Volunteers work on making tops at the Quilts Beyond Borders booth at the International Quilt Festival in Houston in November.
In a recent post about The UnOILed UnspOILed Coast Quilt Project, I wrote about the use of quilts to convey social, political, and religious points of view in support of various causes championed by their makers. Another type of cause with which quilts have become increasingly associated is that of disease awareness.
This was much in evidence at the most recent International Quilt Festival in Houston, where a variety of specially made quilts served as both a backdrop and the focus of a number of booths aimed at expanding knowledge about certain diseases. Most, if not all, of such awareness groups have a fundraising component.
Alzheimer’s Art Quilt Initiative (AAQI) was founded in 2006 by well-known quilter Ami Simms. AAQI “is a national, grassroots charity whose mission is to raise awareness and fund research. The AAQI auctions and sells donated quilts, and sponsors a nationally touring exhibit of quilts about Alzheimer's. The AAQI has raised more than $421,000 since January 2006.”
Girl Scouts set up a booth to promote their Patchwork Promise’s Sew Awesome for Girls 11-17 Project. The theme of the project is Women’s Health Issues, and it introduces girls to sewing and quilting by encouraging them to make items that are donated to those in need. The project has particular relevance to the group, since Juliette Low, the Girl Scout Founder, succumbed to breast cancer in 1927.
Ovarian Cancer Quilt Project “was established to educate the public about the risk factors and symptoms of ovarian cancer through the artistry of quilting…Since 2002, quilters from MD Anderson’s Ovarian Cancer Support Group and the community have donated blocks to make quilts which are displayed each year at the International Quilt Festival in Houston…With the growth of the quilt project, an online quilt auction was launched in 2008. Due to the success of the first online quilt auction, which featured 68 quilts and raised $11,440, a second online quilt auction was hosted in October of 2009 which featured 107 quilts and raised $25,120.”
In addition to ovarian cancer, the project has grown to promote gynecologic cancer awareness in general, establishing colors to associate with and symbolize various types, such as teal for ovarian cancer, teal and white for cervical cancer, and teal and pink for the ovarian/breast cancer link.
Quilts Beyond Borders deals with Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). “Started in 2007
with the delivery of 230 quilts to HIV orphans in Ethiopia,” the group has delivered 850 quilts to Addis Ababa and another 215 to Haitian orphans to date. At its Festival booth, the group gave out 350 kits to be made into quilts for this effort and took in completed tops, fabric, and many other donations as well.
The Houston affiliate of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation set up a booth that featured a quilt in the foundation’s iconic pink color scheme. Information on breast cancer awareness, including causes, detection, treatment, and prevention factors were available for Festival attendees.
The prevalence of such groups at Festival underscores the fact that quilters in general have always had a strong affinity for altruism. This selfless desire to better the situation of others forms a common thread among those in the quilting community, and I can think of no other artform for which the same can be said of its participants.
Click here to return to top.
Column 89: Quilting in The Bahamas
Column 88: Joan of Arc: A Quilter's Inspiration
Column 87: Home Demonstration Clubs and Quilting
Column 86: Linzi Upton and the Quilted Yurt
Column 85: A Bounty of Quilts
Column 84: Desert Trader
Column 83: Quilts and the Women’s Liberation Movement
Column 82: Replicating the Past: Reproduction Fabrics for Today’s Quilts
Column 81: Why So Many Quilt Shops in Bozeman, Montana?
Column 80: Southeastern Quilt and Textile Museum
Column 79: 54 Tons of Quilt
Column 78: Ollie Steele Burden’s Quilt Blocks
Column 77: Quilting with AMD
Column 76: Maverick Quilts and Cowgirls
Column 75: The Modern Quilt Guild—Cyberculture Quilting Ramps Up
Column 74: The Membership Quilt—Czech Quilting in Texas
Column 73: Maximum Security Quilts
Column 72: Author: Terri Thayer
Column 71: The Christmas Quilt
Column 70: New Mexico Centennial Quilt
Column 69: Scrub Quilts
Column 68: “Think Pink” Quilt Raises Funds for Rare Cancer Research
Column 67: Righting Old Wrongs.
Column 66: 100 Years, 100 Quilts - More on the Arizona Centennial.
Column 65: Arizona Centennial Quilt Project
Column 64: Capt. John Files Tom’s Family Tree
Column 63: The Fat Quarters
Column 62: Quilt Fiction Author: Clare O’Donohue
Column 61: Louisiana Bicentennial Quilt
Column 60: The Camo Quilt Project.
Column 59: Thread Wit
Column 58: Ralli Quilts
Column 57: Preschool Quilters
Column 56: The Story Quilt
Column 55: Red and Green Quilts
Column 54: On the Trail
Column 53: Quilt Trail Gathering
Column 52: True Confessions: First Quilt
Column 51: Quilted Pages
Column 50: Doll Quilts
Column 49: More Than a Quilt Shop
Column 48: Las Colchas of the Texas-Mexico Border
Column 47: Literary Gifts
Column 46: A Different Way of Seeing
Column 45: Sampling
Column 44: Hen and Chicks
Column 43: A Star Studied Event
Column 42: Shoo Fly Pattern
Column 41: Awareness Quilts
Column 40: Tivaevae
Column 39: UnOILed UnspOILed Coast Quilt Project
Column 38: Katrina Recovery Quilts
Column 37: Quilted Vermont
Column 36: The Labyrinth Quilt—A Meditative Endeavor
See other archived columns here