QSOS Interview with Ann Holmes

QSOS Interview with Ann Holmes

[addtoany] [space height=”10″] [a few seconds of low conversation can be heard.] Alice Helms (AH): My name is Alice Helms. Today is September 15, 2010. I’m conducting an interview with Ann Holmes for the Asheville Quilt Guild Quilters’ S.O.S. – Save Our Stories project. We’re at a quilting retreat at Lake Logan in Canton, North Carolina and it is 1:50 p.m. Ann, tell me about the quilt you brought today. Ann L. Holmes (ALH): All right. Thank you, Alice. This quilt was important to me in that I realized, with a new technique that I developed from my stained glass background–I’ve been a stained glass artist for over thirty years and I wanted to recreate some of my original designs in fabric but my designs didn’t lend themselves to traditional piecing. And the quilt that I brought today has a lot of points and curves that would be difficult to piece in a traditional way. You could hand appliqué it but that would take a long time. As a stained-glass artist, I was used to building my windows on top of a drawing and I made patterns then that I used glue stick to glue on the glass to cut out my pieces and with a product called French Fuse, I found that I could build my quilt tops without any sewing, turning under the edges using a glue stick and so everything is very direct, everything–you don’t have to reverse anything, it’s exactly the way you look at your drawing with the freezer paper patterns on top. I add seam allowances to all my freezer paper patterns. I’ve developed a magic button, it’s just a button that I had taken out of my button box and added it to the side of my small rotary cutter with 3M double stick tape and what it does, it just gives me a visual aid for automatically adding my seam allowance. When I roll my button along the edge of the freezer paper patterns, it’s automatically–my blade is over about a quarter of an inch, that’s where I’m cutting–so it’s automatically adding seam allowances, it’s an easy way to add seam allowances. It’s not precise for machine piecing, but anything that you turn to the paper, this works very well. And so anyway, when I first started this technique, building right on top of my drawing, I put one continuous piece of French Fuse over my drawing. The French Fuse is an interfacing that dressmakers have used for many years for knits and people that make t-shirt quilts use it as a stabilizer, so I had some on hand and I noticed that you could see through it, it’s soft and it’s drapable, it’s fusible just on one side, so you just put one continuous piece over your drawing with the fusible side up and then you build your quilt right on top of that. You build the whole quilt appliqué style, that I learned from when I took some hand appliqué classes, everything has a seam allowance and as you look at your pattern you say what is in the background, what is in the foreground and as you’re building to the foreground, you just turn under those seams that need to be a finished edge. Anything that is touching something else, that’s going to be a finished edge, that’s what you turn under. And originally when I started this technique, I thought it was just going to be suitable for wall hangings, but this particular quilt is for a twin-size bed and I was very excited to see that’s it’s possible to make a large quilt with this technique. AH: So this isn’t the first quilt you made using the technique. ALH: No, I made lots of wall hangings, smaller pieces, first. And I was motivated to make this particular quilt because the year that I made this, the big quilt show in Paducah, Kentucky had a special award that year, it was a $10,000 prize for a quilt that would be selected for the new heart wing in Kentucky, in Paducah, their hospital. Unfortunately, I didn’t get in the show, but I think it’s a very cheerful and fun quilt and anyway I had fun doing it. But that wasn’t the only reason, I also had a girlfriend whose 25-year-old son had to have a heart transplant. He had had heart problems as a child and as he grew he was taking so much blood pressure medicine, he needed some surgery and his aorta burst and it was very touch and go for a long time so I was also thinking of Ryan when I built this quilt. This quilt has rows of tulips and there’s heart-shaped pieces in the tulip and so that’s why I call this quilt “Tulip Bed with Heart.” [Ryan is well now and a doctor of Radiology.] AH: And does it have a name? A title? ALH: Yes, “Tulip Bed with Heart.” AH: And why don’t you just describe the colors of it too.     ALH: Well, there’s spring colors, because tulips come up in the springtime, so there’s lots of greens and yellows as a background and there’s a green and white checked gingham border. It’s really an upholstery fabric rather than a cotton fabric and there’s lots of pink, because I love pink so there’s pinks and purples and some white in it. AH: And have you gone on to make other large quilts using this technique? ALH: Yes, yes. This was my first large quilt and then I was president of the Asheville Quilt Guild in 2005/2006 and when you retire, they will make you a friendship block and you get to select what you want and I asked them to make me a Flying Geese [block.], just a traditional Flying Geese and the pattern that I asked them to use was something from a Patricia Hair workshop, one of my first workshops that I took as a guild member. Anyway, so they made these traditional [blocks.]–those were hand sewn. [corrected to machine sewn.] But then I designed this queen-size quilt using the squares that they made me. were only six inches–or they were rectangles, six inches by three inches so I made this very large queen-size quilt and I call it “Working Together to Achieve Our Goals.” The center I designed is a five-pointed star and Carol Bryer Fallert is an artist that I always admired. We were lucky in our guild to have many fabulous teachers come to our guild and I loved her Flying Geese where they’re a swish. She was an airline pilot [hostess.]and so she did these curvy swishes with the Flying Geese that were all graduated in sizes and so that’s what I did going into the center of this star. They fed into the center of the star. So the sixty inch center of the queen-size had no sewing in it. Anyway, I built this whole quilt with this technique but I feathered the star. I’ve always admired the traditional eight-pointed feathered star, but I wanted to do this unique so it was a five-pointed star that I feathered and then had her big Flying Geese swish from very tiny to very large on the outside border come into it. Anyway, so the only traditional sewing in that was a six-inch border that went around the center sixty-inch, what you call a medallion or something, with the star in it and then the [outside.] borders themselves. I just designed those with lots of straight strippy pieces but the big curvy swish of the Flying Geese went out to the border. It was a fun project to do and I love scrappy quilts and I made it blue and yellow and orange. It was a perfect color combination. [both talk at the same time.] And people had signed the traditional Flying Geese, people who made those blocks signed those, so it’s essentially a friendship quilt. AH: Very Nice. ALH: Thank you. AH: Okay to get back to “Tulip Bed,” how do you use this quilt? ALH: Well, right now I’m a quilt teacher with my new technique and so it travels with me to have samples of my work. AH: What are your plans for the quilt? ALH: Well, I think my granddaughter will get that at some point, when she’s a little older, she just turned four, so when she’s just a little older. AH: Okay. Let’s talk about your interest in quilting. When did you start quilting? ALH: Well, I’ve always admired quilts. I grew up in Pennsylvania so I had seen a lot of the Amish quilts but I was never motivated to make them. I thought they were lovely but I had no desire. My grandmother–I never actually saw her sewing a quilt