Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Martha Ann's Quilt for Queen Victoria

Martha Ann's Quilt for Queen Victoria by Kyra E. Hicks, illustrated by Lee Edward Födi, 2007

The huge International Quilt Festival held each year in Houston, Texas is the Olympic Games and Super Bowl of quilting. The works on display there approach the realm of the gods. Fine arts majors and fiber artists create works of such rarity and splendor; I can only bow to their mastery and talent. It is a feast.

I attended the West Houston Quilt Guild's show on yonder weekend. It was a wonderful display of talent, color and love. These were the kind of quilts I might achieve myself. There was a quilt that was created as a fundraiser for a local high school band. I recognized the uniforms and enjoyed the music motif fabrics. I might do something like that for our high school choir. What a good idea!

Another quilt incorporated blocks I am making myself. I admired and pondered the setting and the framing borders. Should I do that? Do I like the way the blocks were set? I might try putting them on point. That would be an interesting variation.

This all put me in mind of the true story of Martha Ann who was born into slavery in 1817 and whose freedom was purchased by her father when she was twelve years old. He moved the family to Liberia in 1830 to begin a new and free life. Martha Ann watched the British Navy protect the Liberian coastline from slavers. Her personal gratitude to the British extended to Queen Victoria and it became her lifelong dream to thank the queen in person. The idea of presenting a gift to the queen grew in her mind and she began work on a coffee tree design quilt.

Finally at the age of seventy six, she traveled to England, met Queen Victoria and presented her with the quilt. Her dream was realized.

This story rings so true to me as a quilter. There is no more personal or love filled gift than a quilt. I have blocks, fabric and ideas for quilts in progress and quilts yet to come that already have the name of a dear one attached to them. I can absolutely understand Martha Ann's gift.

Quilter and author Kyra E. Hicks blogs at Black Threads

More reviews at:
A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy
with additional links about the story

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