Friday, October 29, 2010

Miraculous. Important. Divine.

Rudy, 2003
I'm venturing into new territory. Following a series of chance events combined with extraordinary good fortune, I'm curating my first quilt show at the Latimer Quilt and Textile Center in Tillamook, Oregon. The show, which will run during the month of February, 2011, is called "Small Wonders: Doll Quilts by Andrea Balosky" and the subject inspires me and fills me with joy.

Alvin, 2001
After spending roughly four hours going through the quilts with doll collector and adoption advocate Merrily Ripley, the longtime friend of Andrea Balosky who owns the collection, three words were stuck in my head. Miraculous. Important. Divine. The group officially contains 108 quilts, a number with special meaning in Buddhism. The artist, who is native to Hawaii, converted to Buddhism several years ago and now lives a reclusive life in the Himalayas. She isn't making quilts these days, but her legacy is simply astounding.

Albert, 2001
It was a dream of Andrea's to one day have these quilts published as a group in a book, and I'm working on a self-published catalog to accompany the show. Each quilt has a name, part of an elaborate cataloging system, honoring friends, family, noteworthy individuals and historic figures. The quilt that really knocked my socks off is called Rudy, named for Rudy Giuliani, Mayor of New York City during 9/11. My heart skipped a beat when I saw this quilt and heard it was named for Giuliani. I saw the World Trade Center collapsing, and I saw the indomitable spirit of New York all at once. The quilt is a stirring, memorable tribute.

Joseph, 2002
So, I don't want to give it all away here, but I did want to share a few of my favorite quilts. There is an energy, an exuberance, a joie de vivre throughout this body of work. The quilts are curious, quirky, witty, visually sophisticated, and very human. They truly are small wonders.


  1. I've seen a collection of Andrea's doll's quilts one year in Camp Sherman. I'll look forward to seeing them again!!

  2. I love how diverse the Rudy and Joseph quilts are...what a wonderful collection to work with for the show!

  3. What an amazing talent! I hope those of us who can't get to Oregon can see some more of her work one day...Bill?

  4. Absolutely!

    Hey Liz, there is a book by Andrea Balosky, called Transitions, published around 1997. A lot of the world missed it, though. She was pretty far ahead of her time. If you poke around on the internet, you will find it. I will also be doing a self-published catalog through Blurb, and will share information about how to get it.

  5. Hi Bill,

    I'm Andrea's friend here in Camp Sherman (one of many) and have the books available for interested parties. They are $15 and all proceeds go to Andrea who endows many people in India. Contact me at if interested. I was fortunate to observe the weekly evolution of these amazing quilts during our weekly Pine Needler meetings. We never stopped being in awe of the creativity and beauty of all of her quilts. And did I mention inspiration? Neva McCarty

  6. Hi Neva! Andrea was telling me that you and I should connect. She and I are pen-pals now. She has a blackberry, and we send love back and forth through the airwaves. I adore her.