Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Ardis and Robert James — 2011 Honorees Announced

Ardis and Robert James Selected as 2011 Honoree

photo courtesy of the International Quilt Study Center

The Quilters Hall of Fame has selected Ardis and Robert James of Chappaqua, New York to be its 2011 Honorees. 

The many years of the generous but quiet philanthropy of Ardis and Robert James has helped educate the larger public about quilts and at the same time helped sustain quilt artists, quilt history organizations, and researchers. The Jameses have helped build creditability and recognition for quilts in the largest sense of that word in both academic and art corridors. Truly, the larger international textile world has been touched by their commitment to “the quilt”, not just our nation.

The Jameses philanthropic activities eventually led to establishment of the International Quilt Study Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the creation of an endowed chair (Ardis James Professorship in Textile, Clothing & Design at the university), and the formation of the world's largest and most comprehensive quilt collection held in public trust. The collection now comprises more than 3500 antique American quilts, contemporary art quilts, and international quilts dating from the 1700s to the present and representing more than 30 countries. In addition, they have provided significant annual support to both the American Quilt Study Group as well as the Studio Art Quilt Associates.

Ardis and Robert James chose to place their extensive private quilt collection in their native state at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, which has long established expertise in both the science and art end of textiles.  They donated not only their quilt collection, but also significant funds to underwrite it. The newly created museum in Lincoln, Nebraska is now known as the International Quilt Study Center & Museum.  The quilt museum is located in a new building called Quilt House, for which the Jameses generously donated the leadership gift.

Due to their continued support of all aspects of this significant collection and its endowment, the collection is now made available for exhibits as well as to serious scholars and researchers from all across the world. As a result, a strong state-wide volunteer support base has been created that is a great assistance to the staff making it possible to maintain and show the collection. 

Ardis and Robert James represent a unique couple in the quilt world of talent and commitment. The Quilters Hall of Fame is pleased to extend to them the recognition they justly deserve for the contributions they have made to the international quilt world.

Karen Alexander
Past President
The Quilters Hall of Fame

DATES: 2011— Induction Events July 14-16, 2011
INDUCTION Day — Saturday, July 16, 2011 in Marion, Indiana
CONTACT: Becky Faulstich
Phone: click here

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Remembering Bonnie Leman

Bonnie Leman 1991, courtesy Myron Miller/LCPQ #74


There is perhaps no more quintessential icon of the late 20th century quilt revival than Bonnie Leman, founder and editor of Quilters Newsletter Magazine.

The quilt world lost a great friend yesterday with her passing. One could easily say Bonnie Leman was THE HUB of the quilt world for almost 30 years. She appeared on the scene in September 1969 with her first issue of Quilters Newsletter and soon left her tracks around the world*. With grace she passed on the baton of leadership at QNM to her daughter Mary in 1996.

Bonnie and husband George built their business together until George's passing January 12, 1986.

Photo appeared in QNM Sept 1994 on the 25th anniversary of QNM. 

Bonnie was inducted into The Quilters Hall of Fame in 1982, the same year she and the family launched their 2nd quilt magazine QUILTMAKER. Click here to read about her induction.

The Leman children in 1972 comprised much of the staff of QNM.
Photo appeared in QNM Sept 1994 on the 25th anniversary of QNM. 

Bonnie passed away peacefully in her daughter's home surrounded by her family. You will undoubtedly be hearing more about Bonnie and the talented Leman family in the coming days as the quilt world salutes and plays tribute to their amazing mother.

The Leman Family in 1994 on the 25th anniversary of QNM.
Photo appeared in Bonnie' editorial in the Sept issue.

Thank you, Bonnie, for all that you did to revive and expand both the art and the history of that great American icon, THE QUILT. Indeed, you helped it become an international icon of the highest caliber.

Thank you, Leman family, for sharing your mother with us for so long. Our hearts go out to you in your loss.

Karen Alexander
Past President
The Quilters Hall of Fame

*Click here to watch a live video interview of Bonnie done by The Alliance for American Quilts' Quilt Treasures project.

