A Writer's Playground

Monthly Activities for Kids by Linda Martin Andersen

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Posts Tagged ‘quilting bees’

Quilting–It’s an Art

Posted by lindamartinandersen on March 14, 2013

“Quilting–It’s an Art” by Linda Martin Andersen

“A Writer’s Playground”–A place to find wordplay, writing, and monthly calendar activities for kids and those young at heart.

National Quilting Day is March 16, 2013.

To celebrate, Maureen Wartski has agreed to be our guest blogger.  Maureen is a talented children’s author, storyteller, watercolor artist, and quilt artist.  

Join me in providing a warm welcome for Maureen Wartski.

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Hi, Linda, I’m delighted to be with you on your Quilt Day blog. Quilts have been special to my life, and I have always admired the expertise and precision with which my fellow quilters construct their beautiful work.

Did you know that the word ‘quilt’ comes from the Latin culcita which means—literally—a stuffed sack? Hardly a romantic start—but then, quilts have been around for a while. An ivory figure of an Egyptian First Dynasty pharaoh sported a quilted garment around 3400 BCE, quilted garments have been unearthed in Mongolia, and medieval knights wore them under their armor. The earliest surviving quilt comes from 14th century Sicily and is in the Victoria and AlbertMuseum in London.

Quilts as we know them today, were popular in the 19th century, and the art followed settlers to the new world. Quilting bees became popular when women in the vast and isolating Great Plains found a way to get together with their neighbors, and that practice continues, happily, to this day. The “Jewel Box Bee” of which I am a member, meets each Thursday to schmooze and to work on our projects. Some of us are traditional quilters; some combine abstract design with traditional elements, some design their own quilt ‘blocks,’ and others are accomplished in appliqué. For myself, I enjoy art quilting.

Art quilts come in so many forms that they defy definition. You have only to research ‘art quilts’ on the web and a thousand wonderful designs will appear. Personally, I like my wall-hangings and quilts to tell a story. This comes naturally, I think, because I have been a writer for more than 50 years and story-telling is in my DNA. Oddly enough, I have only written once about quilting in “String Piecing With Ben” an article written for Quilt Life, in their February 2013 issue.

"Come and Play" by Maureen Wartski
“Come and Play” by Maureen Wartski

My methods for constructing art quilts vary. Sometimes—not often, but sometimes—I have a clear idea of what I am going to do, and I follow the idea carefully. More often, I toss an interesting piece of fabric on the floor, stare at it for a while, mutter to myself, and then fling more fabrics onto the first. Then from some dark recesses of my brain a thought appears… and I am off and running! When this happens I will sometimes glue or fuse bits of fabric onto a background, cover all with a piece of tulle, then machine quilt. You can see the result in “Come And Play.” Perhaps you can even imagine a story!

The Natural world is an important component both in my quilts and in my writing.

"Going Up" by Maureen Wartski
“Going Up” by Maureen Wartski


Yuri’s Brush With Magic has the sea as its background. In this book sea turtles are key, while  “Going Up” is all about a frog trying to climb a plant! Then there are the all important elements of light and color. In two quilts, “Solitude” and“It’s Spring!” there is light—but such a different light! One quilt is exuberant with renewal and joy… the other speaks of silence and contemplation. Such stories these quilts told me as I worked on them!

I hope that you, too, will be tempted to pick up fabric, needle and thread. Fabric is a wonderful medium, flexible, alive, and so marvelously suited to express an idea or tell a story.

"Solitude" by Maureen Wartski
“Solitude” by Maureen Wartski
"It's Spring!" by Maureen Wartski
“It’s Spring!” by Maureen Wartski


Awaits a new found story

In this bolt of cloth.

                   by Maureen Wartski

Maureen, thanks so much for being our guest blogger!  If you would like to ask Maureen questions or make comments, please do.

Maureen’s art quilts can be seen on her website at:


on Fine Art America at:  http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/maureen-wartski.html?page=3

and on Etsy at http://www.etsy.com/shop/fabricartbymaureen

Visit her blog at:  http://maureenwartski.wordpress.com/

Thanks for visiting “A Writer’s Playground.”  Come again soon.  Bring a friend.

Copyright © 2013 Linda Martin Andersen

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