Sunday, May 13, 2012

Merrily's "Bright Spot"

Merrily Ripley and I were e-mailing each other this week, and she mentioned a quilt she had sent to the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative. Her quilt was posted with a picture, but she wasn't sure when it would go up for sale. The last time I checked for new Andrea Balosky quilts, Merrily's name came up because she mentioned Andrea in the quilt's description. However, there were no pictures with the new quilts at the time.

I thought, "I should check the site to see the picture," but got distracted, and forgot about it until later. When the thought flashed by, I marched over to the computer, went to the AAQI web site, and looked for Merrily's quilt. Not only was there a picture, but it was for sale! I bought it on the spot.

Merrily Ripley- photo from the Adoption Advocates International blog
Merrily and I first met when we were working on the "Small Wonders" exhibit and catalog of Andrea Balosky doll quilts. She and Andrea are longtime friends, and Merrily discovered a blog I'd written after meeting Andrea in Sisters. Merrily said she had over 100 of Andrea's doll quilts that were previously unknown to most of the world, and we were off to the races.

Of course, the moment I caught wind of Merrily's AAQI quilt, I wanted to buy it. "Bright Spot" is an original design made with random strips, machine pieced and hand quilted. "My inspiration is my friend and mentor Andrea Balosky, Nyima, probably the most creative person I have ever met," says Merrily in her artist statement. And I agree!

The thing I love most about this intriguing little collection is it's more like a circle of friends. Over the last year I've purchased AAQI quilts made by Andrea, Lori DeJarnatt, and Kristin Shields, who made the 10,000th quilt received by AAQI. I'm delighted to add Merrily's "Bright Spot" to my collection. It'll be right at home with my other AAQI quilts made by awesome and amazing people.

So, if you're reading this blog and we know each other, here's a not-so-subtle hint. Make a quilt for the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative. And let me know when it's coming up so I can have a shot at it. 


  1. How wonderful, Bill!! Good for you and for you lovely and wonderful support of this amazing..and my favorite..cause.

    I've never had the pleasure of meeting either wonderful lady, but I know I was so delighted when Andrea personally emailed from the Himalayas to thank me for getting permission to both take and post photos of the "Bits and Pieces: Intuitive Quilts of the Northwest" when it was shown in Salem. To actually see her quilts hung on the walls, with the others around them, meant that much to her. And I loved that she was THAT nice to write and thank me. Some moments are so lovely. And you just created one of those!!!

    And a wonderful Mother's Day to your own mom for raising such a dear son!

    1. Thank you, Michele. I loved that show and all the artists who were in it. And coincidentally, Mom was with me the day I went to the show. She loved it, too!

  2. One of my artist friends asked me what the unifying theme of the small quilt collection was...there are nontraditional, traditional, beaded, name it. I could feel an art lecture from her coming on. So I simply said, "I like all the people that made these quilts." Sometimes that "theme thing" isn't so obvious!

  3. What a great quilt and story!!

  4. cute quilt and another fun one for your collection. I know Nyima has some more quilts at AAQI, hopefully they'll come up for sale soon.

  5. Pretty much all of my small, recently made quilts were done for charities. I've got a Pilgrim/Roy Challenge quilt by Mary Kerr; a quilt by Nanette Fleischmann from the Alliance For American Quilts' annual benefit auction; and five from AAQI. There is one additional AAQI size quilt made especially for me by Nyima- the quilt she made before she did her first batch of AAQI quilts - and it was a thank you for working on the "Small Wonders" exhibit and catalog, which also generated some proceeds for charity.

  6. If I donʻt just say hello to ALL of you (Michele, Lori, Tonya) this instant, I will end up blithering and incapable of any coherence.

    Merrily, your tribute leaves me speechless. And when I consider the gifts I received from you and Ted, and your treasure trove of close friends, your generosity is manifold, and for me, profoundly significant. For all the good that youʻve done for the world, Merrily, I kiss your feet. I am saying this publicly so the world knows how wonderful (and more) you are.

    Yes, Yankee Quilter, I am in your camp.

    Hey — to you, William Lloyd! We quilters are happy/honored that you "give it up" for charity.
    Love makes the world go ʻround!

    1. Quilters have given me a new perspective on being an artist. Art wasn't really a giving experience for me before I made my first quilt. Sure, I made gifts for family members- framed photos, drawings, paintings, books - but most of the work I considered my most creative was more like an exercise in self-gratification. I entered juried shows, won prizes, and thought that's what it was all about. So I stopped, for a long time. Now that I'm working with fabric and have a lot more life experience under my belt, I understand why so many prolific quiltmakers rarely have much of their own work in their possession. It's because they give it all away. And as I've made my first quilts I've started to realize, it's almost no good if I don't give it away.