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Exploring Influences on Native American Quilting Aesthetics

Sept - Oct 2022
Cambridge, USA

Team of 3
Role - Data Analysis & visualization | Interaction Design

Digital Humanities | Data visualization | Interaction design

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Project  Motivation

Quilts were first introduced to Native American or Indian communities by European settlers seeking to "civilize" them through European home-making skills. However, these indigenous communities were intrigued by the bed coverings and made them their own by incorporating their cultural aesthetic and stories through symbolism and patterns into their quilts. 

This empowering story proved to be a starting point for our project. 

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Credits: Smithsonian Institution, Photographer: Reverend James O. Arthur

Research Questions

  1. How have quilting aesthetics evolved through time across Native American tribes?

  2. Are there any visual relationships in quilting aesthetics, specifically in color and motifs across various Native American tribes and cultures beyond?

  3. Using generative technology, how might we explore alternate quilting aesthetics or new, hypothetical forms of connection between tribes? 

Data Visualization

Our data visualization tool helps you explore the evolution and influence of various cultures on the aesthetics of Native American quilts. It also serves as a speculative tool that allows you to explore alternative aesthetics informed by technology, new forms of knowledge transfer, and interconnectedness between tribes. 

 

There are three main views: Explore Color, Explore Symbolism and Generate a Quilt. View the video below to see how it works.