Our exhibition was called "The Multi-Generational Appeal of Quilts" and featured a wide range of quilts made in the 20th and 21st centuries by members of the same family. The styles and patterns of the quilts varied greatly, but they shared the common thread of having been loved across generations.
Check out the pics and descriptions from our exhibition guide!
“This quilt was made for me before I was born by my Memaw, my dad’s grandmother. She was a migrant worker from Mexico, who never learned to speak English, but worked the fields well into her 60s. She very often made her quilts from people’s discarded clothes or traded work for material to make everything from quilts to clothes.”
Michelle Marie Glick is a local crafter, massage therapist and mother. She attends almost all Flint Handmade craftLABs and loves telling funny stories about her 2-year-old son, Malakai.
3 & 4. Family Quilts by Stevie Naeyaert
Stevie Naeyaert is an interpreter training faculty member at Mott Community College and mother to Tyler Naeyaert of Flint Zombie Walk Thriller Fame. She quilted for years and is now enamored with photography and photo manipulation. Contact her through www.stevienae.moonfruit.com for info and pricing on custom digitizing of your child’s drawings for quilting.
3. Child's Drawings/Embroidered Quilt (2006, NFS)
“The Child's Drawings/Embroidered Quilt was made Summer 2006 during a Deaf Quilters Retreat in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. My son, Tyler, made the drawings the year before. I scanned and digitized it and put it together. It was so much fun.
I've been quilting since graduating from college in 1991. Moving back home from DC to Flint was a bit of a shock. The deaf community in DC is huge and vibrant…and pretty much non-existent here in Flint. So, I took up quilting to help stave off boredom! When my son was born in 2000, I started looking for ways to incorporate stuff for or by him in my work.”
5. The Conlen Flower Quilt by Victoria Ross Conlen, Crystal Pepperdine and Russ Bedford (2011, NFS)
“When I first met Russ’ grandparents, Robert and Audrey Conlen, we talked about the Flint Festival of Quilts. His grandfather recalled an unfinished quilt that his own mother, Victoria Ross Conlen (1887-1971), had started in the 1950s. Sure enough, there were 12 completed blocks each measuring 15" x 15" and lovingly handstitched with pink and green flowers. I couldn't let this gorgeous quilt remain undone, so I asked if I could finish it and they gave their blessing.
I was practically a stranger to them, but they trusted me to take a family heirloom and I felt very special. I think they must have known that Russ and I would be together. ..just three months after I received the quilt blocks, Russ and I became engaged! We have been working on the quilt together since March and finished it just in time to display in the Flint Festival of Quilts.” –CP
Crystal Pepperdine is the Executive Director of Flint Handmade. She and her fiancé, Russ Bedford, have recently launched a line of fine handcrafted goods called Pepperdine & Bedford (www.pepperdineandbedford.etsy.com).
Russ Bedford currently works at a hardware store and is an aspiring rural and urban homesteader. Shortly after meeting Crystal, he started hand-piecing a quilt with blocks cut from thrifted bed linens. They are planning to get married within a year.
6. Great-Grandma Bedford’s Quilt by Lillian Lenore “Leona” Smith Bedford (c. 1950s, NFS)
This quilt was passed down to Russ Bedford and Crystal Pepperdine by Audrey Conlen, Russ’ paternal grandmother. Audrey’s first husband, Harry Bedford (1928-1963), was Russ Bedford’s biological paternal grandfather.
Harry’s mother went by the nickname “Leona” and made many, many quilts for their family cottage. Leona made a quilt for each of her daughters, including Audrey, who has now passed down her quilt to her grandson and his soon-to-be wife.
7, 8 & 9. Three Collaborative Quilts by Valerie Clarke, Mary Whaley and Jessica Kroeger
Mary Whaley makes and collects quilts. She and her daughter, Jessica Kroeger, are currently collaborating on hats and headwear (www.hatsallcaps.etsy.com).
