Saturday, March 27, 2010

You just never know...


On March 20, 2010 I was speaking about my quilts
 to a group of women who were visiting Clarinda 
for the National Minneapolis-Moline Collectors Convention. 
In addition to sharing stories about more than thirty other quilts, 
I also chose to set up my 96" x 124" quilt named
 "Holocaust: A Hate Movement" 
in the main area of the Nodaway Valley Historical Museum.
 Since men and women were expected at the Museum that day, 
I thought its message could reach a large group. 
As it turned out, we did have 102 visitors that Saturday.

I shared the messages which are built into the quilt
 through blocks, fabrics, text, dimension, texture and quilting. 
Seventy blocks, chosen for their names 
from The Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns compiled by Barbara Brachman,
tell the story of the Holocaust in chronological order. 

The Nazi swastika block was drafted from a photograph. 
Bright colored prints first released in the 1920's and 1930's 
are featured in the beginning of the quilt. 
At the time when life became precarious, 
only solid-colored fabrics were used. 
The chosen colors were black (hate), red (death), orange (fear), 
brown (Nazi uniforms), dark blue (U.S., British and French flag color) 
and light blue (Israeli flag color). 
The four gray border fabrics represent everyday "normal life" (left), 
ashes blowing in the wind (top), 
ashes in the furnaces (bottom) 
and tendrils of hope growing from the ashes (right).

Blocks pieced with their seam allowances 
on the surface (instead of inside) 
reverse the meaning of the original block name. 
For example, the reversed block "Peace and Plenty" 
depicts the lack of peace and plenty at that time. 
Text such as "Where is God" and "Men to the left, Women to the right" 
documents both memories and agonizing concerns. 
Overall hand quilting in three-inch intervals 
represents the barbed wire fences 
surrounding the extermination and work camps.

In 1991 I was inspired by God 
to make this quilt after visiting Yad Vashem
The Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority 
near Jerusalem, Israel. 
Yad Vashem was founded in 1953 by the State of Israel 
to recognize those killed and harmed during the Holocaust 
and to acknowledge those who worked to rescue the survivors.

The software programs Electric Quilt and Blockbase 
were used to design the quilt layout and print templates 
for cutting out the pieces of the blocks. 

The names of the 77 quilt blocks 
are listed in alphabetical order as follows:

American Homes
At the Depot
At the Square
Attic Window
A Victory Quilt
Boxcar Patch
Broken Windows
Brown World
Children Israel
Church Steps
Day and Night
Danger Signal
Father's Choice
Follow the Leader
Ghost Walk
Hide & Seek
Home Again
Hour Glass
Lost Children
Memory Block (seven - each containing one of the texts below)
..."Men to the left, women to the right"
..."Work will make you free"
..."Break the body, break the spirit, break the heart"
..."Where is God"
..."Whatsoever you do to the least of these my brethren, you do unto me"
..."I was only following orders"
..."Never again"
Next Door Neighbor
Nothing Wasted
Our Country
Path Thru the Woods
Peace and Plenty (backwards)
Peaceful Hours (backwards)
President Roosevelt
Prosperity (backwards)
Railroad Crossing
Road to Paris
Rob Peter to Pay Paul
Salute to Loyalty
Secret Drawer
Star of David
The Stockade
Trial and Troubles
Underground Railroad

I am drawn to tell stories about my quilts. 
This one has been the most difficult so far. 
In addition I have found that remembering history
opens my eyes to the current lack of justice and peace
in so many areas of our world.

 Keep your eyes open. 
Be courageous and speak up. 
You just never know when you might make a difference. 

Do you know of a venue which would welcome 
a short term display of this eye-opening quilt with a serious message?


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Surfing in new waters

This week while surfing, I discovered Rocky Mountain Quilts
(which is located in Maine) which sells spectacular antique quilts.

I have included a few, but they have dozens and dozens....
maybe hundreds...of eye-popping quilts grouped by centuries and types such as
Amish, Crazy, African American, Blue and White Quilts, Silk Quilts, 20th Century Quilts, etc.
If you are wishing to be inspired, consider surfing, too!

Surfing in new waters

I created this 100" x 100" quilt
(with slightly different inner borders)
after viewing a photo of an antique quilt online.
As you can see, green is a powerful draw for me yet.
What would you use to make the 378 half square triangles--
Triangle Paper, Wonder Ruler or traditional methods?

Also I discovered two more websites of interesting quilts.
On the BBC website I found information about England's
Victoria and Albert Museum current show of quilts from 1700-2010.
Check out the hexagon quilt probably made by a sailor.

Below is the website where you can view the winners of the
Tokyo International Great Quilt Festival 2010 and 2009.

You know I loved the quilt entitled "Variations of Green" by Chinami Terai
which appeared with the 2009 winners.

Keep quilting--in your style and with your favorite colored fabrics--or not.
Whatever you choose, I hope you have a lovely spring!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Jacob's Extension Ladder

Perhaps you know by now that I like to find quilts that interest me and recreate them on Electric Quilt. Check out this 1870-1890 Jacob's Ladder quilt on the International Quilt Study Center and Museum.

What intrigued me about the antique quilt was there were four Jacob's Ladder blocks in "the" block. First I recreated the quilt up to 100" square in pretty much the colors of the original. However, notice that I did not use half blocks in the top and bottom rows.

 I found this drawing pretty boring. It was hard to appreciate the block. 
 It had popped in the antique quilt, but not in the drawing. 
 When I look back at the original and this drawing, I don't find much different. 
 I think I thought the original quilt's blocks popped because I zoomed in on them.
 But meanwhile, I decided to spice up the colors.

Actually I still don't like it. 
 As it is now, I wouldn't be willing to make it.
What is wrong? 
 Leave a comment if you know what I should do differently. 
 We can all use help. 

Sunday, March 7, 2010

I believe a skunk just cozied up to my basement window

There is an amazing "skunk" stench wafting through my basement window. Definitely time to go to bed. Sadly, my bedroom windows are directly above this basement window.

Here is one more quilt from the International Quilt Study Center website circa 1900-1920.

Isn't this a lovely two-color quilt? I hope you see beauty this week...and don't have a skunk near your basement window!


Interesting border with Union Star

I found another interesting quilt on the International Quilt Study Center and Museum website dated from 1875-1895.

I think it is interesting because the "unknown" quilter chose not to predictably have a sashing border. Instead "he or she" chose to allow the blocks to float on the outer white border.

I enjoy a quilt that shows someone chose not to take the typical path, but instead to try something new.

Courage always catches my eye. I hope you or someone you see this week chooses to stretch artistically.


Saturday, March 6, 2010

Treasure trove of quilts to inspire you

I was surfing on the International Quilt Study Center and Museum website and found this quilt in their amazing collection.

So I went to my Electric Quilt 6 program and recreated the quilt and resized it to 101.5" square. What an attractive quilt with my favorite details....triangles and flying geese blocks. I think I am going to have to make this one!

This week I hope you find an inspiration that you choose to dream about.