Monday, April 6, 2009

Art Quilts are Still New

I had an unusual opportunity recently to speak about art quilts at a hospital. It all started a few months ago, when I received an email out of the blue from someone who had been referred to my website, After a few emails back and forth, we finally arranged a time to speak on the phone, and I learned that this family wished to learn more about art quilts in their quest to commission a memorial artwork in memory of their loved one, a well-loved physician who had lost her battle with cancer last year.

So, last Monday I found myself in Plymouth, Michigan at the historic Inn at St. John's, prepared to meet this family at a dinner party. My friend and colleague Christine, who has experience with the selection and installation of artwork in hospitals, generously made the trip with me.
When we arrived for the party, the house was packed with friends, family members and colleagues. Each conversation was an opportunity to learn about this amazing woman, who, like most women, had been a wife, a daughter and a mother in addition to everything else she was in her professional life. What was clear was that this physician had been a woman who had touched many lives deeply.

Despite arriving back at the Inn early, I found myself unable to sleep most of the night. My mind raced with snippets of conversations, thoughts about the memorial art the family was contemplating, and the text of my upcoming presentation. I have had the opportunity to speak all over the country about art quilts in the process of promoting my book on the subject, Uncommon Threads: Ohio's Art Quilt Revolution.
I have presented my Power Point presentation in dozens of locations, the lecture tweaked each time for the specific audience. This is, however, the very first time that I have ever presented such a lecture in a hospital. I was curious to see what the audience would be like.

After a very early wake-up call and a quick breakfast with the family at the hospital cafeteria, it was time to head to the auditorium and gather my thoughts one last time. As audience members continued to trickle in, I was once again amazed at the ongoing interest in the topic of art quilts that I have encountered everywhere I have traveled. Physicians, hospital staff, administrators, family members and interested hospital staff spouses had come together on this morning to honor the late Dr. Stuck, and to learn about the emergence and evolution of the art quilt movement in Ohio and the Midwest. Unlike most audiences, there were not many questions posed at the end of the lecture. What happened instead is that individuals came up afterwards, one by one, to ask the questions that had come to mind as they listened to the history and looked at the images of contemporary art quilts. When it was time to leave, I was left with a great sense of personal satisfaction that another audience had come to appreciate an art form they were not previously familiar with.


  1. lovely. I look forward to reading more from you!

  2. Nice first post, Gayle.
    One request--please change the ink color. It's very hard to read the light blue print on yellow, at least in my browser, which is FireFox.

  3. Hi Ms Q. Very nice. Thanks for sharing the adventure of the gathering and lecture in Michigan. Good luck with that!
    I agree that the blue on yellow is really hard to read. Sorry.

    Love, Pomme

  4. Well, never saw the blue on yellow, but I liked following along on your Michigan trip and getting a sense of how uniquely meaningful it was, both to you and to the attendees of your lecture. Well done, momma:)

    SS aka HB ;)

  5. Lovely first post. It was my pleasure to present with you last week.

  6. I loved reading this and vicariously traveling along with you to your gig.
    Now, where is that Etsy shop?

  7. Looking forward to your blog-saw a recommendation on Ginny's blog!

  8. Lovely 1st post on your blog. Look forward to following this adventure from here! Best wishes.

  9. Thanks for your kind words and support, all! Dear Evidence...kind of you to stop by from dear Ginny's terrific blog. I will add links here as soon as I figure out how to do it!