In Focus: Tina Williams Brewer

Tina Williams Brewer


Tina Williams Brewer was born in 1949 in Huntington, West Virginia and currently lives and works in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She graduated from Columbus College of Art and Design with a Bachelor of Arts and has been creating art for more than forty years.

Known for her story quilts, Williams Brewer uses symbolism, textile, and fabrics to explore African-American history, generational healing, and the spirituality of her culture.

Tina Williams Brewer’s work has been widely displayed both locally and internationally including exhibitions at the United States Embassy in Ghana and the American Craft Museum in New York City. Her work has been recognized by the American Arts in Embassy Program for more than twenty years, and she is the recipient of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Governor’s Awards for the Arts.

Her work is held in the permanent collections of the Westmoreland Museum of American Art, The State Museum of Pennsylvania, and The African American Museum of Dallas. This past year, her work was featured in Three Artists (Three Women), a spotlight exhibition of women artists at the University Art Gallery in Pittsburgh.

Tina Williams Brewer
Energy to the West – Life Manifested in Stitches, 2020
Cotton, wax batiks from Ghana, mud cloth, shibori, rayon, parachute fabric and silkscreen. Surface design is hand and machine quilted with beads, sequins and French knots
38 x 38 inches
96.5 x 96.5 cm

 “Through my work I tell a story, carrying messages from ancestors. My work is a celebration of the profound joy of gathering with loved ones and the strength of spiritual connections. It is an expression of the deep pain of racism and the pathways forward, the resilience of African American families and the light that lifts them up. My intention is to give dignity to human suffering, finding rhythms that are both mind-stirring and soul-soothing.”

Tina Williams Brewer
Hail to the Fire of Life, 1994
Moroccan voile, Jamaican lace, domestic rayon, hand dyed batik, and tulle; surface design is hand quilted, with beads, reflective threads and French knots
44 x 35 inches
111.8 x 88.9 cm


Williams Brewer’s pieces are primarily hand-quilted and collage mixed-mediums including photo transfers, printmaking, and hand-beading. Each piece is embellished with symbols drawn from African nations and rich colorful fabrics with patterns that allude to both cultural meanings and personal history. Her process creates complex, layered compositions that function as maps investigating her heritage, the African diaspora, and the links between past, present, and future.

Hear Tina Williams Brewer discuss her work ‘Hail to the Fire’ in the video below.


Tina Williams Brewer
Divine Plan, 2003
(Hand-pieced) African and domestic fabrics
90 x 50 inches
229 x 127 cm
Collection of Westmoreland Museum of American Art

In 2019, Tina Williams Brewer’s quilt Divine Plan (2003) was acquired by the Westmoreland Museum of American Art. The work references Mother Nature and the celestial world. Hear Chief Curator of the Westmoreland Museum, Barbara Jones, speak about Divine Plan (2003) below.


Tina Williams Brewer
Darlings of Rhythm, 2005
Fabric: domestic cotton, African wax print from Ghana, Peruvian woven fabric, domestic taffeta, shibori, rayon, Indian silk, domestic embroidered rayon, domestic ticking, flocked tulle. Surface design includes hand embroidery, hand quilting and machine stitching, sequins and buttons. Photo transfers by Tina Williams Brewer and Charles “Teenie” Harris, with permission. Threads: metallic, cotton, silk, and iridescent.
41 x 38 inches
104.1 x 96.5 cm
Tina Williams Brewer
Diaspora Series: Cry In, 2014
Silk screen print, one on silk and one on organza. Surface design includes hand embroidery, hand quilting and machine stitching. Threads: cotton and silk.
33 x 51.5 inches
83.8 x 130.8 cm

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