PS: The family welcomes comments and suggests that you post them here on the TQHF site for the family to read.

The family placed the following in the Denver Post.

Bonnie Hale Leman, 83, of Arvada, CO, passed away on Saturday, September 4, 2010. Born in Purdin, Missouri on September 28, 1926, to Rex and Laura Hale. She left home for college at 16 and graduated from Park College three years later. She moved to Denver in 1953 and met her husband George Leman while they were both pursuing master's degrees at the University of Denver. She was a mother, teacher and freelance writer until she found her calling in the publishing business, when, in 1969, she founded Quilter's Newsletter Magazine. Through her magazine she helped revive and foster an appreciation of quilts as a great American art form that continues to this day. Bonnie grew her magazine readership to more than 200,000 subscribers in over 100 countries, as well as writing and publishing numerous books and other publications on quiltmaking. She travelled much of the world in the course of her career, made hundreds of friends, and contributed to the growth of the quiltmaking art in many countries. She retired in 1995 to enjoy her children and grandchildren.

Preceded in death by her husband George Leman (1986), she is survived by her daughters Megan O'Gorman (John O'Gorman), Mary Leman Austin (Milton Austin), Emilie Leman, Georgianne Holland (Ted Holland), David Leman, Andrew Leman (Glenn Alfonso), and Matthew Leman (Tara Williams Leman). Her cherished grandchildren include Jerome and Pauline DeFelice; Jessica, Laura, and Eric Bender; and Avery Leman. Also survived by her beloved brother Roy Hale and family of San Francisco; and the Jack and Betty Most family of Carlsbad, New Mexico. A Rosary will be said Monday, September 13, 7:00 p.m., Mt. Olivet, 12801 W. 44th Ave., Wheat Ridge, CO 80033, 303-424-7785. Funeral mass will take place Tuesday, September 14, 10:00 a.m., Sts. Peter and Paul Church, 3920 Pierce Street, Wheat Ridge, CO 80033-4942, (303) 424-0402. Reception information will be available at the funeral service.

This just came from the family Friday September 10 and is posted at their request.

From Mary Leman Austin

The Leman family is so touched and grateful for all the kind words and fond memories that have been posted here. It is a great comfort to her family to see that she is remembered fondly not only for her wit and warmth but for all her accomplishments and contributions to the quilt world, about which she was quite humble. Our deepest thanks for your kind thoughts, from all of Bonnie’s family.

Monday, August 9, 2010


The Quilt Index received a $100,000 grant this week!

We here at TQHF heartily congratulate them! These funds are a much appreciated encouragement to their on-going mission.

TQHF Honoree Merikay Waldvogel has been deeply involved with The Quilt Index from its founding.

A follow-up story to the press release emphasizes that this grant is to support steps towards internationalizing the Index so that "content and use" goes well beyond the national emphasis it now has. This is a really significant new step.

This link gives you a bit more of that very important aspect of the story.

The Quilt Index fills a vital role in community history, family history and women's history by capturing and indexing quilts and their stories! We welcome the possibility that quilts residing in other nations may now be included too.

Aside from the MSU Museum, the Quilt Index’s other partners include MATRIX: The Center for Humane Arts, Letters and Social Sciences Online — an MSU digital resource and research center — and The Alliance for American Quilts .

I have had the privilege of working with the Quilt Index for three years as a member of the Signature Quilt Pilot Project Team. If you own a Signature Quilt yourself, you may want to familiarize yourself with this project.

Every quilt history program requires on-going financial and volunteer efforts, including The Quilters Hall of Fame!

We hope you will choose to help sustain at least one quilt history organization on an annual basis through a donation of time or funds. We couldn't survive without your generous caring support!

Karen B. Alexander
Past President of TQHF

If you would like to donate to The Quilters Hall of Fame, click here.

PS: You can read more of my quilt research by clicking here.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Second Round of Marie Webster Birthday Parties Begins!


