Aundra McCoy grew up in a family of seamstresses and quilters, and her mixed media quilts reflect this lineage. Aundra’s mother taught all her children how to sew by hand and machine. Her great-great aunt and grandmother all quilted in the home where Aundra lives to this day. Aundra has memories of sitting under the quilting frame pushing needles back through the quilt and listening to old folk tales in the middle bedroom, which is now her sewing studio.
Raised in the historic African American community of Orange Mound, Aundra seeks to carry on this distinct legacy of quilting. Historically, quilts were created to provide warmth or celebrate a marriage or death in the family. Today, she says, “African American quilts are a reflection of the diversity of innovative techniques, medium, or improvisational thought.” Aundra considers herself a contemporary quilter who incorporates both traditional techniques and innovative styles. She explains, “I have a spiritual and moral obligation to pass down what I have mastered in the textile arts. African American quilt making is an American art and is as rich and diverse as we are as a people. By my efforts in sharing my knowledge in this field I am passing on the old songs of memories, promises, blues and faith.”
Aundra’s quilting form uses traditional techniques with a twist of contemporary artistic expression. Her quilts incorporate symbols and various fibers such as African cloths, American print fabrics, and hand-dyed fabrics. Aundra says, “My goal in this medium of layered, stuffed, and stitched fabric, hopefully gains a new perspective, a new appreciation and understanding of the nature of the art quilt as we approach the new millennium.”
Apprentice Andree Glenn met Aundra in 2013 and has stayed connected through her business, the Mustard Seed Sewing Studio. Already an accomplished seamstress, Andree is excited to learn creative quilting, natural dyeing, applique, hand beading, and fabric collage from Aundra. “We must remember that when we are born, we are all placed in some kind of fiber and when we cross over we are again enshrined in cloth.”