Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Quilt Historians in the News

On August 21, Kimberly-Clark sponsored a reception for notable Tennessean Bets Ramsey at the Knoxville Museum of Art. The event included a preview of an online portrait of Ramsey, a nationally recognized educator, curator, writer, organizer, historian and award-winning quilter. The portrait was produced as a part of Quilt Treasures, a joint project of the AAQ and Michigan State University.

The multi-media portrait of Ramsey includes a mini-documentary, extensive biographical information and over forty interview clips on various topics. The project will debut publicly on the Alliance’s website in mid September. To view the project visit Center for the Quilt.

There's much to be learned from old quilts, but they can't speak for themselves," says Amy Milne, executive director of the Alliance for American Quilts. "Our website projects save not just the images of quilts, from the humble to the magnificent, but allow us to save and share the stories of how and why they were made. All the funds raised in Knoxville, with Kimberly-Clark's help, will enable us to preserve these stories online for all those who value these treasures."

Also sponsored by Kimberly-Clark on August 21, was the first ever Quilt Train event in Knoxville. Board members of the AAQ from all parts of the US and a large contingent of quilt and train enthusiasts from the Knoxville area enjoyed a rolling wine and cheese party on the Three Rivers Rambler excursion train owned and operated by Gulf & Ohio Railways Inc. Vintage quilts from the collection of Knoxville resident and esteemed quilt historian Merikay Waldvogel were hung and draped around the train. Also exhibited on the Quilt Train were small quilts from the AAQ contest, My Quilts/Our History, for which quilters around the country and abroad made quilts celebrating their personal quilt histories. (For more information about the contest and the upcoming auction, go to the Alliance website,Center for the Quilt

The Quilt Train evening continued with a dinner at Calhoun’s by the River restaurant to honor nationally-recognized quilt historian, curator and author Merikay Waldvogel,
who recently ended her term on the AAQ board after many years of dedicated service. Waldvogel and Ramsey were co-directors of Tennessee Quilt Survey, a major effort to document the state's quilts which produced a traveling exhibit and publications. The documented Tennessee quilts, along with thousands of quilts from other state and museum collections, are preserved permanently on the Quilt Index, a rapidly-expanding online repository of historical and contemporary quilts, a joint project of the Alliance and Michigan State University.

Kathy Metelica, Market Manager for Kimberly-Clark’s southern region honored Merikay Waldvogel and Bets Ramsey for the important contribution both have made to the preservation of Tennessee’s quilt history, and added “Kimberly-Clark would like to congratulate The Alliance for American Quilts for 15 years of preserving the rich history of American quilting. We are proud to sponsor these events.”

The information above is from a press release from The Quilt Alliance, which is the Center for the Quilt and the Quilt Index. Contact for more information is Amy E. Milne, the Executive Director of The Alliance for American Quilts, (828) 251-7073,,

Related to the women honored by the Alliance is another great quilt org.The Quilter's Hall of Fame. Both Bets Ramsey (in 2004)and Merikay Wadvogal(2009)are inductees of The Quilters Hall of Fame. Merikay's will be official next July, her induction was made public this past July. The Quilter's Hall of Fame inductee this July, 2008, was Helen Kelley, writer, quilter, teacher, machine quilting pattern expert, and so much more. She has written a column for QN forever. Sadly, she passed away this Monday, Sept. 1. The Quilter's Hall of Fame offers detailed biography's of each of their inductees and this book is a worthwhile investment for any one interested in our quilting history, past and present.

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