The Morgan County Schoolhouse Quilters Guild enjoyed their Marie Webster birthday bash so much last year that they decided to do it again.

Expert cake maker Lisa Dodson outdid herself again with a second Webster design-inspired cake. This year, instead of each buying a slice of cake, the guild just made a blanket donation of $150 to the Hall of Fame. Thank you Morgan County Schoolhouse Quilters Guild!!

Holding the cake are (left) Lydia Stout, owner of Ady's Fabric and Notions in Morgantown, Indiana, the host for our meeting and birthday party, and (right) Lisa Dodson, the cake maker.

Last year Dale Drake, who organized the first party, brought Marie's 1915 book "Quilts: Their Story and How to Make Them" , The Quilters Hall of Fame book (three-ring binder format) containing the stories of the first 34 Honorees. She also shared Rosalind Webster Perry's two books "A Joy Forever" and "Marie Webster's Garden of Quilts" to share with the party goers and gave a brief history of Marie's contributions to the quilt world.

Here is the page from A Joy Forever which this year's cake is based on.

This year guild members all celebrated everyone's birthday with

a fat quarter exchange, and we're saying "Marie Webster!" in the group shot. I think they all now know who Marie is now!

Thank you, Morgan County Schoolhouse Quilters Guild, for your on going support of The Quilters Hall of Fame!

PS: Here is the cake Lisa Dodson created last year to celebrate Marie Webster's 150th birthday and TQHF's 30th birthday. This cake replicates Marie Webster's Windblown Tulip quilt design which first appeared in "Ladies Home Journal" in 1911. (Do not confuse this with the Mt. Mist design. It is very easy to confuse the 1930 Mt. Mist Wind Blow Tulip design with Marie's 1911 design. Today Mountain Mist credits Marie for having inspired their design.

Karen B. Alexander
Past President

PS: You can read more of my quilt research by clicking here.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Listen to Your Mother! — Jean Ray Laury

from the quilt "Listen to Your Mother" by Jean Ray Laury

TQHF 1982 Honoree Jean Ray Laury started designing and making "modern" as well as whimsical quilts in the late 1950s. You can see her very first quilt here - "Tom's Quilt".

Photos by Karen Alexander

TQHF Honorees left to right: Jean Ray Laury with her signature red glasses, Yvonne Porcella (middle back); Bets Ramsey. TQHF Honoree Joyce Gross is seated in front.

The above photo was taken at the San Jose Textile and Quilt Museum, San Jose, California, Oct 2009 during the AQSG seminar.

The Alliance for American Quilts selected Laury as one of its "Quilt Treasures" and filmed her in her home for posterity. She is one of only 14 people to date in the quilt world to be thus honored.

So much of Laury's work is tongue-in-cheek humor with a message. She often delivers her message with "spoonful of sugar" that leaves you smiling and remembering the message long afterwards!

Her series on aging on display at the AQSG seminar is one of her more recent pieces.

In 2003 Jean donated her personal papers on children's books to the Arne Nixon Center for the Study of Children's Literature at Henry Madden Library California State University, Fresno. These papers are available on-site for research.

Here are just some of Jean's many books on display at the 2009 AQSG seminar where Jean was the Keynote speaker.

Her four delightful children's books are:

Sunbonnet Sue Goes to the Quilt Show (Fresno: Hot Fudge Press, 1985).

Sunbonnet Sue Makes Her First Quilt (San Francisco: The Quilt Digest Press, 1987)

No Dragons on My Quilt (Paducah: American Quilter’s Society, 1990)

14,287 Pieces of Fabric and Other Poems (Hong Kong: C&T Publishing, 1994)

These are "must have" books in any child's library! Most of Jean's books are still available directly from Jean's website or thru on-line used book dealers.

See a related article here.

Karen B. Alexander
Quilt Historian

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Honoree Shiela Betterton

It’s always exciting when a museum with a major quilt collection publishes a book showcasing the quilts in its collection. The American Museum in Britain published just such a book this winter—Classic Quilts from The American Museum in Britain (ISBN 13: 9781857595987)

[Click on highlighted words in green to follow links to more information.]

