Nancy Crow

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Nancy Morrison Crow (born 1943) is an American art quilter and fiber artist.[1] She is one of the leading figures in the development of the art quilting movement of the 1970s and 1980s, and is also known for her development of certain techniques to allow more spontaneity and expression.

Early life and education[edit]

Crow was born in 1943 in the small town of Loudonville, Ohio. She is the youngest of eight children.[2]:22 Crow studied ceramics and weaving at Ohio State University where she earned a BFA in 1965 and a MFA in 1969.[3]


In 1979, Crow began to concentrate seriously on quilt making. Her emphasis from the beginning was on graphic power of color. In her early quilts, she juxtaposed traditional quilt patterns like the Log Cabin block with vibrant color combinations. Her later works use her own asymmetrical designs. Crow is one of the leading figures in the development of the art quilting movement of the 1970s and 1980s. In the 1990s, Crow developed freeform cutting techniques allowing for more spontaneity and personal expression.[4] She says of her work:

The purpose of my quilts is to make something beautiful but, at the same time, my quilts are a means of expression, representing my deepest feelings and my life experiences. In addition, my quilts are all about how I see color and color relationships, how I see shapes, and how I see line and linear movements. They are also about complexity, sadness, and hope.

— Nancy Crow[5]:vii

In 1979 Crow co-founded of the Quilt National exhibitions, a juried biennial exhibition of contemporary quilt art.[6] In 1994, she established a teaching workshop on the farm where she lives, near Baltimore, Ohio.[7]

Quilt series[edit]

  • Newe (1980)
  • Bittersweet (1980–1982) In 1979 Crow and her husband moved to a 50-acre farm west of Baltimore, Ohio. Bittersweet is a series of 22 quilts produced during the three-year period after she and her husband moved to the farm.[2]:50
  • Tramp Art (1983 – )
  • Passion (1983–1985) A series of five quilts Crow created while she cared for her dying mother.
  • Yellow Crosses' (1985)
  • Lady of Guadalupe (1985–1988)
  • Jacob's Ladder (1986 – )
  • Amish Paisley (1987 – )
  • Mexican Wheels (1987 – )
  • Double Mexican Wedding Rings (1988–1992) This series combines the traditional Double Wedding Ring block with innovative changes in the scale of the blocks and her dramatic use of color.
  • Color Blocks I (1988–1991) Color Blocks I comprised three quilts: Color Blocks #1, Color Blocks #2, Color Blocks #3 (1988–1989). These three quilts explore visual complexity. In 1990 Crow returned to the Color Blocks series and created Color Blocks #4, which explores the square as a motif.[5]:35
  • Bow Tie (1991–1995) This series of 13 quilts explores the traditional quilt block Bow Tie in the context of abstract expressionist painting and asymmetrical shapes. Using simple shapes and simple formats, Crow explores the figure/ground relationship.[5]:52
  • Chinese Souls (1990–1994) In September 1990, Crow visited Xi'an in Shaanxi Province in China. While there she witnessed an episode of police brutality. Trucks filled with young men were driven around the city by the police with the sirens blaring. The young men had committed crimes and were scheduled to be executed. Crow created a series of quilts in which the circle represented the souls of the men scheduled to be executed, color threads symbolized the ropes around their necks.[5]:69
  • Constructions (1995–present) This series comprises more than 75 quilts. They mark Crow's ongoing explorations of shape and the actions of sewing, cutting and re-sewing to form complex patterns.[1]

Awards and honors[edit]


Public collections[edit]

Crow's works are in the following collections:


  • Nancy, Crow (1990). Nancy Crow, quilts and influences. Paducah, KY: American Quilter's Society. ISBN 9780891459446.
  • ————— (1992). Nancy Crow : work in transition. Paducah, KY: American Quilter's Society. ISBN 9780891459958.
  • ————— (1995). Gradations. Saddle Brook, NJ: Quilt House Pub. ISBN 978-1881588122.
  • ————— (1995). Nancy Crow – improvisational quilts. Lafayette, CA: C & T. ISBN 9781571200044.
  • ————— (2006). Nancy Crow. Elmhurst, IL: Breckling Press. ISBN 1933308036.
  • ————— (2008). Crossroads : constructions, markings, and structures. Elmhurst, IL: Breckling Press. ISBN 978-1933308197.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Koplos, Janet; Metcalf, Bruce (2010). Makers: a history of American studio craft. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. p. 422. ISBN 9780807834138.
  2. ^ a b Crow, Nancy (1990). Nancy Crow, quilts and influences (1st ed.). Paducah, KY: American Quilter's Society. ISBN 9780891459446.
  3. ^ Hornung, David (September 6, 2016). "It All Came Together". American Craft. Vol. 76 no. 4. American Craft Council. Retrieved June 28, 2017.
  4. ^ Wolgamott, L. Kent (April 5, 2008). "Nancy Crow is an artist at work". Lincoln Journal Star. Retrieved 27 June 2017.
  5. ^ a b c d Crow, Nancy (2006). Nancy Crow. Elmhurst, IL: Breckling Press. ISBN 1933308036.
  6. ^ "The First Quilt National '79". The Dairy Barn Arts Center. Retrieved 28 June 2017.
  7. ^ "Art Retreats". Nancy Crow. Retrieved 28 June 2017.
  8. ^ "UNCW Living Treasures" (PDF). University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Retrieved 28 June 2017.
  9. ^ Korn, Amy; Douglas, Vickie (2011). "Nancy Crow". In Waldvogel, Merikay; Perry Webster, Rosalind; Montgomery, Marian Ann J. The Quilters Hall of Fame: 42 Masters Who Have Shaped Our Art. Voyageur Press. pp. 67–69. ISBN 978-0-7603-4705-8. Retrieved June 28, 2017 – via Google Books.
  10. ^ "ACC College of Fellows". American Craft Council. Retrieved 28 June 2017.
  11. ^ "Nancy Crow". PBS. Retrieved 27 June 2017.
  12. ^ "Biography". Nancy Crow. Retrieved 28 June 2017.
  13. ^ Shaykett, Jessica. "Nancy Crow's Yellow Crosses". American Craft Council. Retrieved 27 June 2017.
  14. ^ "Nancy Crow: Works from 1988-2008". Carnegie Mellon University. Retrieved 27 June 2017.
  15. ^ "Fuller Craft Museum in Brockton to display quilt exhibit". The Enterprise. Retrieved June 28, 2017.
  16. ^ "Bittersweet XII". American Folk Art Museum. Retrieved 28 June 2017.
  17. ^ "Chinese Souls #2". Indianapolis Museum of Art. Retrieved 28 June 2017.
  18. ^ "Color Blocks I". Museum of Arts and Design. Retrieved 28 June 2017.
  19. ^ "Bittersweet XIV". Museum of Arts and Design. Retrieved 28 June 2017.
  20. ^ "Crucifixion". Smithsonian American Art Museum. Retrieved 28 June 2017.

External links[edit]