but she had made a couple of quilts and she gave us a quilt in a typical quilter’s way, [in.] that she got it done the year after we were married. [laughs.] Anyway, I have her quilt that I still use and it’s pretty threadbare. She used her old house dresses and things like that to make it and so I’ve always cherished that and then when my brother got married many years ago–our mother died when we were young and she grew up on a large farm where the school teachers would go around and stay in different peoples’ homes and this school teacher evidently taught my mother to embroider and so I found some of her blocks that she had embroidered, her sister told me, and so when my brother got married that was the first big quilt that I ever made and I didn’t know what I was doing [laughs.] but I used–the quilt blocks [that.]were like a Star of David and so there were four of those across the pillow and then were two extra blocks down at the foot of the bed and then I duplicated the shape of the Star of David with some calico fabric that was the color scheme, mostly it was a white, like on a sheet [laughs.] and I had big stitches, I did quilt that by hand but– AH: What year was that? ALH: That was probably in, probably in ’70, probably1970. [corrected to 1974.] AH: And you were self-taught? ALH: Oh, yes. And it wasn’t really until I moved to Asheville, North Carolina in 1998 that I became involved with our quilt guild. And I had seen an exhibit of quilts downtown at the Arts Council in their building on Biltmore Ave., yeah, and it was a lovely exhibit and I thought, ‘Well that’s really cool, you know I’m moving to a new place and my kids are all grown,’ and I thought, ‘Well that would be cool,’ and I called Connie Brown and she gave me information about the guild and then I joined up and I really didn’t know very much about quiltmaking until I came to the guild meetings and I was so impressed in how friendly everybody was and so I originally started doing the more traditional things but then I’ve been this stained-glass artist for over thirty years and have stacks of my own designs and I wanted to be able to do some of my own designs in fabric but as I said before, they didn’t lend themselves to traditional piecing and I didn’t know how to go about it and so I gradually developed this technique and now I’m really thrilled because I can do complicated designs without a lot of intricate piecing. So the top has no sewing until after I make the quilt sandwich and then I quilt and stitch all at the same time so it saves time too and it’s just a fun way to work. I mean it’s not real spontaneous, I still plan. As a stained-glass artist, you know you have to plan and make your drawing ahead of time and that’s the way I’ve approached my quiltmaking. But with this technique it’s very easy to make color changes or design changes if you find something that’s not going well you can just easily pull up a piece without ripping out seams and replace that pattern piece or if you want to just draw another shape on it, make another pattern piece. AH: So when you joined the [Asheville.]quilt guild, and you started doing traditional quilting, did you take classes at that time? ALH: Yes, I did. This Patricia Hair was one of the first workshops. I thought what she did was just a very fun technique. Her workshop, I think, was you take a Flying Goose and end up with Duck Soup, or something like that because of the way she made the Flying Geese, you end up with two free cutoffs when you sew your triangles. You take a rectangle, say it’s a three by six rectangle, and then you take two three by three inch squares, and when you sew, instead of sewing right, you draw a line across the corner and then you sew a quarter of an inch on either side of that and then cut on the line, so you have no waste, that’s really cool, so you end up with a freebie and it was those freebies that I had people feather my star with, with the friendship quilt, the “Working Together to Achieve Our Goals.” The star–so the only sewing in that outside feather was the diagonal line which was the cutoff from that rectangle that they had made. So when they gave me that rectangle with the Flying Geese, they gave me the two cutoffs with it and that’s what I used to feather the star. AH: Now, do you still do stained glass? ALH: Oh yes. Yeah. I do commission work so I’ve been fortunate I’ve had a couple of nice pieces around Asheville. I can’t remember what year it was, there was a competition, a design competition, for a new sign for the arts council downtown. They had a call for artists to present a proposal for a new sign. The new building was purchased by someone and they wanted to name the building the Suzanne Marcus Collins building. And originally they weren’t thinking of stained glass at all. They really wanted to put a sign above the window on that pretty herringbone brick they had up there and they had very specific size requirements and stuff but I’m looking at the picture of the front of the building, that black hole and they had those old landscape windows which was just clear glass and during the day it just looks like a big black hole and so I’m thinking to myself, ‘That’s where it needs to be.’ And so I did a proposal, did a lot of work for it and when I turned in my proposal, they said, ‘Oh well we weren’t thinking about stained glass,’ and I said, ‘I realize that but I hope you’ll show it to the committee anyway,’ and so they did do it. But now, I don’t remember how many years later it is now, maybe ten years later, the thing’s been up there about ten years, now the arts council has moved out of that location and a restaurant just went in there so I don’t know what will happen to that window. It’s sad to me because I think it was a nice colorful addition to the downtown scene there. AH: And I’m sure it was built to last. ALH: [laughs.] Of course. AH: The stained glass. AH: So how many hours a week do you quilt? ALH: Well, it just depends what I’m doing. I try to work in my studio, for my whole career, when I started doing stained glass, I would work from 10:00 to 3:00. That seemed to be a good time frame for me when my children were younger, I’d take them to school, go grocery shopping, whatever and get in my studio by 10:00 and by 3:00 they were ready to come home and I was tired because it’s physically hard work because I stand most of the time, you know, to do that. And I have maintained that schedule pretty much when I work on a quilt. I mean there are projects that you get carried away with and work longer hours, but you can maintain a pace for a long time and not get burned out if you just set some parameters. Unless you’re under a deadline crunch or something, but– AH: So is that every day that you work from ten to three? ALH: Not every day, but mostly, yes. If I have a project going, I’m pretty dedicated. I like goals and deadlines. AH: Ann, what is your first quilt memory? ALH: Well, I guess it’s my grandmother’s quilt that she gave us after we were married. We were married–and anyway, I’ve always loved that quilt and it’s well-worn. [laughs.] AH: Okay. And aside from your grandmother, were there other members of your family who were quilters? ALH: No. My mother didn’t sew at all. My Aunt Katherine did teach me some sewing. I was in 4-H and did 4-H sewing projects and stuff and I ended up becoming a Home Economics major, that was my background in college. AH: Oh, okay. How does quiltmaking impact your family? ALH: Well my husband is probably my best promoter. He’s excited about what I’m doing and quilting, you know it’s a softer thing, it’s really almost easier and not quite as dirty as working with stained glass. [laughs.] Stained glass can be really messy and once you make a window, it’s hard to–you have to have a place, really, to put it. I mean it’s hard to put it in a box and transport it. You can, but you know it’s very fragile and a quilt, you can just fold up easily and transport. My husband–right now he is working at the National Science Foundation in Arlington, Virginia. We’ve been up there for two years and we’ll be there another year and I made him a quilt for his office and it’s from an Escher design with the flying geese, because that’s the way our life has been because we’re going back and forth from Arlington to Asheville, North Carolina and so I named the quilt “Are We Coming or Going?” because the geese are going in both directions. That was a fun one to do and people come in his office all the time and admire it and I’ve gotten a couple commissions from that quilt hanging up there too so that’s kind of cool. AH: And how about– ALH: See he’s always encouraged me and my kids have always grown up with me doing something and so, ‘Mom’s working on another project.’ [laughs.] AH: Have you made them all quilts? Your kids? ALH: Oh surely. Yeah. A couple different quilts. AH: But none of them are interested in quilting? ALH: No, my daughter loves history and anything to do with art but she’s not so much interested in doing it. We did make a quilt for her [together.]one time that was just like Chinese Coins, just straight pieces, that she’s actually got hanging on her wall in Egypt right now. She is in Cairo, Egypt teaching and we used that to decorate her apartment because she had this big wall space and it’s very colorful, behind her dining room table. AH: Have you ever used quilts to get through a difficult time? ALH: Well, I’m going through a tough time right now, my son is going through a divorce and it’s very nice to have something creative to focus on. I think quilts are very healing and you know, it’s just nice to put yourself in, submerge yourself in a project. AH: What do you like most about quiltmaking and what do you like least? ALH: Well, I love the challenge of designing and figuring out colors, at the same time, it can be very frustrating and challenging. It’s very–it’s worth trying to do hard things sometimes, making those difficult choices, but it’s very satisfying. The thing that I have always struggled with is the machine quilting. When I first started to learn to do machine quilting, I thought, ‘I’m not going to be able to do this at all,’ but with this technique I have gradually learned how to control my machine and I’m using a zigzag stitch instead of all straight stitching and for some reason, with the zigzag stitch, because there’s no sewing in my project, what I have to do–now it’s all turned edge, under edge, so I don’t want to satin stitch anything but I use a small zigzag stitch, it’s like one point five or one point six width and it’s just all free motion, I use the free motion foot and so I just have to guide it around all the individual shapes. Now, when you get to the top of a curve, like the top of these hearts and the zigzag doesn’t go in the right direction, I switch it to straight stitch and just with very light hand movements, just do that zigzag until I get over it. So I plan my work. With this quilt, there’s a lot of vertical shapes in it, you see, so I did most of the vertical stitching first and then you just turn the quilt and then stitch in the background as a horizontal. So you just kind of have to plan your work, you just look at your quilt and figure out, ‘Which is the most practical way for me to proceed?’ But that was the struggle, was figuring out to do the machine quilting. AH: I know you mentioned the Asheville Quilt Guild, but are there other quilt groups, or art groups you belong to? ALH: Well, right now, living in Arlington, Virginia, I was a member of the Potomac Fiber Arts Gallery where they did quiltmaking, felt making, all kinds of weaving and knitting and anyway, it’s lovely to be up there and to be part of that organization. They’re a guild, like our guild, where it’s open to anybody, and then there’s the gallery part of it where you’re juried into the gallery part and then there’s a gallery space in the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria, Virgina. There are seventy members of that gallery space and it’s a cooperative so each work a couple days a week [corrected from week to month ] and they put a new show in every five weeks, they take everything out and put new work in and so that’s been a fun thing to be a part of that group and it’s stimulating to be around other creative people. AH: Have advances in technology influenced your work? ALH: Well, yes, I mean I use a sealing iron when I make my quilt tops without any sewing, I’m using this French Fuse which is fusible on one side and so I use a small sealing iron, it has like a five-inch head, with a very pointy top, it’s actually used in modeling, when people make model airplanes and stuff like that but it’s a perfect appliqué iron, and because it’s got a very pointy top, it maintains its heat, so I don’t know how long French Fuse has been around, dressmakers have used it for a long time but it’s a tricot fusible interfacing, so I mean I don’t think that was around a long, long time ago and I use glue stick. I use Spray Baste to layer my quilts so I don’t have to pin them or baste them, I use 505 Spray Baste, has been a very good product for me because it doesn’t have a lot of odor like some of them do, you’re still supposed to work in a well-ventilated area but you know the smell is not bothersome at all. But it holds our quilts together, that is amazing, that is a huge time saver to not have to pin it all and then you know you worry about all those puckers, and to take all the pins out, so that’s a wonderful advancement. AH: I agree. Describe your studio. ALH: Well my fabric studio is my family room in my house. When we moved to Asheville, North Carolina, we just bought an old ranch-style house but it has nice rooms, it had a nice size living room and a nice size family room and I don’t need all that living space, you know, and my kids are gone so in the beginning I was just going to sew in a little corner of that family room, one end of it was going to be my sewing studio and then it was going to be like a computer room and family room, I had a sofa and all that in there. But [then.]I made a stained-glass window, it was a commission for some people in Asheville, a very large window called “Oriental Garden.” It’s eight feet wide and seventy-nine inches tall and there were fourteen feet of transoms over the top, and after I did that window–it turned out quite nice, it’s in a private home–and I was thinking I would love to use that design to try to make a quilt. But at the time, I didn’t have my technique yet. I didn’t quite know how to do it so I’d read books by–oh my goodness–Ruth McDowell. I love her work, but it was very difficult piecing but I did my sky, my mountains and my water with all that curved piecing that she does, but it was very tricky. But after I did all the background, then I still had all the flowers and the trees and the rocks to add and so I had seen an article in Quilter’s Newsletter Magazine, Sharon [Malec.] it was like in [October.] 2002, I had seen an article where it was called “Freestanding Appliqué” where she constructed the face of a cat and she did it with freezer paper, much like I’m doing my thing, but she assembled this unit, off the background, and then applied it to her background. You know, she just assembled it, turning under edges using the freezer paper as a guide, you know for putting the pieces together. And so that’s the way I did that for “Oriental Garden” that’s the way I fashioned my flowers and the rocks, as individual units and then appliquéd them to the background. But that started me thinking, ‘Why can’t I just build the whole quilt that way? That’s like what I’m doing in stained glass, is putting all these individual pieces down but then my solder holds it together.’ And so anyway, I found I had some French Fuse, I was going to do something–my father had passed away and I had all his ties and those are bias cut and it was Laura Casey, in our quilt guild, that said, ‘You need French Fuse as a stabilizer for that.’ And so I had some on hand and I noticed, ‘Well my goodness, you can see through this.’ So that’s really where I got this idea to just start building this and in the beginning I was a little nervous about it all falling apart, so I would just do a little section at a time. I would build it on the French Fuse, a few pieces at a time, but then I’d take it to the sewing machine and stitch. Well, in 2005, I had bunion surgery that didn’t heal properly and I was off my feet for a long time and I didn’t know if I was going to get my quilt done for the quilt show and so I just took a chance. I thought, ‘Well, why am I sewing it twice?’ So I thought that would save me a lot of time, rather than taking it and sewing it and then you make your sandwich and then you have to sew it and quilt it [laughs.] I thought, ‘Well, why am I sewing it twice?’ So that was really the beginning of it, the desire to finish my quilt on time, I just took a chance and I did “Rainbow Falls,” that was the first quilt that I did this whole technique without any sewing in it, and that quilt was thirty inches wide by eighty inches long. And there’s a neat story about that quilt. I had it in our quilt show and then at the time I had booth space downtown [Asheville.] at the Woolworth Walk and I had it displayed downtown and also another little, smaller wall hanging that I had made because I was president that year, the theme–I had made a smaller, like mini-quilt with a Mariner’s Compass in it that was the theme for that year and both of those quilts were stolen from the Woolworth Walk and I listed it on Lost Quilts.com and almost two years later, I get a package at my front door, and it’s “Rainbow Falls” returned to me and it was kind of an anonymous letter saying that this lady had found it in a thrift shop in Asheville and my label was still on the quilt, it was in perfect condition so it was really kind of a miracle that I got that back because it’s– AH: Amazing. ALH: Yeah. It was very special. [laughs.] AH: I wanted to ask you–I know you teach quilting –so I wanted to ask you to talk about that a little bit. ALH: Well I’ve enjoyed quiltmaking very much because as an artist, most of my career I’ve worked by myself, you know it’s wonderful when I have a big project to hire people to help me and I’m able also now to hire some people to help me with my quiltmaking because I can be more efficient if there’s–you know you can get lots more done if you can hire somebody to help you. But, I have loved going out and teaching. Quilters are generally very friendly and eager to share and want to learn so it’s a very good environment and I can make more money that way, honestly because you know I would struggle so hard for a two hundred and fifty dollar stained glass piece that somebody would want and you struggle for days or a week and now I can go out and give a lecture for two hundred and fifty dollars, so that’s pretty cool. AH: And how many times a year do you teach? ALH: Not very often. Right now, sometimes it’s twice a month, sometimes it’s once a month. I’m going to teach in Atlanta, [Georgia.] October the 4th, and then I’m in Hendersonville [North Carolina.] November so then I don’t have anything for a while and next June at the Quilter’s Unlimited in Arlington, Virginia, I’m going to be teaching at their big quilt show. But I am in the process of writing a book, I’m working on stuff for the American Quilter’s Society, they have given me a contract to write a book and I’m going to try to go for a May deadline, I don’t know if I can reach that goal or not, but anyway, once my name gets out like that, perhaps I will be busier as a quilt teacher. And I don’t want to be completely swamped, to do it once or twice a month, that would be nice, you know. I think I’d like that and that’s the wonderful thing about this career, there’s so many quilters that are beyond retirement age, I don’t need to retire just yet, you know it keeps you young, I think, to be able to go out and continue to share what you love. AH: That’s great. Ann, I meant to ask you this earlier, but I was wondering whatever became of the quilt you made for your brother. ALH: I actually remade that quilt. My brother and his wife used that for many years and several years ago, they gave it back to me because they didn’t want to throw it away but it really was in tatters. Where they had it on their bed, the sun faded it all on one side and the fabric was fraying and stuff, so they didn’t want to give it away, but they didn’t know what to do with it, they didn’t want to throw it away so they gave it back to me and that same year, I was in a little fiber bee here in Asheville and they had a recycling exhibit, that was the theme, recycling and so I decided to recycle that quilt, so what I did was just take my rotary cutter, I just cut out the good parts and made a plan. There were just three of mother’s embroidered pieces that were okay, the other three were no good, there were six originally and so I redesigned it so that it would be like a large wall hanging and anyway, it turned out pretty cute, it’s hard to describe it in words but I recycled it. I just took the rotary cutter and sliced it up and then on my table, I just butted the joints together and then cut red fabric and made little sashing pieces and that’s the way I joined it and then put a new back on it, that helped hold all the back together and then requilted it. Originally it was hand quilted with my big looping stitches [laughs.] and now I stitched, machine quilted around the original hand stitching so anyway, it turned out pretty good and so they have it back, I gave it back to them. [Both talk at the same time.] And they’re happy. AH: And it’s still bed-sized? ALH: No, no, no. It’s smaller, it’s like a wall hanging. It’s not as large as a twin. It’s a large wall hanging. Maybe it’s thirty-six wide by, I don’t know, sixty long or something like that. AH: Well that’s interesting. ALH: And three of my mother’s original blocks [are.] in it still. AH: What do you think is the biggest challenge confronting quiltmakers today? ALH: Well, with my new technique, you know a lot of people are set in stone, you know they have very specific ideas but then there are a lot of people who are open to new ways of doing things, so sometimes you know, people just kind of turn up their nose and you know–but I think there are other people that are saying, ‘Well you know, that’s pretty cool.’ And now, as quilters are getting older and having a hard time with holding a needle in their hand, you know that small needle, you get arthritis in your hand, I think some people have enjoyed this technique and then being able to finish it on the machine. AH: I think we’re very close to the end of our time, so is there anything else you want to add about quilting, your quilting story? ALH: I am just very grateful to all the quilters that have come before me. I got into quilting–we were out in California in 1990/1991. That was the first time I ever walked into a quilt shop and learned about the rotary cutter. That’s revolutionized quilting, man. [laughs.] AH: It sure has. ALH: And I picked up my first quilting book which was by Donna Slusser, it was watercolor quilts. So I was very attracted to those because they looked like a Monet painting to me, dabs of color and line and so I spent a couple years just cutting up scraps, you used very large bold prints then and you cut them into two inch pieces, so you can kind of fracture the design and then you have to arrange them by color so I spent a long time doing that but I have done several quilts like that and it was fun but it was very time consuming. AH: Okay. Well, I think this concludes the interview then. ALH: All right, thank you very much. AH: Thank you and it is now 2:32 p.m. ALH: Okay, thank you. [laughs. ] I hope I did all right. AH: You were wonderful. Visit Ann Holmes’…