The Quilters Hall of Fame feels a special connection with The American Museum in Britain due to its relationship with the museum’s founding textile advisor, Shiela Betterton. Betterton created the museum's original quilt collection. As a result of her work with the collection—as well as her research and writing in the field of quilt history, Betterton was inducted into The (International) Quilters Hall of Fame in 1999.

Betterton, who was born near Newcastle upon Tyne in 1920, passed on December 26, 2008, at the age of 88. However, we are fortunate that this intrepid quilt historian was able to take part in this book before passing on. Indeed, she wrote the Preface to the book.

Left: Shiela Betterton is interviewed by Karen Alexander in September 2007 at The American Museum in Britain.

Classic Quilts from The American Museum in Britain has a little of everything when it comes to American quilts for the book’s authors, Kate Hebert and Laura Beresford, elected to showcase a wide range of examples from the museum’s collection. This particular collection of quilts is considered by many to be the finest collection of American quilts outside the USA.

Although the book is not an in-depth quilt history book, the photos of the quilts are gorgeous and the notes about each quilt give you basic information which offers a good starting point for further research, if you are so inclined.

There are two primitive basket designs to be found on two of the appliqué quilts in this collection that I found particularly delightful. See page 29 for one in the border of Miss Porter’s Quilt (1777 Eastern Seaboard) and page 35 for another in the border of an 1850 Rose of Sharon (New York State).

One of my favorite things about this book is its close-ups of the fabrics in several of the quilts, in particular the Mosaic quilts on pages 52-55, both which happen to be from Virginia.

The close-up photos of fabrics is a real plus for anyone wishing to learn how to date quilts by studying the fabrics they contain. However, I am ever wanting more, especially of the quilt shown on page 96 (Log Cabin Quilt – Barn Raising Variation from Vermont) whose back is made up of sixty (7 inch square) blocks. The blocks themselves consist of half-square triangles. The variety of fabric scraps used in this quilt's back would delight any lover of early cotton fabrics.

Interested in further fabric studies? Click here to see the excavation of a quilt within a quilt. Click here to see a Dye History Timeline.

This books is a must buy for its photos alone in this writer’s opinion.

Karen B. Alexander
Quilt Historian
Past President
The Quilters Hall of Fame

Star of Bethlehem Quilt (c. 1835) on back cover of Classic Quilts from The American Museum in Britain

PS: You can read more of my quilt research by clicking here.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Jean Wells Kennan

Cottage Quilt Industries

Become Big Business in Late 20th Century

Introducing Jean Wells Keenan of Sisters, Oregon

by Karen B. Alexander

poster by Dan Rickards

Quilting in the 20th century has touched many lives in profoundly different ways. Some quilters have even gone on to create a business out of their passion that has enabled them to support themselves and even their children. A few have even put those children through college! But the one thing quilters all seem to have in common is our love of color and the feel of the fabric beneath our fingers.

In a previous article I shared with you the success Ruby McKim experienced with her quilt pattern business in the first half of the 20th century and touched briefly on Marie Webster’s quilt business success as well. These successes are only some of the contributions both women made to the quilt world that earned them induction into The Quilters Hall of Fame.

Jean Wells Keenan of Sisters, Oregon fits right in with these two earlier multi-talented female entrepreneurs. Some call such businesses “cottage industries”. However, Keenan took her talents as a teacher, designer, author and quilt shop owner to another level all together.

Let's Look Back for A Moment

Interest in the various needlearts tend to wax and wane with every generation. The fluctuating interest in quilting in the 20th century is no exception. Although much had previously been written about weaving and embroidery and even lace-making, it wasn’t until the publication of Marie Webster’s book “Quilts: Their Story and How to Make Them” that anyone had attempted to write a book solely dedicated to the history of the quilt.