Valerie Clarke of NYC is a long-time friend of Mary Whaley. Valerie is curator of a quilt collection honoring the Red Berets, a group of women activists in the Flint Sit-Down Strike. This year marks the 75th anniversary of the event and the quilts will be exhibited at the Flint Public Library during the month of December.
“Years after we all pieced the center block on St. George's Island in 1992, I added leftover blocks from later quilts for the corners. I think of this as my waiting room quilt. I lap-quilted it as my father was being treated for cancer.” –MW
10, 11 & 12. Well-Loved Quilts from My Grandmother by Christina Phillips-Wasberg (1930s/1940s/1981, NFS)
“My grandmother, Lottie May Phillips-Eatmon, was born in 1931 and made all three of these quilts. Her family was very poor and, back then, you didn’t go out and buy blankets. You made the quilts with fabric scraps you had on hand with help from other family members.
With the help of her grandmother, Charlotte Perry, my grandmother made the blue-backed quilt (#10) in the early 1930s and the yellow-backed quilt (#11) in the late 1940s. She made the third quilt (#12) for her as-yet-unborn first grandchild while she was in the hospital in 1981 right before she died. I was born in 1984 and just happened to be the first grandchild.”
Chris Phillips-Wasberg handcrafts knitted garments for all ages under her business name of Teapot Knitting. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
13. Mom’s Legacy by Regina (O’Flynn) (Peterson) Meurer (2006, NFS)
“My mom, Martha O’Flynn, was a lifelong crafter. Having grown up in Mississippi, she learned to use what she had and wasted very little. When could no longer crochet or knit, she started quilting.
Mom taught my sisters and me to sew when we were young. So in the early 1990s, when she started to quilt, I thought I’d try something simple. Well, it wasn’t so simple, but I finished the block and mailed it down to her from Marquette to her home in Lennon.
Over the next few years we continued to send blocks back and forth. I was new school using the rotary cutter, and she was old school, using templates and spring loaded scissors.
In April of 1997, Mom passed away and I RESCUED 16 finished quilt tops and several cut tops still in shoe boxes. I finished this quilt for my queen size bed, using my Grace Frame, cotton batting and fabric I purchased at a thrift store. Mom taught me well! If you look closely, you will find her initials and mine sewn in some of the dark solid pieces.
After I put it on my bed, my Labrador Tyson and his son Monty, were not behaving, so I locked them up in my room. As you can see, that wasn’t such a bright idea! Even though the dogs are no longer with me, I’ll always remember them when I look at the quilt and always be wrapped in my mother’s love when I’m under it.
I love and miss you, Mom.”
Regina Meurer was born in Durand, coming to Flint just last year. When she is not quilting and crocheting she is either cooking or reading. She is multi-talented, but cannot knit to save her life.
“My son’s first theme for his bedroom was a maritime theme. When I found the pattern for the block used on this quilt, I absolutely loved it, and then chose the pastel colors of blue and yellow.
The appliqué pieces (fish, lighthouse, etc.) were a must to give it a punch of color. They were sewn by hand using a blanket stitch.”
17. Grandma’s Quilt by Teresa Weaver (2009, NFS)
“My grandmother, Mary Perdomo, made the top for this baby quilt many years ago. I found it two years ago when I was sorting through her things and finished it as a birthday gift to another family member.
Grandma was very resourceful, so I'm sure she used whatever materials she could find. Some of the fabrics in the top feel like polyester and some feel like cotton. I used cotton fabric for the back, cotton thread for the quilting, and a light polyester batting.
My grandmother is the one who inspired me to start quilting many years ago. We lived many miles apart for most of my life, so we never got to work on a project together. She is still alive and lives nearby now, but she is slowly failing. Finding her quilt top and finishing the quilt to pass on in the family was a way for us to share in the making of a quilt. We were also able to be together to present it to one of her great-granddaughters as a birthday gift. To me, it was like a legacy that had come full circle.”
Mary Perdomo enjoys sewing and created quilts many years ago for each of her seven grandchildren.
Teresa Weaver, one of her granddaughters, continues the quilting tradition and has been making quilts for family and friends for over a decade.