Barbara Jordan © Julie Hallquist

Barbara Jordan

Julie Hallquist

Tucson, Arizona, USA

Artist Statement

I love the challenge of using commercially printed fabrics and threads to paint a picture and tell a story in my art quilts. I also enjoy surface design techniques such as stamping and screen printing to add more texture to fabrics. Printing directly on fabric is another proven method to directly communicate a phrase or idea.

The time period in which Barbara Jordan made her mark was far more reliant on the written word and print media such as newspapers and magazines. We didn’t yet have 24 hour news channels. I wanted to communicate this, and the fact that her strong oratory skills would be a significant advantage, through the use of excerpts of her speeches and textual embellishments in the background, suggesting newspaper stories.

Barbara was from Texas, beginning her political career there, and ending her career there teaching at the University of Texas. So the state of Texas figures prominently in the quilt, represented by the state flag overlaid on the silhouette of the state.

Barbara Jordan was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which was printed directly on fabric and enhanced with fabric markers. My hope is that people unfamiliar with her life story and achievements, upon viewing this quilt, would become curious enough to explore further and learn more about a very powerful woman of conviction.

Woman’s Groundbreaking Accomplishment

Barbara Jordan, lawyer and civil rights activist, was the first black woman elected to the Texas Senate and the first black woman elected to the Congress from the Deep South.


Raw and turned edge machine appliqué, stamping, free motion embroidery, free motion quilted, printing on fabric


Commercial cotton fabrics, cotton, polyester and metallic threads, acrylic ink