Webster’s designs, which began to appear in 1911 in The Ladies’ Home Journal, and her 1915 book set-off a new national interest in quilts. Marie’s story* is a fascinating one, especially in light of all the quilt-related businesswomen that would come after her.

As the U.S.A. approached its bicentennial in 1976, the emergence of women’s history as a separate field worthy of serious academic study is now a well-documented fact. The proliferation of serious quilt history followed shortly thereafter. The founding of the American Quilt Study Group (AQSG) in 1980 by Sally Garoutte of Mill Valley, CA specifically helped set high academic standards for this newly emerging field.

The concept of needlework “cottage industries” touches upon this article's subject. However, Jean Wells Keenan—a renowned quilter and teacher—would take the concept of "cottage quilt industry" one giant step further in the late 20th century.

Cottage needlework industries were certainly not unheard of in the first quarter of the 20th century, but not all of them impacted the direction of quilt design to the degree that both Marie Webster and Ruby McKim did. An excellent paper by quilt historian Cuesta Benberry (1922-2007), “Quilt Cottage Industries: A Chronicle,” established groundbreaking research on this subject. You can find Benberry’s article in the 1994 hardback book, Quiltmaking in America: Beyond the Myths, published by AQSG. carries used copies.

Both Webster and McKim were forerunners of an explosion of similar quilt-related businesses that emerged during the late 20th century quilt revival. One only has to track the ads in the popular needlework and quilt magazines of the time to see these phenomena emerge. The Internet and other new technology only added to women’s ability as well as opportunity to create and work from home at something they loved.

2010 TQHF Inductee —Jean Wells Keenan

The life and career of the newly announced 2010 Quilters Hall of Fame Inductee —Jean Wells Keenan of Sisters, Oregon—is an excellent example of the influence of one of the foremost quilt entrepreneurs of the late 20th century. Keenan came to her ultimate profession within quilting through a serendipitous occurrence in her career as a Home Economics teacher in the Oregon public school system in the 1960s. However, her interest in sewing began far earlier in childhood.

The Roots of a Future Career

Although no one in the family quilted during the years Keenan was growing up, Keenan was fortunate to have a grandmother who greatly enjoyed sewing and crochet and noticed the budding interest of her two granddaughters in sewing and encouraged them.

Ah, what a difference a grandmother can make in a child’s life. The seeds were thus planted, watered and tilled. What an amazing variety of creativity would one day emerge from such a humble beginning.

Many shifts were occurring in the fiber arts world in the second half of the 20th century that further set the stage for someone like Keenan. Addressing these changes in a 1993 Uncoverings article, Honoree Bets Ramsey wrote: “… between 1950 and 1970 certain artists began to adopt and incorporate various quilting techniques in their work, coinciding with a new awareness of the value of women’s work and an acceptance of fiber as an art medium.”

About this same time educators in the late 1960s began asking, “Why are we pushing only gender-specific Home-Ec and Shop classes? Girls need to learn to use tools and boys need to learn to survive in a kitchen and thread a needle.” It was this particular cultural shift that was the catalyst for setting Keenan’s interest in quiltmaking in motion.

Shifts in Educational Goals

In 1969, in the process of fulfilling her new curriculum requirement to find a project to assign to the boys in her class, Keenan came across some English patchwork in a book. What appealed to her were the geometric shapes. Geometry, numbers, math! What an excellent vehicle for teaching various lessons, not the least of which was accurate cutting and sewing! This was not frou-frou stuff as any quilter knows, as well as any engineer. Accurate measuring, dexterity at intricate assemblage and patience is something that any student can benefit from.

Keenan had the boys make floor cushions but was soon taken with the whole process of putting colorful fabrics together in a variety of new shapes. Having loved sewing and fabric since childhood, this new venue was right down her alley. It didn’t matter that she had never seen quilts made. Patchwork was still sewing and it was done with a colorful variety of fabric and patterns. Piecing is piecing, right?

