosen by the Pacific Design Center. For more information, call (310) 360-6404.

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Candace A. Wedlan can be reached at candace.wedlan@latimes.com.

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