So, it is the last day of February, and I am running late. I wanted to finish Ms. February’s sweater and do one more post for Black History month. Never in my life have I been so annoyed with the fact that February is such a short month!
Well, the sweater will be finished this weekend. So today is the day I share the story of the Yes! We Can quilt made by the Fiber Artists for Obama.
President Obama’s 2008 campaign website allowed for individuals to form groups based on their shared interests, hobbies, and loves. Artist Lisa Shepard formed Fiber Artists for Obama, and I joined the group.
The group decided to create quilt blocks celebrating President Obama’s historic run for the presidency. We weren’t sure what would happen with the quilt–where would it go? what was the purpose? we didn’t know, we just wanted to make it.
The blocks were gathered up and Mary Bowman and her daughter Stephanie Scott gracious worked to add the blue and purple sashings to connect all the blocks.
This is the point where I joined the group, I did not make a block for the quilt, but I volunteered to quilt it. Diana Bracy, one of the artists involved in the quilt, and I had several phone conversations about getting this done. We really wanted to finish the quilt in time for the Democratic Convention in Denver, but it just wasn’t happening.
I got the quilt and realized it needed a special border to tie all the different blocks together. One of my favorite aspects of this quilt is that it stitches women from all different backgrounds, geographic locations, and artistic talents all together in one quilt. For me, that is one of the great joys of community quilts.
So, I got busy adding the final border. Using my bit bin, I added an assortment of color to the edge of the quilt.
I think you all know what the next step is—quilting, quilting, and more quilting.
And finally the finished quilt!
While I was doing all of this stitching, Diana Bracy was working with the International Quilt Festival to get the quilt included in a special exhibit they were doing that year called “Patchwork Politics”. Working against the deadline for that show, I stitched away.
Once the quilt was completed, I headed down to the Obama headquarters in Anchorage, Alaska to show the quilt off. It was October and snowing ,but the campaign manager and I proudly displayed the quilt outside the headquarters.
From there I headed to the post office to send the quilt to Houston for the Patchwork Politics Exhibit.
Next the quilt went to Washington D.C. to be a part of a show curated by Sue Whalen called President Obama a Celebration in Art Quilts. My quilt Colors Unfurled was also part of that exhibit.
Then the quilt was juried into the exhibit Journey of Hope which was curated by Dr. Carolyn L.Mazloomi. If I have facts right, the show premiered at the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center of Wilberforce, Ohio. From there the exhibit travels as far away as Japan.
Dr. Mazloomi also edited a book about the exhibit called Journey of Hope: Quilts Inspired by President Barack Obama.
This quilt has so much history I almost forgot to tell you all that The Alliance for American Quilts interviewed most of the artists who participated in this quilt.
I think of all the community quilts I have participated in this one has had the wildest journey. We hope someday to give the quilt to the Obamas, but we know they are a little busy right now.
P.S. It’s Off the Wall Friday’s at Nina Marie’s blog. It’s a great way to see what other fiber artists have been up to this week.