Monday, March 28, 2011

The Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative

Some time back I blogged on Memorial Quilts (specifically the AIDS Memorial Quilt). I recently discovered another quilting project meant to bring awareness to Alzheimer's disease. The Alzheimer's Quilt Initiative was started in 2006 to not only raise awareness but to help fund research.

This month, the Initiative is kicking off it's 5 year traveling quilt exhibit, "Alzheimer's Illustrated: From Heartbreak to Hope". The show is made of of 182 "Name Quilts" (a section is pictured to the right) that are 6 inches long and 7 feet tall. Each is made up of 55 patches sewn with the wrong side of the fabric to the outside, each with a name of someone who had or has Alzheimer's disease or dementia. (The fabric is on the wrong side to give it a more worn look.) There are over 10,000 names to represent many many more who have the disease.

Along with the Name Quilts, there are 55 smaller art quilts that represent some aspect of Alzheimer's. Unfortunately, the names and artists of these quilts were not on the website. The images are spectacular. The quilt at the top left shows a pair of footprints walking off into a forest. The image under it is a representation of the brain of the Alzheimer's patient and to the right represents the degeneration of neurons.

One of my favorite quilts (to the right) shows a gentleman in a purple top hat and bow tie locked away. It demonstrates a very interesting personality, held captive.

The Senior Prom quilt shows an elderly couple dancing. The quilt on the bottom right shows a couple walking down an empty hallway toward an Exit sign. The bottom left is a colorful image of a butterfly taking off.

Being from a family of quilters, I'm always amazed at the amount of work and time that goes into every quilt, but these are truly works of art. They take the folk art type media of fabric and quilting and make fine art. The artists can paint such beautiful works with fabric. And each work seems to be significant to the life and experiences of the artist.

The Art Quilt Initiative's has another project, Priority: Alzheimer's Quilts. They collect small 9" X 12" quilts donated to them and sell or auction the quilts off to support Alzheimer's research. Some of the quilts are Alzheimer's themed but most are not.

4 Responses to “The Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative”

Eric Widera said...
March 29, 2011 at 7:25 AM

Great post although I'm not sure who wrote it. Looks like the new layout dropped the author of the post's name.

Christian Sinclair said...
March 29, 2011 at 7:30 AM

Yes, I noticed that too. It shows on the front page but not on the post

(By the way, Amber wrote it.)

Beth Hartford said...
January 24, 2012 at 9:59 AM

Thank you so much for sharing information about the Alzheimer’s
Art Quilt Initiative! The quilt that is at the top of the page on the left was made by my sister and the background is hand dyed silk that I made. We lost our father to
Alzheimer’s in December of 2010 and my sister and I have both been committed to raising money for
research through AAQI since he was diagnosed in 2006.  I am a quilter and I love that the
Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative is a grass roots organization that is totally
staffed by volunteers so that every available dollar can be used to fund

Diane Petersmarck said...
March 2, 2012 at 5:52 PM

Yep, that's my quilt at the top - I called it "Gone" - the footsteps depict an AD victim wandering through an eerie world of unfamiliar colors and shapes - until he or she is finally lost in the trees.  The AAQI has raised almost $700,000 through the sale and exhibit of quilts and is a 501(c)(3).  We have tiny overhead costs because we're all volunteers and everything is donated.  If you want to see your money go directly to research, buy a quilt!