Michael Cummings (quilter)

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Michael Cummings
Born Michael Arthur Cummings
(1945-11-28) November 28, 1945 (age 72)
Los Angeles
Nationality American
Education Empire College
Known for Painting, textile arts
Website michaelcummings.com

Michael Cummings (born November 28, 1945) is an American artist and quilter who lives in Harlem, New York.

Early life[edit]

Cummings grew up in Los Angeles, CA, and earned a BA in American Art History at Empire College. He moved to New York in the early 1970s to take a position with the Department of Cultural Affairs and spent his early artistic career as a part-time collage and paint artist. After a work project to create a cloth banner for an exhibition in 1973, Cummings discovered his love for working with fabric and taught himself to quilt by studying the works of local quilters and how-to quilt magazines and books.[1]

Quilting style and career[edit]

Cummings quilts in the narrative, story-telling tradition and is one of a few nationally known male quiltmakers. His work often features bright, colorful African themes and African American historical themes. Major quilt series include the "African Jazz Series" (1990), the "Haitian Mermaid Series" (1996), and the "Josephine Baker series" (2000).

The U.S. State Department has posted several of Cummings’ quilts in its embassies through its "Arts in Embassy" program. In addition, brands such as Absolut Vodka and HBO have commissioned his work, and his quilts appear in the permanent collection of the Museum of Arts and Designs in New York. Whoopi Goldberg and Bill Cosby collect Cummings’ quilts.

Women of Color Quilters Network[edit]

Cummings is a founding member of the Women of Color Quilters Network founded by Carolyn L. Mazloomi.[2]

Works Illustrated[edit]

In the Hollow of Your Hand, Alice McGill author, Michael Cummings illustrator.

Books that include Cummings' quilts[edit]

  • Spirits of the Cloth by Carolyn Mazloomi (1987)
  • Always There: The African American Presence in American Quilts' by Cuesta Benberry (1992)
  • American Quiltmaking: 1970-2000 by Eleanor Levie (2004)
  • Masters: Art Quilts: Major Works by Leading Artists by Martha Sielman (2008)

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Lock, Graham (2008). The Hearing Eye: Jazz & Blues Influences in African American Visual Art. Oxford University Press. 
  2. ^ Hicks, Kyra (2002-12-30). "Black Threads: An African American Quilting Sourcebook". Hardcover. NMcFarland & Company. Retrieved 2013-04-03.