January 9, 1939
Springfield, South Carolina
Peggie Lois Hartwell, born January 9, 1939, in Springfield, South Carolina, is a fourth-generation African-American quilter and educator. She currently lives in Summerville, South Carolina, where she is Chairperson of the Summerville Chapter of the Women of Color Quilters Network. Their focus is to teach school-age children the art and tradition of making story-quilts.
Peggie Hartwell grew up on a farm with a large, extended family. The women were skilled quiltmakers, and the men were accomplished practitioners in the ancient tradition of oral storytelling.
During the 1940s and 1950s, southern African-American farmers moved in large numbers to northern cities. Hartwell completed her education in urban New York City.
Hartwell studied with legendary dance master Syvilla Fort of New York City. She then spent nearly eight years performing Jazz, Modern Primitive and Modern dance techniques throughout Europe and the Middle East.
After her performance career ended, she obtained a position at one of the oldest brokerage firms, Tanenbaum Harber Co. of New York City.
Hartwell developed as a quilt artist during this time. Her work is mostly autobiographical, drawing upon the continuous exposure to folk-life customs and traditions she had in her youth.
A collection of her work can be found at the Museum of Arts and Design.
In 1996, Hartwell received a grant from the National Quilting Association, Inc. to create a ten quilt series that recorded her South Carolina childhood and farm experiences.
Education and career
Hartwell has a B.A. in Theater from Queens College, Queens, N.Y. She has a Certificate of Completion: Artists in Classrooms, Developing Strategies for Working with Students with Disabilities from S.C. School for the Deaf and Blind, Spartanburg, S.C.. She is on the Roster as a Master Artist for Opus Inc., Hartford, CT. She is also on the Roster as Artist in the Classroom for the State of South Carolina.
"A Quilter’s Spirit," YMI Culture Arts Center, Ashville, NC, 2000.
"Vanished Images," New York Founding Hospital, New York, NY, 2000
"Threads of Faith," Beach Institute for African American Art & Culture Savannah, GA 2006
"Threads of Faith," Cincinnati Museum Center, Cincinnati, OH, 2005
"Threads of Faith," Gallery of the American Bible Society, New York, NY, 2004.
"Sixth Annual Quilting Weekend," Frost Valley YMCA, Claryville, NY, 2002
"Stories in Art," Middlebury College, Middlebury, VT, 2001
Quilted Conscience is the story of 16 Sudanese girls who landed with their families in Grand Island, and is “an uplifting film about finding a new life through art”, which made its premier on, June 14, on NET1/HD. Filmmaker John Sorensen documented the girls’ journey as new Americans as they participated in an arts project with a local quilters guild, guided by nationally known African-American quilt-maker, Peggie Hartwell.
Hartwell is also featured in The Cloth Sings to Me (1995) and The Spirit of the Individual (1997); both are about textile artists in New York and produced by Esperanza Martinez and Linda Roennau.
- Roland Freeman, A Communion of the Spirits: African-American Quilters, Preservers, and Their Stories, Nashville, TN: Rutledge Hill Press, 1996, pp. 166-68.
- Interview with Peggie Hartwell Archives of American Art, retrieved 10 July 2002.
- Hartwell Collection Museum of Arts and Design
- Kyra E. Hicks, Black Threads: An African American Quilting Sourcebook, Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, Inc., 2003, p. 101.
- Close Ties Mountain Express, retrieved March 29, 2000.
- African American Visual Artist Database, Artist Bibliography
- Quilted Conscience to be shown on NET, The Independent, retrieved Saturday, June 8, 2013.
- Black Threads, p. 103.
- The Carousel, PBS Reading Rainbow, 1997.