Don’t let your quilt story fade away.

Our Mission

Quilt Alliance is a nonprofit 501c3 organization established in 1993 with a mission to document, preserve, and share our American quilt heritage by collecting the rich stories that historic and contemporary quilts, and their makers, tell about our nation’s diverse peoples and their communities.

In support of this mission, the Alliance brings together quilt makers and designers, the quilt industry, quilt scholars and teachers, and quilt collectors to further the following goals:

  • to promote the understanding of the quilt as an important American grassroots art form
  • to share stories and documentation about quilts with a broad public
  • to educate Americans about the importance of documenting quilts and quiltmakers so that their stories will not be lost

Our Founders

Karey Patterson Bresenhan

Karey Patterson Bresenhan is president of Quilts, Inc., which owns conferences and expositions worldwide, including International Quilt Market and International Quilt Festival (Houston, Chicago, and Long Beach). A former quilt shop owner, she built the Festival into Houston’s largest convention and was named one of Houston’s top 50 woman-owned businesses. Co-founder of Quilt Alliance, the International Quilt Association, and the Texas Quilt Association, she is the author or co-author of eight books, including Lone Stars: A Legacy of Texas Quilts, Volumes I and II, AMERICA: From the Heart, I Remember Mama, and Creative Quilting. She has created and curated many traveling exhibitions in the U.S. and abroad, including the influential Journal Quilt Project. She is on the national board of SAQA-the Studio Art Quilt Associates-has been named to the Quilters Hall of Fame and honored as one of 100 leaders in quilting in the world. She received her M.A. in Journalism from the University of Texas.

Nancy O’Bryant Puentes

Nancy O’Bryant Puentes is executive vice-president and director of publications and public information of Quilts, Inc., which conducts trade and consumer expositions in the quilt and related industries. She is a founding director of the Texas Quilt Search and the Texas Sesquicentennial Quilt Association and is the co-curator and co-author of the museum exhibitions and two award-winning books that resulted from these surveys. With a long-standing interest in quilt care and conservation, she planned and coordinated the nation’s first quilt conservation and restoration seminar and laboratory in 1984, and wrote the first book to address quilt care for the layman, First Aid for Family Quilts. She is a co-founder of the International Quilt Association and editorial director of its journal, “Quilts: A World of Beauty,” a co-founder of Quilt Alliance, and the author of numerous articles on quilts and quilting for consumer and industry publications. She holds a degree in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin.

Eunice Ray

Eunice Ray is a founding director of The Kentucky Quilt Project (1981) and the Quilt Alliance (1993).

Shelly Zegart

Shelly Zegart, a founding director of The Kentucky Quilt Project (1981) and Quilt Alliance (1993), curates exhibitions here and abroad, lectures and writes on all aspects of quilt history and aesthetics. She was an organizer of Louisville Celebrates the American Quilt (1992), at which one conference focused on developing the Quilt Index. The Art Institute of Chicago acquired Zegart’s private quilt collection in 2002. Recent consulting and writing projects include: Quilts of Gee’s Bend publications (2002); Mosaic Textiles: In Search of the Hexagon, Rouen, France (2003); and “Myth and Methodology: Shelly Zegart Unpicks African-American Quilt Scholarship,” in the January / February 2008 issue of Selvedge. Zegart was among eight individuals featured Quilting Transformed: Leaders in Contemporary Quilting in the United States – The 20th Century and Beyond. (2007)An exhibition and catalogue,Shelly Zegart: Passionate About Quilts – Challenging Assumptions, Creating Change, Making Connections, at the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft,Fall 2008, highlights her 30 years of contributions to quilt understanding. Zegart was selected for Leadership Louisville (1985); was named a Woman of Distinction by the Louisville Center for Women and Families and an Associate Fellow of the International Quilt Study Center (2004); and in 2007 was elected to the board of the area World Affairs Council. Zegart holds a B.A. in Education from the University of Michigan.

Our History

In 1993, recognizing the need to centralize information about quilts and quiltmaking, four women joined forces to create Quilt Alliance. This project drew together Shelly Zegart and Eunice Ray of The Kentucky Quilt Project, and Karey Bresenhan and Nancy O’Bryant Puentes, corporate officers of Quilts, Inc. and founders of the non-profit Texas Quilt Search. With the establishment of The Alliance, the founders combined their shared dedication to quilts with their extensive experiences shaping the quilt industry and quilt scholarship in this country. In 1981 the Kentucky Quilt Project began to develop scholarship, publications, and exhibitions about quilts and their creators, jumpstarting the state quilt project movement. Quilts, Inc. has been the primary catalyst behind the development of the international quilt industry and has worked for more than 40 years to foster the public appreciation of contemporary and historic quilts around the world.

The Quilt Alliance’s founders soon gathered a distinguished group of quilt scholars, artists, experts, and enthusiasts to develop a vision for gathering, disseminating, and facilitating the interpretation of the great body of information about quilts and quiltmakers. The Alliance developed projects that tap into the full potential of quilts and inform the study and understanding of history, the arts, and culture.

In its short history, the Quilt Alliance has made significant progress toward its goals. It has launched a series of partnerships and projects that document, preserve, and share the stories of quilts and quiltmakers, including The Quilt Index, Quilters’ S.O.S.-Save Our Stories, Boxes Under the Bed™, Quilt Treasures, and Go Tell It at the Quilt Show!The Quilt Alliance has built on the enthusiasm and collaborative spirit of the late twentieth and twenty-first century quilt revival, drawing inspiration, leadership, and resources from the many individuals and organizations that have worked with quilts and quilt study for more than 30 years. Organizations such as the International Quilt Association, the American Quilter’s Society, the American Quilt Study Group, the National Quilting Association, state and regional quilt documentation projects, various grassroots guilds and associations, and others have developed a critical mass of interest, information, and resources that support the vision of Quilt Alliance.