Our Passions – Our Inspirations – Our Visions
The beginnings of the Textile Mavens evolved out of our shared passion for community and quilts. The creation of a quilt for the John Muir Elementary School in Berkeley started a decade’s long friendship revolving around quilts and community. An informal quilting group, started by Fern, solidified by monthly gatherings, became the Persian Pickles, truly evoking Elise Schebler Roberts’ “…reasons people quilt: to commemorate, celebrate, grieve, take social action or to be part of a community.”
“In retrospect, I can say this: Everyone, sometime in her life should make a quilt just because of the pure joy of doing it, one that she makes only for herself, one whose main value is that it makes her happy, one that she does not need to justify or explain.” Anonymous quilter.
Inspired by our post European WWII and Depression Era parents’ experiences, we are determined to rethink, reuse, and repurpose the resources we have at hand. Our art and craft is now infused with those principles. Sources of inspirations also include art exhibits, quilt shows, nature and family heirlooms.
Fern found approximately 30 of the nine-patch blocks in this quilt at the White Elephant Sale for Oakland Museum. It became the starting point for this classic pattern of nine-patch set on point. She scavenged through her mother and grand-mother’s stash, found fabric at the Legacy (an arts and crafts supply thrift shop in Sebastopol) and used reproduction prints to make the remaining 19 blocks. She used three similar yellow fabrics in the alternate blocks. The finished quilt reminds her of summers spent sitting on her grandparents’ porch in Paradise, CA.
Redbuds by Catherine was inspired by Fall foliage in Massachussets. The colors and shapes came from redbud trees that lined the streets of Cambridge. The shape of the leaves and the swirling of the colors inspired the use of a liberated log cabin pattern.
By using a combination of hexagons, rectangles and squares in the center of the blocks it achieved the effect she was hoping to duplicate. She used fabrics from her stash and a thrift store in Cambridge.
By teaching, facilitating retreats and sharing our experiences we want to teach others how to create or enhance their sense of community.
From our experiences at John Muir Elementary school and continued friendship and collaboration we have realized how much our quilting group friendships have enhanced and enriched our lives. In 2005 we started an annual retreat week-end in March. It has now evolved into a bi-annual event. We have supported each other through family milestones: births, deaths, weddings, divorces, graduations, moves and illnesses. Our group has created that sense of community that was present in small towns and families living close to each other. Fifteen years and counting, we have benefited from the diversity within our group in ways that we could never have imagined.