Making Piece with Pele.

On This Day in History Quilt for March 8:

On this day in 1669 Mount Etna, a volcano on the island of Sicily in modern-day Italy, began to erupt. More than 20,000 people were killed during multiple eruptions over the next few weeks. Today it is the most active volcano in Europe and its eruptions sometimes cause airplanes to detour in order to avoid passing through ash clouds.


Beth Thomas Kennedy of Austin, Texas made this quilt, titled “To Pele, Goddess of Volcanoes,” in 1989. Her work was documented during the Texas Quilt Search Project, and included in the book (and exhibition by the same name) Lone Stars: A Legacy of Texas Quilts, Vol. II, 1936-1986 by Karoline Patterson and Nancy O’Bryant Puentes.

The quiltmaker notes:

On a trip to Hawaii, I collected some small pieces of lava found on a Kaui beach to bring back as a memory of a dream trip to paradise. A short time later, while on Oahu, I learned about Pele and her fury with those who take lava from its resting place. Not wanting to offend Pele, I returned the small lava rocks to the sea with an apology, asking her to return them to their proper place. After deciding to make a series of quilts on matriarchal rituals, I knew Pele would forgive me if I made her a quilt. It is also vivid reminder of a beautiful place and time.

View this quilt on The Quilt Index to read more about it’s history, design and construction. Be sure to use the zoom tool for a detailed view.


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Amy Milne headshot

Posted by Amy E. Milne
Executive Director, Quilt Alliance

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