Saints: In Memory of Saint Christopher (Who Lost His Magnetism)"
© 1985, Terrie Hancock Mangat. 123" x 99"
Collection of the International Quilt Study Center
Terrie Hancock Mangat is an artist who is generally credited with starting the embellishment movement in quilts. She resides in Valdez, New Mexico.
"Dashboard Saints" is a monumental piece, made especially for the 1986 exhibition, The Art Quilt.
"I had this extremely intense Catholic upbringing. And when I was in grade school, we were taught that the Catholic Church was infallible. And then about the time that I made that quilt, the church was going through a lot of change. They reviewed the list of saints and they decided certain saints weren't really saints. That they couldn't prove that they ever existed, so they deleted them from the list of sainthood.
"So when I heard that, my favorite saints, like St. Valentine, St. Christopher weren't saints anymore, I thought, 'How could they make a mistake like that if they're infallible?'
"What made me really decide to make this quilt was, I had on my car all these little plastic dashboard saints and I was driving with my friend and this car pulled up along side us and they wanted to know what they were, so she pulled one off and she was going to hand it to them but it fell on the ground and that's when I started thinking about that. That Saint Christopher was deleted, he lost his magnetism.
"Most Catholics that I know really can relate to it. You see that Catholic imagery in my work all the time and I love that whole background and that strong Catholic background is a strong foundation for spirituality for me but there's also that part that's so rigid that you have to buck up and say 'Maybe this isn't all so infallible as it seems.'
"Actually, the quilt is very simplistic. If I did this scene again, I'd probably get a lot more detail than this, than I have in here. I guess I just put as much as you needed to see the idea.
"I was a potter for 8 years and I majored in printmaking and ceramics in college, so I didn't start making quilts until I got out of college. But I started collecting fabric when I was five years old so it's been in me that long.
"But as far as art training goes, they sort of pooh poohed textiles as a real art medium. They think drawing and painting are the real thing. So as far as the textiles go, I sort made all that up myself because it was not a real art medium early on.
"People who don't have too much information coming into their head from the outside world, all they do is act directly on what's coming from the heart, that's what appeals to me. That's the kind of work that really excites me."