Tuesday, May 18, 2021

GMQG Quilt Challenge 2021

Annual Challenge Announcement:  From Rita Sassone, "I recently heard this quote, which I think is important to share with my fellow quilters:  'You have to go by instinct and you have to be brave.'  This is my challenge to you all!  After experiencing Maria Shell's workshop and hearing about the Quilters of Gee's Bend, your task is to create an improv quilt (top, batting, back, quilted and bound) no smaller than 16" x 16" nor larger than 20" x 20" (doesn't need to be square) to showcase all you have learned.  Be sure to add a label on the back to identify yourself.  Remember, be bold and be brave!  Can't wait to see your creations in October!"*

Annual Challenge Deadline:  'Gee's Bend Quilts' Improv Quilt, Hybrid - *This meeting will be in person and/or via Zoom.  For those who participate in the Challenge who are unable to attend the live meeting, prior to the deadline and no later than Friday, Oct. 1st, you can either

1) make arrangements to drop off your quilt with Faye Jones or Dana Blasi, or

2) have your quilt picked up by Dana or Dagmar Theodore, and

3) we will be happy to submit it for judging and show your quilt at the meeting on your behalf. 

For all others, further instructions for dropping off your quilt for the judges will be forthcoming closer to the meeting date.

Reveal:  Saturday, October 2nd.  In any case, please remember to send a good photo of your creation to Susan Rink so we can provide Zoom attendees with clear visuals of all the submitted quilts.

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

May 1, 2021, Meeting Highlights

 .  Contact Information – to reach a member, please find contact information in the GMQG Directory and/or use our guild email greenvillemqg@gmail.com for inquiries.

.  Thanks again to the Modern Quilt Guild (themodernquiltguild.com) for the use of their Zoom account.  If any member would like a recording of today's meeting, please email Brooke Stambersky or Dana Blasi within 14 days of the meeting date and she will send it to you.

.  Our next meeting will be hybrid, meaning in person &/or via Zoom, and held on Saturday, June 5, 2021, from 1 to 3 p.m. after a morning workshop with Karen Eckmeier (see below).  Log on between 12:50 and 1:00 p.m. for a short visit prior to the start of the meeting.  Members will receive an email notice containing the Zoom meeting link and passcode prior to the meeting. 


We welcomed 29 members to our May Zoom meeting.


The 2021 Member Directory has been updated and will be published on Monday, May 3rd.  We’re excited to now include the sewing machines we own as a means of support to one another whether we’re in need of help troubleshooting or to get personal reviews when shopping for a new machine. 


A.  Taxes:  Cindy has completed the IRS Charity 990 for the year.

B.  Reminder – print out your MQG membership card on the MQG website to present at Bernina’s to get your monthly discount there. 


The poll on meeting types indicates the majority of members are interested in hybrid meetings, which would allow for both in-person and virtual attendance.  The Board is running an equipment test at Fellowship Hall, St. Giles, this month and aims to have the system up and running for the June 5 meeting.


Sandy Helsel will be checking with Bernina as to re-initiating our 3rd Friday, every-other- month, in-person, Sew-ins.  See Show & Share below regarding the forthcoming survey concerning virtual sew-ins/sew-alongs.


Today’s Show and Share consisted of many versions of making stripes based on the Maria Shell workshop.  Attendees met virtually after the workshop and had a Maria Shell Sew-in via Zoom.  Everyone enjoyed this method of “sewing in,” and subsequently, we are planning to do more Zoom sew-ins/sew-alongs.  One of the advantages of this type of sew-along is not having to pack and transport machines and equipment back and forth to another location - you are in your own sewing area with everything you need.  A survey is forthcoming to gauge member preferences for rotating between weekends vs. evenings during the week for those who are working.

Share your quilts with us by emailing photos either to Susan Rink or to Dana Blasi prior to the next meeting.


Sandy Helsel reported the results of interest in attending Wildacres in the Fall has been great.  We have 14 definitely interested and a few more depending on dates and restrictions.  Faye Jones is awaiting a response on our request for rooms in the months of Oct. or Nov.  We must keep in mind that it may be a while before we know the availability for our group.  Sandy will get information out to those interested as soon as we know.



The May program was dedicated to a glimpse into the lives of the Quilters of Gee’s Bend. These talented quilters are descendants of slaves from the once isolated Pettway Plantation in rural Alabama.  Without much exposure to the outside world and no art education, many generations of these women created stunning bed quilts using scraps of fabric from work clothes, torn dresses, Sears corduroy, and stained aprons.  They first came to national attention with the Freedom Quilting Bee, a cooperative arising from the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s and were sold in New York City at Bloomingdale’s and Saks, providing income for the women.  Little did they know these blankets born of necessity would one day cause an international sensation in the art and quilting world when they were randomly rediscovered by art collector Bill Arnet forty years later in 2001.  By 2002, the art world was abuzz when Michael Kemmelman would state in his New York Times’ Art Review, ‘Jazzy Geometry, Cool Quilters,’ “The best of these designs, unusually minimalist and spare, are so eye-poppingly gorgeous that it’s hard to know how to begin to account for them. But then, good art can never be fully accounted for, just described…”

The people of Gee’s Bend were physically separated from the outside world by the topography of the land carved out by the waters of the Alabama River virtually shaping their community into an island, access to which was accomplished only by ferry.  One can observe the naturally occurring echoes of African art found in their creations, having survived without such corrupting outside influences as the wax and wane of historical European- and Asian-, to popular American art.  From the limitations of isolation and poverty came extraordinary works of original abstract and improvisational art, which would find their way into the foremost museums of the world. 