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Welcome to our new home!

The Quilt Alliance is pleased to announce the launch of our new website! Please, take a look around, make yourself at home, and let us know what you think. I first learned about the Quilt Alliance in 2002 when I was a graduate student in Textile History and Quilt Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. While attending the annual American Quilt Study Group seminar, I met a board member of the Alliance for American Quilts, as the organization was then called. She was attending AQSG to train members in how to conduct oral history interviews for the recently launched Quilters S.O.S. – Save Our Stories oral history project. As I soon learned, the Quilt Alliance was a virtual hub for quilts, and its website—one of the first sites dedicated to quilts on the World Wide Web—was known as “The Center for the Quilt Online.” Much has changed in our digital world since our founders established the Quilt Alliance in 1993. At that point, the World Wide Web was in its infancy. Today, the Quilt Alliance is far from the only website dedicated to quilts. In fact, the World Wide Web has changed quilting as we know it, helping foster communities of quiltmakers; teach new generations of quilters the art; and disseminate quilt knowledge, images, and stories on a scale unanticipated in 1993. Those outside the quilt world may assume quiltmaking is a dying art—just as some have claimed since at least the 1840s! But a mere glimpse at any number of quilt focused communities, organizations, or businesses indicates strongly otherwise! And much of this growth has transpired online. The Quilt Alliance is now one of many centers for the quilt online, each part of the thriving world quiltmakers and quilt enthusiasts inhabit. We are glad to not be alone in this digital world, and are in fact in very good company. We hope our new website will help us continue to play a vital role in this digital quilt network. We have strived to harness new tools to share our amazing projects with you and hope you’ll be patient with us as we iron out all the kinks (or should I say, press all the seams flat?) of our new platform. Enjoy, and do come back soon! Posted by Janneken Smucker President of the Board of Directors, Quilt Alliance jsmucker@wcupa.edu…

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In Memory of YP

Beloved quilt world legend Yvonne Porcella died on Friday. She will be greatly missed by her family and friends and by so many in the quilt world–her fellow artists, her students, her colleagues at SAQA and the Quilt Alliance. Yvonne (or YP as many called her) was documented by the Quilt Alliance and its partners via projects like Quilters’ S.O.S. – Save Our Stories (Q.S.O.S.), Go Tell It at the Quilt Show!, Quilt Treasures and The Quilt Index (see excerpts below). The vibrancy of her work and her spirit were exciting and magnetic, and the YP brand was easy to spot–bright red and/or pink and always a black and white element (be it a quilt binding or a pair of socks, pants or glasses). Many of our sister organizations have also documented and honored Yvonne. (Find links to these resources at the end of this post.) In 1989, Yvonne founded the Studio Art Quilt Associates organization and remained committed to its mission until her death. In 1998, she was inducted into the Quilters Hall of Fame in Marion, Indiana. That same year, Yvonne was named the 5th recipient of the Silver Star Award at the International Quilt Festival in Houston, Texas. Yvonne was very supportive of the Quilt Alliance’s newest project, Go Tell It at the Quilt Show! which debuted in 2012. We recorded two Go Tell It!’s with Yvonne in 2014: the first during SAQA’s 25th anniversary conference in Alexandria, Virginia and the second at the International Quilt Festival in Houston, Texas. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OGwsRz842TE https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9I9vGT9_7bI Yvonne’s life and work was documented by the Quilt Treasures project in 2002. Quilt Treasures, a joint project of the Quilt Alliance, Michigan State University Museum and MATRIX Center for Digital Humanities and Social Sciences, documented the stories of a limited number of notable individuals – quiltmakers, designers, business people, collectors, scholars, publishers – who were instrumental in moving the 20th century quilt revival forward in some significant way. Yvonne’s Quilt Treasures Web Portrait includes a photo gallery, biography and timeline, and features a Mini Documentary video and Interview clips (below): Yvonne Porcella Mini-Documentary https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MFF16T0xtMw Interview clips https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-t6Ego1-UgE   As a founding board member of the Quilt Alliance, Yvonne contributed to many aspects of the organization’s projects and initiatives, including co-founding the Alliance quilt contest. In 2006, she worked with Karen Musgrave to launch this annual fundraising and documentary effort, and since then, artists from the United States and around the world have created and donated 872 quilts to support the Quilt Alliance. For the past nine  years, Yvonne has made and donated one or more of her own quilts to the contest. Here are those quilts, now documented both on the Quilt Alliance website as well as in The Quilt Index.

https://www.facebook.com/quiltalliance/videos/10150715585954134/   Yvonne’s struggle with cancer was long and daunting. As a former nurse, she knew her body and her illness with precision. She managed to stay incredibly positive in the face of her prognosis, and maintained a lightness of being and sense of humor that fueled her fight. When Yvonne had to cancel her presentation at the Quilt Alliance’s 2015 Quilters Take Manhattan event, it was not her battle with cancer that prevented her from attending. She called me, laughing, about a week before the event to explain that she had dropped a giant bottle of ketchup on her foot and her doctor wouldn’t let her fly in that condition. She even texted me the photo of her foot as we talked, so we could mock the situation together with proper visual aides. Keeping up with the latest technology, while never losing touch with handwork was a central theme in her optimism and excitement for the future. In this Quilters’ S.O.S. – Save Our Stories interview conducted on November 29, 1999, Yvonne talks about anticipating the Twentieth Century. Interviewer, Jeri Baldwin: What have you done with thinking about the Twentieth Century in your work and your teaching? What do you think you’ll change, or will you want to change, or what do you want to leave the same? What are you going to take into the Twenty-first Century as a quilter and as a teacher? Yvonne Porcella: I’m still going to take the passion I have for doing it by hand. I’m going to take the passion of creating something totally for myself, that pleases myself, that comes from myself. I am not interested in scanning it on the computer. I am not interested in coloring it on the computer. Because to me the reason I am an artist, which was very difficult for me to even reach that point where that I can verbalize it because I was trained as a nurse. I was trained as a mother, as a grandmother and to be an artist was to say to people, ‘Well, I think I am an artist although I am not academically trained.’ But I have a passion and I know that if I don’t do the work that I’d be unhappy. So for me the twenty-first century will be similar to the twentieth century because I will continue to work until I can no longer work. The wonderful part of being an artist is that the wonderful ideas never stop so the concept of the creativity that will be produced in the–however long I am going to live is very exciting to me. On behalf of the board, staff and membership of the Quilt Alliance, I want to send my condolences to Yvonne’s family. Rest in peace, dear friend, colleague and treasure. You inspired us to be our Best. Please leave your own remembrance of Yvonne below in the comments. Those who would like to make a tax-deductible gift to the Quilt Alliance in Yvonne’s honor can make a secure donation online via credit card or PayPal here: http://www.allianceforamericanquilts.org/support/donate.php Or mail a check, payable to Quilt Alliance to: Quilt Alliance 67 Broadway Street, Suite 200 Asheville, NC 28801 Please indicate “In Honor of Yvonne Porcella” in the memo or description line. You can contact us here: admin@quiltalliance.org or 828-251-7073 More online resources about Yvonne Porcella: Studio Art Quilt Associates Quilters Hall of Fame The Quilt Show.com Yvonne Porcella’s website San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles Twisted Sister (blog of Jamie Fingal) Pokey’s Ponderings (blog of Pokey Bolton) Video interview with Yvonne recorded by Lisa Ellis in November 2015 C&T Publishing Posted by Amy E. Milne Executive Director, Quilt Alliance…

