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Quilts for Good
At Quilt Festival in Houston each year, we are honored to provide show floor space for a number of non-profit organizations that use quilting and sewing as a way to give back to those in need and/or create awareness for worthy causes.
So, for this edition of “Quilts for Good,” we are highlighting a selection of the groups who will be at the upcoming Houston show. Learn more about each below, and—if you’ll be at Quilt Festival in Houston—stop by their booth to find out how you can get involved!
The organization was founded by professional artist, Jeanne Staples, after she was introduced to the beautifully embroidered tablecloths being made by women in Haiti. Staples learned that it was difficult for the women to market and sell the tablecloths, and sought to find a way for the women to use their sewing skills to create something that would provide a living wage.
The answer…art quilts! Staples, along with master quilter Maureen Matthews McClintock, taught the women the quilting skills and techniques needed, and helped them set up an organized, professional workspace.
According to their website, there are now six sewing cooperatives, owned and self-managed by the members, who create original art quilts, artisan home décor items, and jewelry. The organization also provides support in establishing workspaces with necessary equipment, trains the members to develop business skills and computer literacy, and provides assistance in marketing logistics and technical support.
The group has once again organized an exhibit of quilts, “Haiti PeaceQuilts: Patience to Raise the Sun,” all made by its members, and on display at this year’s Quilt Festival in Houston. The exhibit takes its title from the Haitian proverb, “You must have patience to raise the sun.”
Pictured quilt: Haiti la Pél dé Antiy (Haiti, Pearl of the Antilles) by Nadege Florian. From the exhibit “Haiti PeaceQuilts: Patience to Raise the Sun.”
The Project was established as a way to educate the public about the risk factors and symptoms of ovarian cancer through the artistry of quilting. And since 2002, members from MD Anderson’s Ovarian Cancer Support Group and from the community have donated blocks to make quilts that are then displayed at Quilt Festival in Houston each year. Quilters and quilt shops from across the country, as well as local guilds, have made and donated hundreds of blocks and quilts over the years.
As the project continued to grow, an online auction component was also launched in 2008, raising $11,440 in its first year. Now hosted every two years, the auction continues to grow in size, featuring 150 or more quilts, and yielding over $50,000 benefitting ovarian cancer research.
The Ovarian Cancer Quilt Project will host its 2017 Online Quilt Auction from October 25-November 8. And this year’s auction will feature 140 quilts from 23 states and the U.K., including the quilt (pictured at left), Sound of Laughter by Venetta Morger of The Woodlands, Texas.
Visitors to Quilt Festival in Houston can stop by their booth to get
more information on the auction and Project, or visit their Facebook page for updates.
This organization reaches out to under-served children—primarily orphans—from all parts of the world to “provide a handmade quilt and spread love and hope.” According to the group, over 140 million children in the world today have lost one or both parents, and of those, there are an estimated 50 million orphaned children in Sub-Saharan Africa—4.8 million in Ethiopia alone.
Quilts Beyond Borders was started in 2007 with the intention of reaching orphaned and homeless children in Ethiopia, and in only five years, they were able to deliver 1,000 quilts to orphans, a number that has continued to grow since.
The group continues to work in Ethiopia, but has also expanded their efforts to provide quilts to people in need in a number of other countries, including Japan, Haiti, Costa Rica, Honduras, Guatemala, Cameroon, Burundi, Uganda, Russia, Thailand, and Mexico.
For more information on the organization, its efforts, or to learn how to get involved, visit their website or stop by their booth at Quilt Festival in Houston, where volunteers will also be handing out fabric kits to those who would like to participate by making quilts at home.
Other organizations at Quilt Festival Houston
There are a number of other organizations who will have booths at the upcoming Quilt Festival in Houston, including the Creativity Shell (see our previous story on the organization HERE), the Quilt Alliance, Ryan's Case for Smiles, The 70,273 Project, The Sewing Machine Project, American Sewing Guild, the RARE Bear Program (read our article on the Program HERE), and Quilts of Valor. Volunteers from the Quilt Guild of Greater Houston will also be on hand at the Learn to Quilt booth to teach attendees the basics of patchwork techniques.