02 October, 2013

Why We Quilt... And Yet, One More (But Not The Last) Reason

If you've been following along with the last few posts you'll find the theme of "why we quilt" a continuing one.  Today I would like to touch upon those who have gone before us and how inspiration has played a big part in why we quilt, and continue to, to this day.  As a new quilter back in the mid 1980's I recall being inspired, and nurtured, by the established quilting community within my own local Guild. These ladies were all highly competent, gifted quiltmakers in their own right who, seemingly, had all the time in the world to guide a wide-eyed, ready to learn young woman in the proper quilting direction. I quite literally sat at the feet of some of these quilting masters soaking up every tidbit they had to share! Here is one, Vera Bell, these photos were taken at a Guild show back in 1992, she was 77 years old. I am particularly interested in both of these photographs because I just so happen to be piecing both a sixty degree diamond quilt and a tumbler right now. As you can see, Vera was an accomplished, and stylish(!), quilt artist; a lovely lady both inside and out. She was no stranger to winning ribbons and the colorwash beauty, hand-quilted of course, on the right won her the Best of Show that year. I recall falling in love with a most stunning Carpenter's Wheel quilt that she made for her son's home. He lived in a converted barn and she leaned heavily on a silver-gray color palette  incorporating a few, choice, bright accent colors to complement the rustic two-story barnboard wall where he planned to hang it. I can't see a Carpenter's Wheel quilt today without remembering Vera.  Does this lovely lady inspire me still? Yes, she does!  Looking at these photos reminds me that I can always go that extra mile, do a little bit more, challenge myself. That sixty degree diamond quilt as well as the tumbler that I am currently piecing I had planned to trim up straight and square along the edge. Now I am thinking about appliqueeing them to a border, capitalizing on the shapes and not destroying the integrity of the pattern, that's exactly what Vera did. We quilt because we love it; we're nudged to be our best by those who have gone before and encouraged us along the way, those who recognized that spark and had the good sense to breathe life on our fledgling attempts, thus igniting the flame and passing the torch!  I will always be grateful for that inspiration that has fueled me and drives me still... it's why we quilt.

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Vera E Bell 1915 - 2005 was a member of the Bell family. Vera was born on April 24, 1915. Vera died on February 17, 2005 at 89 years old. Vera E Bell's last known residence is at Winston Salem, Forsyth County, NC 27103.
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Life is Good!


9 comments:

Kathy ... aka Nana said...

How blessed you were to have been taught and nurtured by such a talented quilter. I'm self-taught, and thanks to blogs and Facebook groups, I'm still learning today.

Little Penpen said...

Another good post... a quilting legacy is a good legacy to leave behind for others.

quiltkeemosabe said...

A wonderful tribute to a wonderful lady and to all the quilters who have gone before but left a wonderful legacy for us to grow from. You said it well.

Laura Davies said...

Beautiful!

Janet O. said...

Lovely story.
I've had two quilting mentors like this and one just passed away last December. I count it a blessing to have been in her studio with her the week before she died, receiving instruction and guidance from her shaky hands.

Paula, the quilter said...

I have used that same applique-to-a-border technique that Vera (love the name: same as my grandmother) used. I used it on a Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt with a diamond 'pathway' between the flowers. You can see it here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/the_quilter/5913247451/

Nane said...

This was probably the first show I attended after joining the guild in 91. I remember her and do miss having shows in Salem's fine arts center. I definitely think you should appliqué your border on. I did that with Fannye's remember?

straythreads said...

Your last three post have been so wonderful. Beautiful tribute to your mentor. You have wonderful way with words.
Ann

LizA. said...

Thank you for sharing these pictures and these posts. They have been very inspiring. And yes, I too have both a tumbler and 60 degree quilts in process, mostly thanks to yours truly for the inspiration......