Quilting on the Rise Across the Country

The 1960s and 70s also saw the rise of other events that stirred up new interest in the fiber arts: the first quilting cooperatives; the formation of numerous new quilt guilds across the country following the American Bicentennial and the introduction of quilt conferences, beginning with the creation of the Mill Valley Quilt Authority in California, founded in 1970 by Joyce Gross and Sally Garoutte.

The creation of other major quilt-related organizations followed: the National Quilting Association (1970) in Greenbelt, MD; the launch of Bets Ramsey’s annual Southern Quilt Symposium in conjunction with Hunter Museum (1974) in Chattanooga, TN; and the creation of the Continental Quilting Congress by Hazel Carter in 1978 and her subsequent creation of The Quilters Hall of Fame the following year.

In 1975 Karey Bresenhan, stepped onto this stage just about the same time, creating her first “Quilt Fair” in Houston, Texas, and founding Quilt Market four years later in 1979. “Quilt Fair” would eventually morph into the International Quilt Festival, the largest quilt event in North America. Quilt Market, designed exclusively for quilt shop owners, is arguably the event that gave credence to and created an industry from a cottage craft. As Honoree Donna Wilder wrote me recently, Quilt Market, from the earliest years of the late 20th century quilt revival, "brought together companies and quilt shops, spreading the awareness of quilting and expediting the styling and availability of quilting fabrics and notions, that made it possible for quilt shops to grow and prosper.”

Jean Wells Keenan stepped onto this stage in the mid-70s, her talents and love of teaching now poised to take off in a whole new direction, and take off she did.

The Second Step: Keenan's Dream Emerges

A year after moving to Sisters, Oregon, Jean Wells Keenan decided to use money from her teacher’s retirement account to rent space where she could teach quilting as well as sell quilting supplies. That same year she also launched the first Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show. This was 1975, an auspicious year when you consider it in the context of the events listed above.

Just a year or so earlier Keenan had discovered old family quilts her mother had packed away in family cedar chests. What an exciting catalytic discovery that must have been for her as well. Quilts were not uncommon in her family after all!

When Keenan opened The Stitchin’ Post in 1975, could she possibly imagine what lay ahead — an outdoor quilt show that would eventually exhibit some 1200 quilts each year from around the world and would utilize some 3,000 volunteer hours from a cooperative community to pull off? An annual week-long “quilt school” showcasing some 30+ teachers? Twenty-seven books, including the 11 she has co-written with her daughter Valori Wells Kennedy? Perhaps not. But in fact because of those first steps she dared to take, the dream became a reality, enhancing countless lives.

A Life-Changing Event for A Whole Community

The impact of the growth of the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show on the community of Sisters, Oregon is not difficult to imagine. With the surge in interest in quilting following the U.S. Bicentennial, the Quilt Show grew so large that a non-profit corporation was eventually established to manage the show and related events for the benefit of the Sisters community and school groups, and to educate the public about the art of quilting. This is one of those rare occurrences in quilt history where quilting changed a whole community. This in itself sets Jean Keenan Wells apart from the average quilt shop owner.

This amazing woman’s impact continued to expand year after year. In 1979 she wrote her first book. In 1980, the year after Hazel Carter founded The Quilters Hall of Fame as an adjunct of the Continental Quilters Congress, Keenan added the Quilter’s Affair, a week-long schedule of workshops that coincides with the Quilt Show. Today it attracts close to 1600 participants from all over the world.

Whole families drive to Sisters each year and camp out for the week so that the quilter in the family can attend classes. The estimated numbers for the over-all crowd that is attracted to Sisters each year — some just to see the quilts and to shop — is 15,000-20,000. Keenan further assists the community by hiring local high school students to tote sewing machines and materials to and from classes each day; play jazz during Picnic in the Park; set-up and serve and clean up the Picnic in the Park for 800+ guests; conduct the Around the Block Fiber Art Stroll; plus pick up trash throughout the weekend.

