A Holiday Tradition Ties Past to Present

by admin on December 21, 2012

Another objet d’art in the Object Agency letterpress series is born. This year’s card celebrates the leadership of Abraham Lincoln, whose wise words — spoken in the face of challenge and adversity — are as relevant today as they were 150 years ago.


Our design presents a bold “X” shape, inspired by the Crossroads quilt pattern. This historic pattern (see below) is one of those used in the Underground Railroad Quilt Code — a system of quilted fabric shapes and meanings that secretly informed slaves as they fled to freedom.

Depending on the message to be communicated, one quilt or another was hung on a line or out a window for escaping slaves to see. Since quilts were frequently “aired out” in this way, slave owners were not suspicious when they saw them.

Given Lincoln’s leadership of our country’s fight to end slavery, this Crossroads shape — one created and used by slaves themselves as they struggled for their freedom — is an appropriate holder of his profound words.
Source: Hidden in Plain View: A Secret Story of Quilts and the Underground Railroad


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