Monday, March 28, 2011
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.