The Bead Quilt

The Bead Quilt
On September 11th, 2001, the world changed.
We all know that. We will all remember seeing and hearing it in horror.
This article is not about that, there will be a lot of things on the news about it.
It's about how a lot of people in the beading community found a measure of peace in the massive Bead Quilt project.

The Bead Quilt, with it's 576 squares, 9 panels, weighing about 150 lbs total, took thousands of hours to create.
Each of the squares is hand beaded with glass beads by bead artists around the world.

Peyote stitched, embroidered, square stitched, some squares in themes, some gorgeously designed squares to show the parts of the tragedy that effected them most, some show a hope for peace, many show patriotism and a belief in the United States of America,but they all show how beaders could come together, and show their support for the many victims.

However, the people who probably spent the most hours, time and money on making this symbol of healing and peace a reality are the Bead Quilt team of coordinators. They have spent time and money finding places to show it, museums, bead shows, et cetra, traveling with it, often paying for part of the expenses and insurance out of pocket. Yes, the Bead Quilt has a lot of supporters, financially, but not near enough to pay for the all of it. As you can probably imagine, the cost of shipping and insurance for something that big, in the custom built crates, can be very expensive!

Finding places to show it can be difficult too, the value, weight and size of it make insuring it hard.Even given that, the hard working team has found places to show it, and they are looking for the right permanent homes.

If you would like more information about the quilt, check out The Bead Quilt, there is information on the site for how to become a donor for the project, a list of the places where it will be exhibited, if you get a chance, see it!
How to get buttons or postcards to support the project, and of course, wonderful pictures of the quilt, and a list of the people who made the squares for it.

Here's what some people had to say about it.
Beki Haley, Out on a Whim Beads, saw the quilt at 2 different beadshows.
"It's two-fold really for me the impact of how powerful the squares are.As individual pieces they touched me deeply ,the fact that folks expressed thier emotions in them, and those emotions were so raw,it touched me inside,like I could hear each person speaking about how they felt.The quilt as a whole,just slammed me hard.When I made a special time to stand and view it,the tears,of course, were immediate. The feeling inside me is so hard to describe, almost like every emotion each person was felt about it wrapped into one new emotion ,that I have never felt before. The other aspect of it for me is my strong feelings about the beading community in general.I have been wrapped into it for most of my life, and to see such a gathering of souls all using their beads to express themselves, with no judgement attached, no agenda, no grasp for acknowledgement. That made me proud"

Julia Pretl, Dark Hare Beadwork and one of the coordinators said this:
"As the Bead Quilt coordinators received the beaded squares from their regions, the scanned images were sent to me,so that I could put them on the website. Every time a new scan would come in, my love for the bead community would grow.This project has enabled me to really feel like part of something at a time when I needed it so badly. I'm sure that others feel the same. Looking at the completed quilt, I am immensly proud of our little community."

Jeanette Shanigan, Shanigan's Shenigans, and the Alaska Coordinator says;
I was the Alaska coordinator for the Bead Quilt. I saw each of the 88 Alaskan squares and the completed Bead Quilt in Portland at Embellishment. There are no words that can truly describe the emotions expressed in the quilt. To me, the impact is so moving, that I cannot articulate my feelings about it. I think this is a common reaction and that's why it's so important to exhibit it in as many areas of the country as possible.
My heartfelt thanks go to Andrea Adams for her vision and to all the other members of Team Bead Quilt who helped bring that vision to fruition.
Please email me with your own stories about how the Bead Quilt affected you, and I will add them to this article.

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This content was written by Shala Kerrigan. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Shala Kerrigan for details.