Friday, June 29, 2012

My Quilting Family

Over the years, I have had the chance to meet and become friends with so many wonderful people through quilting.  They are one of the greatest rewards of over fifteen years of quilt making.  I'd like to honor and recognize them in this photo gallery.  When people ask me how I learned to quilt, I say "self-taught," but mostly it was by asking questions of very helpful and generous shop-owners, clerks and fellow quilters.  I continue to make and sell quilts only with the talents and good graces of others.  Thank you all for being a part of my life!

 Louisiana Bendolph, Gee's Bend Collective quilter
Shanghai, China, September 2012
Though my time together with Louisiana Bendolph was limited to our 10-day trip to Shanghai via the US Embassy-sponsored exhibit, "The Sum of Many Parts," the influence of that trip and time with Louisiana will be lifelong.  I have been a huge fan of Gee's Bend quilts since first learning about them, perhaps through the US Postal Service stamps.  In 2006, I flew to San Francisco specifically to see the Gee's Bend exhibit at the De Young Museum, never imagining that I would someday have the honor of exhibiting with, let alone getting to know, Louisiana - a member of the Gee's Bend Quilt Collective.  During our visit to Shanghai, I was more than once moved to tears when talking to Louisiana about the roots of why either one of us make quilts.  Though our lives could not be more different, we share a common bond through quilting. 
As Louisiana says, "I quilt to be free." 
 
Virgie Hoffman, retired hand-quilting broker
Virgie is nearly single-handedly responsible for my quilting career.  I met her one hot day
in the late 1990's in Macomb, IL.  She and her relatives were stopped with car trouble at a gas
station where I was filling up.  I overheard one of them say they were from North Dakota.  I had
spent some time living and working on a friend's ranch in North Dakota and wanted to extend
my hospitality to them as a former resident of that state.  We went across the street to the
Dairy Queen and as we visited I learned that Virgie was from Dyersville, IA and for years
she'd taken in quilt tops and doled them out to three different hand-quilting groups.  The groups met in three of several astonishingly beautiful Catholic churches that rise up out of the rolling farmland northeast Iowa.  I met Virgie at a turning point where I knew I could not continue
to hand-quilt all my own work.  I would have dozens and dozens of quilts quilted
by Virgie's groups, which I consequently sold so that I could afford to keep making more.
Breitbach's Country Dining, Balltown, IA, May 24, 2014

 Paula Hoffman, owner/operator of The Clothesline Quilt Shop
in Avon, IL for over 20 years!  Without Paula's early support and guidance,
I would likely have quit quilting years ago.
Galesburg, IL, June 19, 2014
 
Caroline Trumpold, Amana whole-cloth hand-quilter, Middle Amana, IA
"The Sum of Many Parts" exhibit opening.
State Historical Museum, Des Moines, IA, November 6, 2013

 Hallye Bone, AQS certified appraiser
Missouri Botanical Gardens, St Louis, MO, June 2012
 
Rebecca Haarer, proprietor Rebecca Haarer Antiques
Shipshewana, IN, June 2012
 
Frankie Holt, best friend and my agent
Los Angeles, CA July 2011