Quilts for Good

At each edition of Quilt Festival, we have the privilege of providing booth and exhibit space to non-profit organizations that use sewing and quilting as a way to give back to the community, and artists who use a needle and thread to communicate important social and cultural messages.

Among the long list of special exhibits and interactive booths at this year’s Quilt Festival in Houston are the selection we’ve highlighted below, all of which are using the quilting artform as a tool for enlightenment, engagement, and inspiration.


Organized and curated by Susanne Miller Jones

In 1948, the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which delineated the rights to which all humans in all countries should be entitled. Nearly two decades later, the United States enacted the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which outlaws discrimination based on race, color, sex, or national origin. Additional protections have been added in the years since through a variety of legislation.

Maya and Son by Denise Currier (left)

The call for “OURstory” quilts asked artists to consider several questions: What right is most important to them? With which group that struggles to get those rights do they most identify? Which leader of a human rights movement is their hero? What is their story, struggle, or victory?

The resulting collection of 60+  art quilts—created by artists from six different countries—tells the stories of disenfranchised people and their fights for equal rights, and celebrates the heroes who fought for rights long denied to various groups of people and drew the attention of news media and the public.

April 27, 1994: Mandela Votes by Margaret Williams (right)

Visitors to this year’s Quilt Festival in Houston will have the opportunity to see 42 of the incredibly moving “OURstory” quilts on display in our special exhibits, along with the artist’s statement describing the significance of the people and/or imagery included in each artist’s quilt.



Sponsored by and BERNINA sponsored a quilt challenge and contest that asked artists to use a designated digital printed panel—featuring an image of the Earth surrounded by a rainbow mandala—to create a work that expresses their thoughts and feelings about Mother Earth and current environmental issues.

Potential topics included wildlife habitats (land and sea), indigenous peoples, rainforests, pollinators, Arctic/Antarctic, endangered or threatened species, clean water, or other matters closely associated with the theme of “Mother Earth.”

The ensuing 17-quilt exhibit is intended to raise awareness and inspire others to “Love Mother Earth.” Visitors at this year’s Quilt Festival in Houston will have the opportunity to see all 17 quilts on display, and find out how each artist interpreted the theme and reinterpreted the panel print (pictured).

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