Monday, May 14, 2012

Lisa Ellis and Healing Quilts

Escher's Needlepoint 
Lisa Ellis
Lisa Ellis of Fairfax, Virginia, came to speak at the Northwest Quilters Guild meeting today, and she spoke about Healing Quilts. When I read about the program on the NW Quilters website, there was a link to Lisa's web site, so I clicked through and learned that Lisa is involved with charities such as the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative (AAQI). All the while, I thought her name was ringing a bell. Were we Facebook friends? Was she one of the people posting on the AQSG Yahoo Groups? Had I seen her work somewhere? Why did I recognize the name Lisa Ellis? I wasn't sure. But I grabbed all the charity quilts I'd bought over the last few years, including three Alzheimer's quilts and my own first quilt made for AAQI, hoping to have a chance to meet Lisa and share the quilts with her since we both support the cause.

Beta Cell
I said hello to Lisa before the meeting, and told her I'd brought Alzheimer's quilts, including my first quilt ever, which was made for AAQI. She did a powerpoint presentation with quilts from the various charities and causes she's been part of, including a wonderful group of Alzheimer's quilts. The room was a little too light to see the slides really well, so I've posted a few of the ones she showed with this blog. You can see larger images, read about them, and see more quilts on Lisa's website. She also brought a big table full of Alzheimer's quilts, including a small group she'd bought and a larger group of ones she'd made. I wanted to buy all of them.

Running Out of Time
Connecting the Dots
I enjoyed Lisa's lecture and her quilts very much, and at the end of the meeting, we had show and tell, so I brought up my little collection of charity quilts. I showed Nyima and Lori's AAQI quilts, and one from the Alliance for American Quilts made by Nanette Fleischmann. I even showed some of my own, including my first quilt, which was made for AAQI. The other quilt was made by Mary Kerr, who I met in Paducah last year.

Mary Kerr's Pilgrim/Roy Challenge quilt, "A Star in the Garden"
Mary's quilt was made for the Pilgrim/Roy Challenge and auctioned off in a benefit for the National Quilt Museum. Lisa recognized the quilt and spoke up. Mary is one of her dearest friends, and Lisa is part of Mary's Vintage Revisited book, which is in my book collection.

THAT's why the name Lisa Ellis rang a bell!

It was one of those humorous moments of realization for me. One of Lisa's quilts is on the cover of Mary's book, and I love that quilt. It's Uncle Sam juggling balls, and is made out of old fan blocks. Love the book, love Pepper Cory's foreword, and I am the one who suggested bringing the exhibit to the Latimer Quilt and Textile Center, where the quilts will be displayed in 2013.

OMG, talk about six degrees of separation. I only wonder where Kevin Bacon fits in.


  1. It really is a small world! Lisa and I first met in art quilt class and then connected during the Healing Quilts in Medicine project. I love that both of you are using your quilts and energy to make a difference in the world. Keep up your good work and keep spreading the word!

    Cyndi Souder (another Vintage Revisited artist)

    1. Hi Cyndi! I had to go back to the book and figure out which ones were yours before replying, and I must say I'm impressed. I thought "We'll Always Have Paris" was a particularly brilliant solution to a block that initially stumped you. Great work! I'm just a few weeks into it, but can see how closely connected quilts are with charities.