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GA Welcomes Kathryn Jenson White and her Amazing Quilts

Undercover Art/Undercover Artist

Kathryn Jenson White


Kathryn's amazing quilts are hanging in the Arts Center gallery for the month of October. The Art Across the Academy team welcomed Kathryn to GA with a reception held in her honor.

Bio from the Artist

After a 30-year career as a professor of journalism and mass communication, I retired in 2012 as professor emerita from The University of Oklahoma.  I taught and researched gender in media leadership and taught 30 years of courses in film criticism, magazine/newspaper feature story writing, documentary film and many other media-related subjects while always working as a film critic and feature writer for magazines and newspapers.


Artist Statement

As I was writing a magazine article in 1987 about the strong resurgence of interest in quilting and in the spirit of immersion journalism, I took a beginning quilting class. I was hooked.  After a few years, I hyphenated my fulfilling career as a wordsmith (professor of English, professor of business writing, professor of journalism, magazine and newspaper feature writer, lifestyle humor columnist and film critic) with my newfound passion to become a quilter-writer, a quiltsmith who focused on alphabet quilts, TEXTiles!

Since 1995, I have made about 75 alphabet quilts of four sorts: traditional alphabets with a twist, alphabets of cultures other than my own, alphabet quilts in various quilt genres (EPP, yoyos, feed sacks, flannel, wool, etc.) and A2Z quilts (which contain a theme-driven word for each letter of the alphabet). My work runs the gamut of quilting techniques: pieced, traditionally appliqued, blanket stitch appliqued, collaged and embroidered. The range in size from wall hangings to full-sized quilts. And, of course, I always have about 10 WIPs (works in progress)!


The concept of a fixed set of letters, signs, symbols, glyphs or characters that create ever-changing cultures, make relationships, lead to great science and art, etc., makes me think of a line from John Donne, the great 17th century Metaphysical poet. “The Good-Morrow,” he says of the faithful love he has for his beloved that it “…makes of one little room an everywhere.” His beloved contains all the travel and the variety and the constant delight of discovery that fools believe a committed relationship forces one to give up.  Alphabets of all sorts are those little rooms that are everywhere. Or, to call up upon and refocus the wisdom of another poet, Walt Whitman, alphabets contain multitudes.  My committed relationship to the very specific quilt genre has nourished me in its variety since I finished my first one in 1995.