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Story Spotlight Sunday

Sometimes the quiltmaker isn’t the only one who has a story to share about a quilt. At this year’s International Quilt Festival, Susan Stewart shared her quilt “Blue Plate Special”, winner of the Superior Threads Master Award for Thread Artistry. Can you believe almost all of the color on this quilt is machine embroidery?! After Susan shared her story, her husband Mark did a Go Tell It at the Quilt Show! interview about his experience living with a quilter, traveling to quilt shows, and the quilt world in general. Thanks so much to Susan and Mark for sharing two sides of the same quilt’s story! [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uI5ia3wPNlM&w=560&h=315] [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pjKkeldPOU4&w=560&h=315] You can watch more quilt stories from the International Quilt Festival on the Quilt Alliance’s Youtube page. Posted by Emma Parker Project Manager,  Quilters’ S.O.S.- Save Our Stories…

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Reprise post: “Logging Peter to Play Paul”

Today we are reprising a July 7, 2014 post: On this day in 1877, the first lawn tennis tournament was held at Wimbledon, then a suburb of London. The event, hosted by the All England Croquet and Lawn Tennis Club, attracted twenty-one amateur male competitors. In 1884, the Lady’s Singles was introduced at Wimbledon. An unknown quilter hand and machine pieced and hand quilted this Robbing Peter to Pay Paul quilt around 1885 in Pennsylvania. From this record: “The back is made of two different fabrics. The center one has a brown ground with light brown, pink, rose, and red figures, roller printed. It depicts male and female tennis players playing mixed doubles, a women reclining in a hammock with a dog, 2 children playing, parrot tulip, birds, roses, ferns, trees, morning glories, etc.” The quilt is now in the collection of the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan, and it was documented in The Quilt Index as part of the Michigan Quilt Project. View this quilt on The Quilt Index to find out! Read more about its history, design and construction. Be sure to use the zoom tool for a detailed view or click the “See full record” link to see a larger image and all the data entered about that quilt. Source: http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/wimbledon-tournament-begins Posted by Amy E. Milne Executive Director, Quilt Alliance…

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Enter the Not Fade Away Conference Ticket Giveaway!

If you are still pondering a quilt getaway weekend for this July–look no more! The Quilt Alliance’s biennial educational and inspiration conference, Not Fade Away: Sharing  Stories in the Digital Age will be held on Friday, July 17 and Saturday, July 18, 2015 at the Floris United Methodist Church in Herndon, Virginia. Come to this fun and inspirational conference to: • Hear 2015 Keynote Speaker: Marin Hanson–“One Hundred Good Wishes Quilts: Commemorating and Documenting Adoptions from China” • Learn how to self-publish a book about your own quilts • Listen to curators and historians discuss how family trees can provide clues to quilt history • Make creative quilt labels with quilt artists Leslie Tucker Jenison & Michele Muska • Meet the people doing cutting-edge oral history projects on today’s quilters • Hear about the history and future of the Quilt Barn Trails project • Learn how to use the unique and deep resources of the Quilt Alliance to inspire your own work • See the 2015 Sacred Threads Exhibition – one-day admission is included in conference registration • Join Quilt Alliance board members, conference presenters and other attendees for an optional Fundraising Dinner on Saturday night to honor outgoing Alliance president Meg Cox.  Full details on Not Fade Away can be found on the Quilt Alliance website here. Tickets are available for the full conference, Friday only, Saturday only (full day or morning only) and even a Home Ticket option that gives you access to most conference sessions via videos distributed after the event. Quilt Alliance members receive a discount on tickets. Not Fade Away attendees can also take advantage of this great Sacred Threads sponsored bus trips: Museum Bus Tour on Friday, July 17 (9:00 am – 5:00 pm). Tickets: $75/person Click here to register for these tours separately on the Sacred Threads ticket site. Ticket Giveaway Details: Three winners will be chosen at random to receive a pair of tickets* to attend Not Fade Away. Tickets do not include the Saturday night Fundraising Dinner. Deadline to enter: Sunday, July 5 at 12:00 Midnight EDT. Names will be drawn on Monday, July 6, and the winners will be announced on the Quilt Alliance Facebook page by 5:00 pm EDT on that day. Click here to enter the Not Fade Away Ticket Giveaway!  …

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Meet All of the “Animals We Love” Contest Winners