Found fabric was (and continues to be) shared within the community, along with the activity of hand quilting among the women of Gee’s Bend whose guiding force was ensuring family and friends were administered to and cared for.  There’s was a ministry that continues today through China and Mary Ann Pettway who begin each day with the Quilters’ Prayer* and whose retreats are punctuated throughout by the spontaneous singing of hymns.  It is hard to look at the works of these artisans whether it be the dominating concentric squares of Housetops, the random cohesion of Stripes and Strings, the irregular strips of color comprising Lazy Gals, or the Courthouse Steps variation known as Brick Layer without acknowledging that surely their ancestors and the ensuing generations of Gee’s Bend quilters who adhered to their own particular brand of tradition were the originators of what is known today as modern “improv.”  And if you’re looking for one more bit of insight into the ethos of the Gee’s Bend quilter, remember what the Pettways say, “If you don’t like it, wack it!”

 *Click on Gee’s Bend Quilter’s Prayer on our blog to see the prayer.  For more information on the Gee’s Bend Quilt Retreat, go to geesbendquiltingretreats.com.  Registration is open for 2022 Spring and Fall Retreats.  Go online for a number of books on- and videos about Gee’s Bend.

JUNE 5:  9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. - KAREN ECKMEIER via Zoom -  WORKSHOP: COLORS, TWISTS AND LEAVES; and

               1:00 – 3:00 p.m. - MEETING PROGRAM LECTURE, WIGGLES & WAVES, Membership in person or via Zoom

JULY 10Katie Lewis in person – Certified TeachER OF Shannon Brinkley’s Scrappy AppliquÉ Method – Lecture & Trunk Show; Membership in person or via Zoom.


Johnnie McKenzie is spearheading the Classified Ads Subcommittee.  Classified ads on our blog will allow us to post quilting goods and services, etc., for and by our members.  An amendment to the Bylaws to include advertising on the blog is being drafted on which we will vote.  More details to come.


.  Gee’s Bend Retreats opened up registration in April for its 2022 Spring and Fall Retreats.  For more information, contact past attendees Faye Jones or Rita Sassone and/or go to geesbendquiltingretreats dot com.  We are told it fills up fast.

.  Check out GMQG’s private Facebook account, Greenville Modern Quilt Guild Members Only Group or its Public page, Greenville Modern Quilt Guild, and the GMQG Instagram account at @greenvillemqg (#greenvillemqg).

.  If members come across a link or other information they would like to share, they may forward it to President Brooke Stambersky to be shared at the next meeting.

See you next month!

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Maria Shell Workshop Sew-Along - April 2021

Maria Shell won Best Machine Quilting, Framed, for Mosh Pit @the Golden, and First Place in Piecing for Everything All At Once, at QuiltCon 2021.  Several GMQG attendees of her workshop Making Prints Out of Solids in April got together later and had a virtual sew-along.  We worked on a variety of stripe sets with solid colors including mirrored stripes, tracks, dots, linear blocks, bead strings, and grids.  We used some of the techniques Maria shared with us including information on selecting a color palette, improvisational piecing techniques, and ideas for taking these techniques and creating original quilts.  

We all agreed it was a great way to sew together!  Although we really miss being together at our Sew-ins, this was a great alternative for a few reasons.  One, you don't have to pack or unpack or repack anything.  You're in your own sewing space!  Two, some of us had a person in our home we needed to remain close to.  Convenient!  And, of course, three, there's that pesky Covid thing we're trying to avoid.

We all want to thank Travis Seward for hosting us on his Zoom account!  Check out some of our masterpieces in the making:

Here are just three of Maria Shell's magnificent quilts.

Force Field by Maria Shell

Haru by Maria Shell

Uptown Rail Fence by Maria Shell

Gee's Bend Quilters' Prayer

Blessing of our Hands

Let us pray. 

Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hid:  Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Spirit, that we may perfectly love you and worthily magnify your holy Name.  Amen.

We ask for your blessings upon our hands.  Hands that will be about your work.  Hands which will spread love and compassion in your world.  Amen.

L:  As we live in community with God and one another

R:  May our hands be instruments of peace and love.

L:  For those who are in need of warmth and sustenance

R:  May our hands prepare quilts and a banquet.

L:  For the teaching, instruction, and companioning of all people

R:  May our hands nurture compassion, acceptance, and above all, love.

Anointing of the Hands

Blessing:  Blessed be the work of (Name's) hands, O God, for they are the works of your hands.

Response:  Thanks be to God

Let us Pray.

Here in this studio, O God, for these gathered, exercise their gifts, stretch their skills, express their artistry, delight their senses, and move their souls.  Amen.

L:  Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.

R:  Thanks be to God.