08/20/2018: "In The Spirit of Gee’s Bend"
(L to R: Julie Weaver, Barbara Ellis, Beth Phillips, Ebie Currey, and Krispi Staude.
In anticipation of the Conversation With Gee Bend exhibition at the San Juan Islands Museum of Art (SJIMA) in Friday Harbor, WA two inventive women proposed two projects.
Julie Weaver and Judy Okulitch brought their ideas to the Rainshadow Quilting Arts Guild (RQAG) for a trial run.
They introduced making Gee’s Bend-inspired potholders for SJIMA to sell to and promote the museum exhibition and quilting arts. The idea took off and all the parts came together-studying the Gee’s Bend designs, putting a heat reflective liner in the potholders and picking fabrics. In the same ingenious vein, they fashioned “San Juan Style” pincushions made with clean oyster shells as a base.
Then the equally enterprising volunteer, Hella Cascorbi worked logo stickers and with Judy on and cellophane packaging. And, the perfect hostess gift or surprise gift for a quilter in the family was born.
The gifts are a hit! Many quilters are accustomed to straight lines, regular squares and studied curves, so it was a challenge to deliberately take a “more fluid approach” to their designs to better reflect the more improvisational designs of the Gee’s Bend quilters. These gifts were ready for the opening on Memorial Day Weekend and are still available in the gift area of SJIMA during regular hours.
To date the Guild has made 110+ potholders and about 64 pincushions for SJIMA. Approximately ten quilters participated in the project- Julie Weaver, Mary Zeretzke, Janet Wright, Barbara Ellis, Krispi Staude, Marj Stanley, Ebie Currey, Beth Phillips, Carma Avey and Marie Johansen. SJIMA is grateful to Westcott Bay Shellfish and their owners, Erik and Andrea Anderson, who donated oyster shells and all of those who donated their fabric, time and creative talent to this project.
After that project, RQAG member, Sheila Doyle and former quilter, Sally Shannon organized the Quilt Walk around Friday Harbor businesses from June 15-August 11.
SJIMA thanks all of the volunteers and businesses that made the three projects possible. All involved offered an example of the teamwork possible between the communities and organizations on our island.
Regular hours for SJIMA are Thursday-Monday, 11-5 until Labor Day when the exhibition closes. To purchase these colorful handcrafted items, you do not have to buy a ticket to the museum exhibition.