OQP team members at our final quilt documentation day, April 27, Montavilla Sewing Center, Lake Oswego. L-R: Mary Brooner, Susie Berke, Janis Pearson, Claire Kellogg, Joan Beck, Eileen Fitzsimons, Renee Miller, Kathy Yee, Ann Pfrender, Lori Friedman, Melora Neminsky.
The final two quilt documentation days of the Oregon Quilt Project took place in the spring of this year.
Sisters, Oregon was the location of our second to last event, held on Friday and Saturday, March 8th and 9th. With advance planning by the Three Sisters Historical Society, East of the Cascades Quilters, and the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show, we set up in the classroom of the Stitchin’ Post quilt shop and began our recording process. As we have done throughout the Project’s nine-year history we invited members of local guilds to work alongside us to learn how to document quilts so they can continue in their community after the event.
Using OQP documentation forms (available on-line), a few common tools and standard reference books, local volunteers took turns examining the quilts and recording their findings. We were able to operate two tables and with the half-hour-per quilt appointments added 47 quilts to the almost 1800 that the OQP team has recorded since 2010. The information and photographs have now been entered into the Quilt Index by patient volunteers Sheryl Miles and Janis Pearson, where it may be viewed by everyone with internet access. Although not deliberate, the March trip connected the beginning and end of the Oregon Quilt Project: the first documentation event took place in Sisters in April, 2010, under the leadership of Martha Sparks and Bill Volckening.
As we planned a documentation day in late April, the realization that the event would be our “swan song” brought eleven volunteers to the classroom of the Montavilla Sewing Center in downtown Lake Oswego. As in Sisters, we operated two tables and recorded 31 quilts, which are in the process of being added to the Quilt Index.
A day of mental focus and many hours of standing over exam tables is exhausting, but as always, it was exciting to see the quilts as they unfolded before us and we heard the stories of their creation. It was a poignant moment when we completed our paperwork and packed our tool box and bags, knowing that the documentation phase of the Oregon Quilt Project was finally complete. It was serendipity that the final quilt of record was “54-40 or Fight”, a pattern that refers to the mid-19th century, when national debate was underway to determine placement of the northern boundary line of what became the State of Oregon on February 14, 1859.
While our documentations have ended, Project volunteers are working with our sponsor, the Willamette Heritage Center in Salem to open an exhibit on the discoveries of the Oregon Quilt Project. It is scheduled to open to the public on Friday, September 27 and run through December 23. See this page for a flyer/announcement of the exhibit, which we hope you, our readers, and quilt owners, will be able to attend.
Because the records of all recorded quilts are on the Quilt Index, we will not be producing a book on the Oregon Quilt Project. However, as part of the WHC exhibit, team members are creating a “storybook” about the Project and some of the quilts that will stay in their memories. Further details on this publication will be posted at a future date.
Stitches and Stories
Discoveries from the Oregon Quilt Project
An exhibit at the Willamette Heritage Center, Salem
September 27 – December 23, 2019
The Willamette Heritage Center is located at 1313 Mill Street, S.E.. An admission fee provides access to the rest of the WHC site, as well as the exhibition gallery.
Open hours are Monday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Hours may vary due to holiday events. Please confirm the gallery is open via their website before you come.