Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Relief Sale Quilts: "A Bird's Eye View"

A Bird's Eye View: Interpreting the Aerial Photography of Carl Hiebert
(84" x 92")
Group Quilt by members of the Waterloo County Quilter's Guild and the Listowel Mennonite Church.
Coordinated by Renske Helmuth.
Based on photographs by Carl Heibert.

Auctioned for: $11,100 in May 2006

After the amazing success of the "Kaleidoscope" quilt, it took a long time to come up with another idea for a group quilt. But inspiration hit when I received the flyer for the 2005 Grand National Quilt Show: the theme was "airborne". I remembered looking through the books by photographer Carl Hiebert -- beautiful pictures taken from the sky in his ultralight plane. Hmm.

Well, the first step was to get permission from Carl, but that did not prove to be a problem: he thought it would be a very worthwhile project. For the next few months, I tried to come up with ways to make it work; once the project started, it went very well.

In October 2004, I introduced the project concept at the Waterloo County Quilters Guild, and there was lots of interest. The following month, I handed out instruction sheets, and each participant had to select a specific photograph to work from: this way, I was sure to get no repeats. I offered a "workshop" time for any participants who wanted help with their block; by the January 2005 guild meeting, 38 blocks were handed in.

In the last week of January, two friends from the guild -- Carol Huehn and Rosemary Plummer -- came over, and we decided on a layout. Twenty-eight blocks were chosen for the quilt. Rosemary took the blocks home and sewed them together. The remaining blocks were set aside; they would be used later to make a second quilt. A few of the blocks are shown below, including wetlands, a farmed field, and an orchard in winter:

birdblockblue_smaller birdblockfields_smaller
birdblocklaundry_smaller birdblocksnowtrees_smaller2
birdblockpitower_smaller birdblockriver_smaller

Esther Snider and I marked the quilt in Listowel, and by the middle of February it was ready for quilting. Members of the guild and church quilted from Monday till Thursday. By the end of the month the binding was sewn on and the label was attached and pictures were taken for entry in the Grand National Show. Whew!

In March, the quilt was juried into the Grand National Show in Kitchener, Ontario. After the show, I took the quilt to the quilt committee of the Relief Sale; it toured churches and quilt shows until May 2006, when it was auctioned at the New Hamburg Mennonite Relief Sale and Quilt Auction. It was purchased by Carl Hiebert himself! We raised $11,100 for world relief efforts, and the quilt found a fitting home.
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