"Paradise Garden" by Jean Wells Keenan

Always one to be deeply involved in community activities, Jean Wells Keenan served on the Sisters School Board from 1975-1978, (chairing the committee 1977-1978), and early on became an active member in the Sisters Area Chamber of Commerce, a relationship she maintains today. In 1984 she became a participant in the Central Oregon Community College Small Business Development Program, and later became an advisor to the Oregon State Board of the Small Business Program, as well as a Board member for the Central Oregon Economic Development Council 1989-1991.

As one letter nominating Keenan to the hall of fame read, “To name all who she has encouraged to develop their full potential would simply be impossible.”

Oldest Quilt Shop in the USA?

It is quite possible that The Stitchin’ Post is the oldest quilt shop in the U.S. Certainly it’s the oldest quilt shop still in the hands of its original owner. In acknowledgement of her business acume, Keenan was named recipient of the Michael Kile Award for Lifetime Achievement in 1998, the highest award that the quilting business industry gives. She was also the first quilt shop owner to be inducted into the Independent Retailer Hall of Fame in 1997. In 2008 she was one of eight Oregon State University alumni honored in its year-long Centennial Celebration salute.

Keenan is indeed a major player in today’s evolving “quilt world,” with its far-reaching impact on commerce, manufacturing, and related technology. She has also made many contributions to the beauty and aesthetics of this well loved art form and has traveled the world to teach both quilting and the business of successful quilt shop management.

Active for almost three decades as a noted quiltmaker, author, designer, teacher and entrepreneur, Keenan has managed to stay on top of a fast paced and changing retail business in its many complex aspects. At the same time she was consciously looking to the future once again. Kennan diligently prepared the next generation in the person of her daughter Valori Wells Kennedy to carry-on the quilt legacy and responsibilities in the Sisters's community, making Valori her partner in 2005.

Keenan the Designer

Keenan is also a passionate gardener and, like Marie Webster, her gardens greatly inspire and influence her quilt designs.
In writing all of the above, we haven’t even touched upon Keenan’s award winning quilts, some of which you can see here, or her gifts as a designer.

There is so much more to explore about this talented, generous businesswoman and quilter.

Keenan is well deserving indeed of the honor of becoming The Quilters Hall of Fame’s 40th inductee. Mark your calendars for July 15-17, 2010 and come celebrate with her.

Although the Celebration 2010 Registration form for Keenan’s induction won’t be available until April, there are other interesting news items to see on the TQHF website and on the TQHF blog between now and Celebration 2010.

Meanwhile, keep those needles flying and spread the word about how quilts enrich your life as well as the life of our communities!

Karen B. Alexander
Quilt Historian

PS: All articles and material (including photos) on this blog are copyrighted. Please click here if you wish permission to quote significant portions.

Please have the courtesy to cite this blog as a source if you quote short portions or use any information you read here in any published format.

1) The Alliance for American Quilts, Q.S.O.S. Tape No. 71; interview of Jean Wells Keenan by Leah Call, November 3, 2003

2) Bend Bulletin, Bend, Oregon, May 5, 2009; Jean Wells Keenan interview by Kimberly Bowker

3) Bets Ramsey, “Art and Quilts: 1950-1970”, Uncoverings 1993, Laurel Horton, ed. (San Francisco: American Quilt Study Group, 1993) 9-40

4) C&T Publishing: The Stitchin’ Post named an Inspirational Shop

5) Jean Wells Keenan's nomination was organized and spearheaded by Anne Foster of Portland, Oregon. Selected letters from this nomination file were referenced for this article: Rose Horton, Kathy Pazera, Kathie Olson, Donna Wilder, Karen Bresenhan, and Alex Anderson. All letters of nomination are on file at The Quilters Hall of Fame.

6) See Oregon State University Synergies, Nov 1, 2008

*Marie Webster’s granddaughter, Rosalind Webster Perry, republished this seminal work in 1990 but added a comprehensive must-read chapter about Marie’s own life and business. “Quilts: Their Story and How to Make Them” is available through the TQHF Museum Shop.

PS: You can read more of my quilt research by clicking here.