A professional textile conservator with a background in art, Ren Riley has been collecting, studying, and enjoying African American quilts largely made by women in the American South for over forty years. The collection has been exhibited around the world at major institutions such as New York's Museum of Modern Art, and now much of it resides at The Smithsonian as part of the permanent collection.
Riley has herself been an avid quilter throughout these years as well, having studied art at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Making perfect lines and following traditional patterns is not Riley's goal; rather, she allows herself to work without rules and convention to create unique abstract quilts that are in conversation with the rich legacy of her own historical collection.
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