SIA interpretation: Bible Quilt

It’s time for my Style Imitating Art (SIA) interpretation! This go-round, I wanted to highlight an African-American woman artist to help celebrate African American History Month in the United States. In my research, I came across Harriet Powers (1837-1910), an African-American former slave, folk artist, and quilt maker from Georgia. Two of her quilts have survived, including her Bible Quilt, seen below, which is in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. The story behind the sale of this quilt is fascinating, which you can read about in detail here on the Smithsonian’s site.

There’s still time to participate in SIA! All are welcome to participate, whether you have a blog or not. Just send a pic of something you wear inspired by this week’s artwork, and email me a pic by tonight, 10 p.m. PST. I will post the SIA round-up on my blog tomorrow morning.

Librarian for Life + Style | SIA 'Bible Quilt' interpretation

My starting point for inspiration was the bold color choices in Harriet’s quilt. I loved the mix of brown and black tones, so that’s where I began, and I added in bits of cognac and orange. I layered my brown cardigan over my black-and-white striped chevron dress — utilizing the “dress as skirt” trick! — and pulled in cognac and orange with accessories. Cognac accessories perfect for bridging together brown and black. It’s something I’ve done time and time again, as seen here and here.

Librarian for Life + Style | Brown + cognac + black stripes


Librarian for Life + Style | Brown + cognac + black stripes

Librarian for Life + Style | Brown + cognac + black stripes

If you’re a longtime SIA reader, then you know I like to think through the details! I first thought about pairing this outfit with my orange scarf, as seen here. Then I realized this orange-and-black-floral ceramic pendant necklace would bring in the bit of orange from the quilt, and the bold black outlines of the floral pattern would echo the strong lines of the quilt, as well. I chose the bronze + bead earrings because the bronze tied in with the cognac accessories, and the bead detail, to me, tied in with the quilt stitching. Both pieces of jewelry also highlighted additional textures — ceramics and beads — and I chose this inspiration quilt primarily because of its textural (and textile) quality.

Librarian for Life + Style | Jewelry closeup

Librarian for Life + Style | Brown cardigan + jewelry closeup

I wore this comfortable, layered outfit for a heavy teaching day, a day very similar to what I described in this “A Day in the Life of an Academic Librarian” post. It’s the kind of outfit that once I put it on, I didn’t have to think about it anymore. I could just whatever I needed to do during the day — from setting up the library classroom to teaching to helping students on their computers to walking across campus to attend meetings — and not have to think about adjusting my clothing or feeling inappropriately dressed. I was good to go for whatever that work day required.

Librarian for Life + Style | Brown + cognac + black stripes

Librarian for Life + Style | Brown + cognac + black stripes

Be sure to stop by tomorrow for this week’s SIA round-up!

Linkups:  Hello Monday, Monday Mingle, Sophisticated Style, Visible Monday#iwillwearwhatilike, A Lovely Little a La Mode, Shoe and TellConfident TwosdaysTurning HeadsWho’s Wearing What WednesdaysTrendy Wednesday, What I Wore WednesdayThrowback Thursday, Top of the World, What I Wore to Work/Summer StyleThursdays Fashion FilesFashion FridayPassion for Fashion, Fun Fashion FridayCharming Friday, Friday Favorites


10 thoughts on “SIA interpretation: Bible Quilt

  1. Mike

    This is great Jen! I see that you and Salazar were thinking the same thing in wearing your brown boots, which works great for this particular SIA. 🙂 A great interpretation Jen; I like it!

    Depending on when my cameraman (my brother) gets off work today, I may re-take my pictures and submit them to you. It’s nicer outside here and for some reason, my iPod takes better pictures outside (probably because of better lighting) than inside. I don’t like how unclear they are, but if I can’t, I’ll just go with what I sent you earlier.
    See you at the round-up tomorrow!

      1. Mike

        Yes, always a cool thing to happen. 🙂 And thanks again for making that last minute change for my photos. They came out much better!

    1. Jen @ Librarian for Life and Style Post author

      Thanks, Alice! It’s amazing to see what good condition this quilt is still in, and how vibrant the colors are. That’s what I tried to get across in my outfit interpretation, the vibrant colors and patterns that are in her quilt. 🙂


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