On Monday, we announced the winners of “Animals We Love,” the Quilt Alliance’s 9th annual quilt contest. We were thrilled to receive so many stunning, well-crafted, and story-rich entries this year. When Alliance board members e-gathered last spring to conceptualize the 2015 theme, we agreed that we wanted to offer a topic that would have broad appeal. We wanted a subject that quilters bond over when they’re not bonding over quilting. I shared with the group that some of our most popular posts on the Quilt Alliance Facebook page have featured my cat, Frazier Duane. Lightbulb: Animals We Love! We kept the theme open-ended as we have with all of our contests. The only requirements were size (16″ x 16″) and “quiltiness” (had to be made of 3 layers stitched together). Animal-adoring quilters from 23 U.S. states and 6 countries mailed us their gorgeous artworks. International entries came from Australia, Belgium, Canada, Sweden and the United Kingdom, and several entries are the result of a collaboration of two or more quilters. The Grand Prize for the contest is the highly sought-after HQ Sweet Sixteen sit-down longarm machine package (machine, table and bobbin winder) by Handi Quilter, Inc. Professional judges Marianne Fons, Mark Lipinski and Paula Nadelstern chose the Handi Quilter Grand Prize Winning quilt, “Giraffe Nocturne,” by Nancy S. Brown of Oakland, California. Nancy said about her win:  I first learned about the “Animals We Love” contest through “The Quilt Show” newsletter. I have always loved animals and I thought making a quilt would be a nice way to support an organization that does such great work for the quilting world in preserving the stories of quilts and quilters. I was just hoping that the quilt would raise some money for The Quilt Alliance at auction. So imagine my absolute surprise and delight when I received the call from Amy Milne informing me that I won the grand prize. Wow!!! What an honor—especially given all of the wonderful and varied quilts in the contest. I had a hard time choosing my own favorite for the member’s vote. I have always been a hand quilter but have often admired the beautiful machine quilting that is being done now. So with the prize of the Handi Quilter Sweet Sixteen I am looking forward to trying my hand at something new. I have heard many great things about this particular machine. I can’t wait to start this new adventure! Thanks to Handi Quilter for being such a generous sponsor in this contest. Thanks also to all of the quilters who donated their time and talent in a show of love for animals and support for the Quilt Alliance. And a very special thanks to The Quilt Alliance for all of the hard work that you do in promoting quilting and in saving our heritage by preserving our stories. –Nancy S. Brown    Watch and listen to a Quilters’ S.O.S. – Save Our Stories interview with Handi Quilter Grand Prize winner Nancy S. Brown conducted on June 10, 2015 by Quilt Alliance staffer Emma Parker here. Here’s the full report from our judges: Many thanks to all who participated in the “Animals We Love” competition—you charmed, delighted, and intrigued us with your many and varied reflections on the animal kingdom. The three of us were pleased to have the opportunity once again to get on the phone together to “ooh” and “aah” as we clicked back and forth on the various entry images, enjoying them so much, and gradually narrowing down our choices. This year’s Grand Prize goes to “Giraffe Nocturne.” All three of us had this particular entry squarely among our top saves. We love the maker’s fabric choices and skilled use of needle-turn applique. This is a work where everything—the pieced background with its distant moon, the composition of the giraffe in the foreground, and the many details such as the animal’s expressive eye—works together perfectly. Congratulations to the artist! We were glad to have the opportunity again this year to each select a personal Judge’s Choice. Here are our picks: Mark Lipinski’s Judge’s Choice pick: “Bzzzzz” Because the quiltmaker took a creative risk and interpreted the competition’s theme in a totally different way and style than the other entrants, Bzzzzz immediately caught my attention and interest. The pieced work, with its clean and graphic design shapes, was appealing to me. Blending a combination of the modern aesthetic (more than average negative space, solid and contrasting color combos, a sense of minimalism) with traditional piecework (matching points, traditional quilting, a variation on a traditional Lone Star quilt pattern) was both interesting and appealing. The use of the grey and black pieced strips in the bees’ wings adds movement and depth, while the soft hued binding only complements the totality of the piece rather than abruptly stopping the eye with a more predictable choice of bright yellow, black, or grey. Frankly, there was nothing that I didn’t enjoy about this entry. Paula Nadelstern’s Judge’s Choice pick: “Olive, Olive You <3” Let me set the record straight: I do not love guinea pigs. But I love this whimsical, thoughtful little quilt. I love the furry figure with her moony, mish-mashed eyes. I love the sweet green patchwork ground; I think it would be time well spent to examine the work up close to see if any swatch was used twice. I’m impressed with the carefree, impulsive effect which masks deliberate technical choices. I vicariously share the maker’s fun of slipping something macabre (i.e. the skeleton) into the sweetness, and I’m impressed with the use of pink that doesn’t mar the realism. I exalt in its fabric-ness. Like me, this maker clearly thinks, “When it comes to fabric, more is MORE!” Marianne Fons’ Judge’s Choice Pick: “Grandpa T and His Salad” A high contrast, hot-pink-and-black plaid fabric as the background for pictorial applique would generally be a disaster, but in this artist’s hands it worked perfectly. That crazy, bold fabric adds whimsy and humor to the drama taking place on this quilt, i.e., the turtle’s laborious journey toward lettuce, broccoli, and tomatoes. I love the way Grandpa T’s little hind foot breaks the edge of the quilt on the left side. The fabrics the maker chose for his shell are perfect, and the quilting on the shell panels add great realism. The shading under Grandpa T’s shell and the luncheon plate, the big-stitch quilting in the background, and the loose-edge applique used for the vegetables all work together beautifully. The big risk this artist took really paid off for me! As judges, we’d also like to send shout-outs to five other entrants. We spent a lot of time viewing their quilts, enjoying them, making the difficult decisions of just which quilt would be the Grand Prize winner and which three would be our personal choices. We want these makers to know their terrific quilts were in the running! Judges’ Shout-outs to:

Finally, big thanks to Amy Milne for getting us all organized and together in one (virtual) spot, as well as to Lisa Ellis who designed the fantastic software (ArtCall) we used for the judging process. It was great! Best regards, Mark Lipinski, Paula Nadelstern, and Marianne Fons Members’ Choice Awards Quilt Alliance members also weighed in on the contest entries, and their votes determined the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and Honorable Mention winners. It was a tough choice and even required a run-off election to determine 2nd and 3rd place! Here are the Members’ Choice winning quilts and their makers: First Place: “Bzzzzzz”  I am truly honored to have so many Quilt Alliance Members and Mark Lipinski select my mini quilt, Bzzzzzz, as their favorite. As a member and a quilt donor, I am proud to support the Quilt Alliance and the important work they do. Second Place: “Eye See My Beloved”            Syrie and I are so privileged and thrilled that our quilt “Eye See My Beloved” came in second place in the Quilt Alliance “The Animals We Love” Quilt Contest.  We love what we do and are happy that we are able to help such a worthy cause.  The Quilt Alliance works hard to have the story of all our quilts remembered and we at Fine Art Quilting make our quilts with a story to tell.” Your generous award will definitely go a long way.  We can’t wait to see all the wonderful Moda Fabrics, Aurafill thread and Simplicity/EZ Quilting Accessories, with a big expression of our thanks to your sponsors. We hope your fund raiser brings in the needed funds for you to continue all your hard work in preserving and educating others about quilts and their stories. Third Place: “Innocence”  I am so thrilled about winning the 3rd place award and an Honorable Mention for my quilt, Innocence, which features our little mischievous kitten! And, I am grateful for an opportunity to give back to the Quilt Alliance.  I appreciate the work that they do to preserve our stories and our history as quiltmakers.  It is an honor!   Members’ Choice Honorable Mention Awards   You can view all of the “Animals We Love” contest quilts on the Quilt Alliance website here and on The Quilt Index here. We’d like to thank all of the artists who donated quilts for this year’s contest! After a national exhibition tour that began on June 8 at the Utah headquarters of Handi Quilter, Inc, and includes stops at American Quilter’s Society and Original Sewing & Quilt Expo shows, the quilts will be sold via an online auction in November, 2015.  The auction is one of the Alliance’s most important annual fundraisers and provides crucial funds that support the operation of projects like Quilters’ S.O.S. – Save Our Stories and Go Tell It at the Quilt…

