Quilters as community

Diane McElmury of Glendale, Arizona

Diane McElmury of Glendale, Arizona

As I’m working on the quilting project I find myself more and more reflecting on performance artist Laura Milkins‘ “Walking Home” project earlier this year, where she walked from Tucson to Grand Rapids Michigan, discovering communities of all sorts along the way. In transcribing the interviews with quilters I’m hearing the many ways that quilting has generated communities, connected individuals with communities, and helped communities in need. Not sure I would have been so keenly aware of it were it not for working with Laura on her project. The unexpected benefits of the things we do come clear over time.

Quilter Kellogg Patton, foreground, drops of quilts to Prescott's Blankets 4 Kids program

Quilter Kellogg Patton, foreground, drops of quilts to Prescott's Blankets 4 Kids program

In talking with these quilters time and again I am struck by their generosity and kindness. Diane McElmury of Glendale, for example, is part of a group of quilters from her church called Reap What You Sew. Among other things they create quilts for numerous hospitals for premature babies, as well as for babies that didn’t make it so that the mother has something to remember that child by. Her organization also gives quilts to McDonalds House and numerous other charities. In all her group gives away between 2,500 and 3,000 quilts each year.

Blankets 4 Kids provides children from needy and often homeless families with warm blankets, as well as a stuffed toy and other treats.

Blankets 4 Kids provides children from needy and often homeless families with warm blankets, as well as a stuffed toy and other treats.

Kellogg Patton in Prescott whipped together many quilts for families displace during the Wallow Fire, and regularly works with organizations that serve homeless individuals and families in the Prescott area. She regularly contributes quilts to a local thrift shop that caters to the homeless, and drops more off at Ron Campbell’s Blankets 4 Kids organization.

Amanda Jeffrey of Scottsdale and her quilting group donate quilts to an organization that sends them to U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

Alex Gray of Tucson sold one of his quilts to raise money so that several of his classmates who could not afford it could go on a class trip.

Tucson quilter Alex Gray

Tucson quilter Alex Gray

Quilting is a loving thing.

 

 

Photos by Daniel Buckley. CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE

 

~ by Daniel Buckley on January 14, 2012.

2 Responses to “Quilters as community”

  1. You are so right, Daniel! The local quilt guild gives away quilts for local charities and soldiers, placemats for Meals on Wheels, and pillowcases for cancer patients at local hospitals. I am looking forward to the 100 Years, 100 Quilts reception in February at the Historical Society. When will we be able to view your video on the project?

  2. The video will be available on DVD when the show starts February 18, and I believe it will also be shown at the show itself. The DVD version may contain a bit of extra footage, depending on how much I can get done. My deadline is January 22, so I’m working away on it all.

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