Quilt of Compassion
Quilt of Compassion
7'wide x 5'high
Materials: commercial cotton prints, metallic and novelty synthetic fabrics, photos transferred onto polyester, novelty trims, Sulky variegated thread, tulle
The Quilt of Compassion was started the day after the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. My friend and quilt guild partner Betty Lacy called me and said six words to me, “I need to do a quilt.” My response was “Me too.” With an agreement that the piece would be like a Mexican shrine with symbols of compassion and healing domination the carnage, we met in my dining room with piles of fabric and photos, and tearfully worked on the central collage of the horrendous scene. We didn’t speak…the piece unfolded on its own, with both of us silently recognizing the other’s direction and responding to it.
On day two we let our guild members know what we were doing, and they immediately began to trickle in, one two at a time, with fabrics, their sewing machines, images to print, food and whatever else they could contribute. They spread the word, and soon neighbors and strangers were coming by to donate something of themselves. A group of Mormon going door-to-door sang us a song. An unknown runner went back to her house and returned with her grandmother’s rosary to put on the quilt. Another neighbor, who had been in the Peace Corps in Afghanistan, gave us a T-shirt with the word “PEACE” written on it in Arabic, Hebrew and English. Another neighbor came by to offer neck massages and grilled cheese sandwiches as we worked past midnight.
By the third day we had far too many symbols of compassion to fit on our quilt, and I woke that night realizing that the piece needed to be a triptych, with two additional side panels to accommodate the treasures. That precipitated one more day of nonstop sewing. Completely exhausted and finally at peace, Betty and I finished our quilt as the sun set on day four.
BETTY AND I WOULD LOVE FOR THIS QUILT TO FIND A PERMANENT HOME SOMEWHERE IN THE NORTHEAST, PREFERABLY IN NEW YORK CITY. IF ANYBODY HAS ANY CONNECTIONS TO THE SMITHSONIAN OR SOME OTHER MUSEUM IN NEW YORK, PLEASE LET US KNOW. THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF OUR HEARTS.
2001- exhibited in the lobby of the Savings Bank of Mendocino in Ukiah CA
2001- exhibited as part of a special 911 show at IQA Houston
2001- shown as a special exhibit at Mancuso PIQF show
Photo Credit: Evan Johnson