Thursday, April 16, 2009

Update on Virginia Tech Memorial Project

Today marks the 2nd anniversary of the tragic shootings at Virginia Tech. We thought you would like to have an update on the Virginia Tech Quilt Block Project that we began immediately after this tragedy in 2007.

We received a tremendous response to our Virginia Tech Memorial Block Project--with nearly 600 quilt blocks donated to this project from quilters all around the world. We put many of these blocks on display in the classroom area of Grandma's Attic last year. These individual blocks are a living testament to the power of quilts and the fiber arts to help people heal after a national tragedy.

The second stage of the project began shortly after the display. We documented and photographed every block received. We believe it is appropriate to honor and acknowledge each block submission by preserving the names of the block creators and the images of the blocks created. We compiled a large database containing the name of the block and the person who created it. Each block was assigned a number so that it can be easily referenced in the database when necessary. In addition to this compilation of information, we collected a large binder filled with the completed block submission forms and any other accompanying correspondence. We then took the intensive step of photographing the individual blocks. We are now in the process of reviewing these digital images, ensuring that they are in good condition, and preparing them for display. All photography work on this stage of the project was done by Kyle Baker.

The third phase of the project is now in full swing. Noted Quilt Historian and Pattern Designer Roxy Burgard spent hours (days) sorting through these quilt blocks. She developed and organized a method for turning blocks into quilt tops. The organization and creative eye she brought to this project has been nothing short of awe-inspiring and stands as a testament to her considerable quilt making skills. Working with 160 blocks, she selected 20 blocks per quilt based on pre-determined themes. She even created names for each quilt based on block content. Once that herculean task was accomplished, Roxy and I selected appropriate sashings for these eight quilts. They are now ready to be sewn into quilt tops. With the help of volunteers, we now hope to get these quilt tops made and sent to machine quilters for completion.

Believe me, while it is easy to write about the work that has been done to date, it is more difficult to explain how many volunteer hours have been involved in the work, let alone try to explain the emotional toll it takes when viewing and working with these blocks. The whole process has been very moving for everyone involved. Every volunteer has been committed to giving proper and appropriate respect to each block on its way to final inclusion in quilts to be presented to Virginia Tech.

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