Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Guatemala Quilt Project

Last year I went to Guatemala on Nancy Crow's textile tour. Near Solola, we visited an orphanage. I was impressed with the programs and organization for the 80 or so children who live there. The kids live in groups of about 12 in what I will call a "home", consisting of a common room with 3 or 4 bedrooms attached. Each home has a "tia", aunt, who cares for the kids in that family unit. Some of the buildings had been recently constructed, complete with solar panels, by volunteers from a college in the U.S. The kids make their own furniture in the woodshop, part of the vocational program in the orphanage. They also make their own school uniforms and even their own shoes!

The one home we viewed was clean and neat. But the kids' bunk beds were topped with tattered blankets, and a couple of the beds had old treadbare quilts on them. Being a quilter, I saw an opportunity!

Since I returned from the trip, my mission is to make a quilt for each child at the orphanage. Of course, this project is not without benefits to me. I have a chance to use up some portion of my collection of commercial fabric, which I no longer use in my art work. And, being relatively new to longarm quilting, the project gives me the opportunity to hone my longarm skills.

So between creating my art pieces, I've been sewing scrap quilts - and having a ball! Some friends have joined in the fun and contributed quilt tops. To date, 10 crib quilts and 15 twin bunk-size quilts are complete. Another 6 or so are in progress. Here's the first photo - a crib quilt pieced by my friend Deb from Maine. More to come...

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