Allison Wilbur

by Allison Wilbur on January 6, 2020

Embroidered block of village life in Mali

I chose this spectacular embroidered block which has the feeling of a village full of life. As a bird watcher, the bird in the center also attracted my attention and made me feel my sister artist was perhaps a bird lover as well.

Embroidered scene of village life in Mali with fabric border

I selected two fabrics to surround the block, a thin gold strip to accent the huts and a striped indigo from Mali as a wider outer border. The indigo came from the New England Quilt Museum. Someone had donated their collection of indigos and I was thrilled to find just the right piece to work into this project. There is a strong tradition of indigo dyeing in Mali and I dye with indigo, so it strengthened my connection with the piece.

Embroidered village life block surrounded by gold and blue fabric borders

It was tricky working with the pentagonal shape and the lines in the indigo fabric, but I was pleased with how the blue outer borders drew attention to the figures in the center.

Mud cloth or bogolan from Mali
Mud cloth or bogolan from Mali

I had purchased some mud cloth or bogolan from Cultured Expressions in Rahway, New Jersey when I visited there in 2018. At the time I had no idea I would be working on a quilt from Mali, I just loved the rich earthy tones and the interesting geometric patterns. How exciting to have such a treasure to incorporate into my quilt!

Embroidered village scene from Mali with indigo border and bologlan fabric

Almost there! I added some hand dyed damask fabric which is probably from Africa as well (though who knows for sure since it came from my stash).

Mchine Quilting on embroidered block from Mali
Mchine Quilting on embroidered block from Mali

The quilt was finished with machine quilting. My goal was to add texture but to not distract from the center embroidered block. I am pleased that I was able to bring in so many elements that connected to life in Mali and hope that my Sister Artist in Mali understands how much I admired and was inspired by her beautiful work. I have titled it “Peaceful Village.”

Finished Sister Artist Quilt titled "Peaceful Village."

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Linda Kim

by Allison Wilbur on November 9, 2019

Art Quilt by Linda Kim for Sister Artists Project for Quilt for Change and The Advocacy Project

For My Sisters

This was my sole project all summer long. Because my approach is improvisational, the process tends to be slow — especially so during summer with family plans and kids at home. I look forward to seeing all the completed quilts for the Sister Artists initiative. This is such a worthy cause, I hope the upcoming online auction is a great success.

I no longer buy fabric. I find plenty on the free tables at various guild meetings I attend. And in the materials I come across I sense real life stories — lots of scraps, of course, plenty of yardages as well, partially completed projects, new materials and tattered ones, too. Recycling is an important component of my art practice and I love knowing what I take from these free tables don’t end up in our landfills. As a result, For My Sisters art quilt is wonderfully scrappy. All fabrics were found including a red linen curtain used for binding and backing. The outer border of African batiks was repurposed from an abandoned project.

Of the found fabrics were a few cut squares of US patriotic prints with blue and white stars. I added a red heart (yes, cut from a found fabric) as a message of love, hope and friendship from folks in USA to the survivors in Mali.

Machine pieced, hand quilted, hand appliquéd, hand sewn binding and beading. Found fabric, sashiko thread, machine thread, beads, batting. 42.5h x 44w inches

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Diane Clapes

November 8, 2019

Thank you so much for allowing me to be a part of this program. Honoring the work of my “sister artist” was quite a challenge, but lots of fun. I spent some time researching the country of Mali and looking at photos of the landscape. I was inspired by the interesting rock formations found there. […]

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Salama Quilters from Kenya

November 6, 2019

The Salama Quilters Self Help Group of Nairobi, Kenya, (the Salama Mamas) have only been making quilts since 2017. Inspired by a presentation at the Kenya Quilt Guild about the African Siddi Quilters of India, they began to make quilts using the Indian technique of hand piecing with a running stitch. From the beginning, they […]

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Ellen Fisher

August 30, 2019

Quilt Artist Ellen Fisher talks about her creative process in making her Sister Artists quilt.

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Janice Jones – Bonus!