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Q.S.O.S. Spotlight

We’re back this Sunday with a short excerpt from a fantastic Q.S.O.S. interview from our archives with quiltmaker Adrienne Yorinks. Adrienne was interviewed in New York City in 2002 and her interview covers everything from to animal rights, abstract expressionism, kids and quilts, and gender. In these excerpts, Adrienne shares a bit about her then-latest work, and how men and women alike have reacted to her quilts: This is called “Tartan Number 3: A Midsummer’s Daydream.” And I’m doing a series of tartans. I’ve found it a fascinating format to use because it allows me to focus on different ways I work and has a built in way of “grounding” the piece. What I mean by this is if you look at the definition of Tartan in the dictionary, basically it is a woolen cloth with a woven pattern of straight lines of different colors and widths crossing at right angles. So it makes a perfect structure to do the kind of piece I want to work on at that time. I’ve been called an abstract expressionist by a few people viewing my work, and I am most moved myself by the abstract expressionist. My favorite artists are Mark Rothko and Robert Rauschenberg; Rothko for his incredible ability to capture mood in color and Rauschenberg for his sense of collage. I have always loved collage. My inspirations when I work are color, fabric, and subject matter. This piece really is about color. And I love summer. So, I just had to do a piece that was exciting, in reds and oranges. It’s to me a very happy piece. I will use cotton, a lot of vintage fabric, and anything else that strikes me. There’s a lot of silks and mixed blends that I’ve used together in this piece… My work has always been liked by men and women and I have been thrilled. It’s taken seriously. It’s not just looked over. So, I reach both genders which I’m excited about. I’ve reached all age groups and economic groups and I’m really excited about that. I think it’s unfortunate that there is a gender issue still in this country. But, I think there are so many issues in this country. I think women’s work–which sewing always was–even though there are some incredible art quilts even from the 1800’s. It is just not considered true art. I’m not answering this really great. I just want to be seen as an artist and then you can go into that I’m a woman and that I’m Jewish, that I’m brought up in New York. That’s okay, but I would like to be considered an artist first. To go back–the wonderful experience at Citigroup Center was I was seen by everyone that works at Citigroup Center and I had incredible comments, like they didn’t want the Pineapple quilt which was in this exhibit to leave the building. They really wanted color, they loved it. And also I had from my illustration work for Stand for Children, I had the elevator man come up and kiss my hand and say, ‘Thank you, thank you, thank you for your work. You have made us so happy the last couple weeks.’ And I was touched by that more than most of the other comments that I touched somebody as an artist, and it didn’t matter. He might not have kissed my hand if I was a guy, but he really loved my work and I think that is important. You can read more quilt stories on the Quilters’ S.O.S.- Save Our Stories page on the Quilt Alliance site. Posted by Emma Parker Project Manager,  Quilters’ S.O.S.- Save Our Stories…

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Memorial Day Quilts

Today is Memorial Day in the United States, a day to honor the men and women who lost their lives while serving in the armed forces. Throughout their history, quilts have been used to remember, comfort, and honor servicemen and women and their loved ones. From quiltmaking projects that gift quilts to grieving families, to quilts that capture the history of military sacrifices, today we’re sharing a few stories of quilts as memorials to those who served. Dianne Higley shared her experience making quilts to comfort families who lost loved ones in Iraq: I did a quilt for the Home of the Brave project too that the DAR did or is doing… I think it was maybe last year or the year before they did that project, the Home of the Brave. They asked each of the chapters to donate quilt squares or quilts and they would go to the families of the young men and women killed in Iraq, as a memory quilt. They used what is called an Album pattern where they had a little white square in the middle where the people could sign their names and the ladies in our chapter put their names in those little squares before we sent it in. Back during the Civil War where this pattern came from, they would have the family members sign their names and then they would send the quilt off to war with their soldier and a lot of these soldiers carried those quilts all the way through the war, but not many of them survived. When a soldier was killed, he would be buried in his quilt. Quilts have come a long way. Back then they were made out of scrap fabric what was left out of clothing that could no longer be worn, but now we go to the store and we buy fabrics and make them. Carole Lyles Shaw created a quilt to honor African-American servicemen and women. This quilt is part of a series of quilts and other mixed media art work that I am creating to honor the memories of ordinary men and women who served in the American Armed Forces, particularly in the early part of the 20th Century and most of the work features images and documents and so forth from 1960 or earlier… I happen to have been born in 1948 so in my lifetime literally we moved from a legally segregated army to a desegregated army although for many years there was still lots and lots of discrimination and limitations of roles that African American men and women could play. I downloaded the first page of Truman’s executive order and I superimposed over that these words, ‘They fought and died for American freedom before they had their own’ and those words, those are my words and to me it just captures once again the honorable service that African Americans have given since the Revolutionary War obviously, even though at the time of the Revolutionary War we were still enslaved legally. Following the Civil War we were legally free but not full citizens. That took many, many more years to happen, and now we have an African American supported by Americans of all colors and walks of life… Making quilts can also help heal the grieving. Sandra Branjord shared a quilt that she made 10 years after the death of her son, who had served in the US military.  [youtube…

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Thank you, Clara Barton!

On this day in 1881, the American National Red Cross was founded in Washington, D.C. Founders Clara Barton and Adolphus Solomons started the organization to provide humanitarian aid to victims of war and natural disasters in affiliation with the International Red Cross, for whom Barton had worked during the Franco-Prussian War. Quiltmaker Ann Holmes from Asheville, North Carolina, made “Thank You Clara Barton” as her entry to the Quilt Alliance’s “Home Is Where the Quilt Is” contest in 2012. Ann’s artist’s statement: “It is amazing all that she accomplished for our country. Establishing a public school; “Angel of the Battlefield” during the Civil War; spent four years to identify over 22,000 missing soldiers; established the American Red Cross and served as president for 23 years; at 83, president of National First Aid Association. She certainly patched many lives together! Her work was not considered women’s work and never had the right to vote. Clara died in 1912.” View this quilt on The Quilt Index to find out (just click on the image above). Be sure to use the zoom tool for a detailed view or click the “See full record” link to see a larger image and all the data entered about this quilt. Posted by Amy E. Milne Executive Director, Quilt Alliance…

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