August 29, 2019

Janice Jones contacted us and said, “It pulls on my heart strings to think that one of the blocks did not get chosen. Surely we can’t have one of the girls blocks not chosen.” It turns out there were two unclaimed blocks, and Janice undertook to finish both of them. As you can see below, each […]

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Ellena Georato

August 28, 2019

 Ellena is new to Art Quilting and finds the improvisational aspects appeal to her the most.  The process of taking a germ of an idea and turning it into a completed, one of a kind, art piece is exciting. Partnering with a young woman from Mali to produce a single unified piece was challenging but […]

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Veronica Mays

August 27, 2019

I love cooking so I entitled this piece, “It’s Meal Time!”  I love the embroidery the artist chose for her piece and I decided to add borders that bring out the colors within the  panel while adding some African and Asian fabric flavors from my stash.  It is my hope that this project will bless […]

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Eleanor Levie

August 27, 2019

It’s my favorite thing: art quilts as advocacy. So I was quick to answer the call from Quilt for Change and The Advocacy Project. Under the initiative, known as Sister Artists, survivors of gender-based violence created embroidered blocks depicting scenes of their life in Mali. Quilters — mostly American — were invited to choose a […]

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Rhonda O’Keefe

August 9, 2019

This project meant a lot to me.  I’m a relatively new quilter, and had never made an advocacy quilt before, but reading about the Sister Artists project inspired me.  I was lucky enough to be able to spend 10 days in Tanzania last summer for a project related to my work as a biosafety professional, […]

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Janice Jones

July 29, 2019

Janice Jones selected block #27 for her Sister Artists quilt – women preparing maize. The fabrics Janice selected are a beautiful complement to the colors and textures of the embroidered block. Embellishments of appliquéd shapes, beads, prairie points and tassels add to the beauty of the piece. Of her involvement in Sister Artists, Janice says, […]

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Deborah Weir

July 28, 2019

Deborah Weir selected block #1 – which featured a large bird, perhaps a black capped crane, for her Sister Artists quilt. She emphasized some of the original lines of stitching, created needle lace leaves and found some “jungly” fabric on Spoonflower for the framing. Deborah has created pieces for the Solar Sister and Water is […]

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Colleen Ansbaugh

July 27, 2019

Colleen Ansbaugh has completed her Sister Artistsquilt from the camel block (#29). Colleen’s piece is full of energy, movement and texture. The African fabrics and motifs add a sense of vibrancy. Colleen also created a piece for the Water is Life exhibit and we are thrilled to have her take part in a second Quilt […]

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Suzanne Munroe

July 26, 2019

Suzanne Munroe, a portrait artist from Rhode Island, chose block # 16. She blogged on her website about her process. Although my block was titled “preparing food”, I was more drawn to studying the hut, I decided to mimic the strength of the hand made walls –  showing and emphasizing the strength of these women […]

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Sue Willows-Raznikov – In Progress

July 25, 2019

Wonderful to hear from Sue Willows-Raznikov in San Francisco as she is creating her Sister Artists quilt. Sue chose block #18, In the Fields. Sue writes, “I’m so glad to be part of this quilt project. The original embroidery ‘in the field’ has a woman carrying her child while entering the field and two workers […]

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Cathey LaBonte

July 24, 2019

Cathey LaBonte in Connecticut is auditioning fabrics to go with block #25 – one of the camel blocks. I just love the tassle embellishments she is working on! Of her creative process, Cathey says, “My creative process consists of a lot of experimenting on my design wall! I pin stuff on, stand back and take […]

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Dawn Piasta – in Progress

July 23, 2019

We love seeing in progress photos of the quilts. Dawn Piasta from Manitoba, Canada chose block # 37, which has a fishing theme. Perfect for Dawn since her husband is a professional fishing guide! I can’t wait to see how the fish will merge with the embroidered block. Certainly, Dawn has a beautiful setting for […]

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Sister Artists Project Update

July 22, 2019

All 39 blocks have been assigned and artists are hard at work, creating art quilts from the beautiful blocks embroidered by the women at the Gender Based Violence center in Mali. Their artwork celebrates village life and their natural surroundings. To see the individual blocks, please visit The Advocacy Project’s website page. The more than […]

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Exciting New Project – Sister Artists

March 14, 2019

We have a new project! Quilt for Change and The Advocacy Project (AP) are pleased to announce the launch of an exciting new partnership between survivors of gender-based violence (GBV) in Mali and quilters in the United States. The Project: Under the initiative, known as Sister Artists, GBV survivors have produced embroidered blocks depicting scenes of […]

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Kean University Human Rights Institute Gallery Reception

September 8, 2018

The last exhibition of Water is Life is currently on display in Union, New Jersey, at the Kean University Human Rights Institute Gallery from September 4-December 12, 2018.  Gallery access is free and open to the public, and the Institute is happy to arrange group tours for guilds and school groups.  To schedule a tour, […]

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