Friday, November 11, 2011

Cavendish Semiquincentennial: Quilting/Anniversary Quilt

Quilting was very prominent among the early settlers, not only because of the need for warmth, but fabric was expensive to buy and “homespun” was labor intensive. Every scrap had to be saved and “re purposed.”

The Cavendish Historical Society has quite a collection of quilts in the Museum, most of which were most likely made by a group of women to commemorate an event, such as a marriage. The oldest quilt in the collection is from the Civil War era and a recent acquisition.

Teresa Campbell of Lancaster, California was given eight squares by a friend of her husband. A quilter, as well as a genealogist, Campbell traced the squares to Cavendish and donated them in early June.

While we were discussing the Civil War era squares, a number of women and men (a first) in Cavendish, were preparing the 250th Anniversary quilt. When Campbell supplied the names of the quilters- Evey Kendall, Leizzie Kendall, Mrs. Maria Spaulding, Julia A. Davis, Mary Hemminway, Celia A. Davis, and Ella A. Spaulding-it was immediately noted that one of the quilters for Cavendish’s Anniversary quilt, Pang Ting, now lives in the house where the Kendall sisters once resided.

The Cavendish 250th Anniversary Quilt was on display at Old Home Day as well as serving as a backdrop for the play Cavendish Chronicles II: The Early Years. Because the school’s multi purpose room was both the site of the shelter during Irene recovery, and the play, the set was keep up for most of the shelter duration, so many people saw the quilt. Of particular interest was the square made by fiber artist Paulette Martell, which depicted the 1927 flood.

A combination of 14 different people made the 30 squares in the quilt. A variety of techniques were used to create a very unique design. While many of the squares were collaborative efforts, they depicted the town’s history as well as aspects that people thought should be remembered.

In addition to Martell, the quilters included:
• Jackie Blanchard: Raised in Cavendish, she is an award winning quilter. Not only did she transfer a number of photographs of Cavendish onto fabric, she included embroidered squares of the town name and dates, as well as an appliqué flower square.
• Margo Caulfield: From Baltimore, MD, is the coordinator of CHS. She, worked on several squares and choose to remember Phineas Gage, as she has spent many years working in the field of traumatic brain injury.
• Barbara Dickey: A retired researcher, Barbara worked with Wendy Regier and Tess Ellwood to capture the Cavendish countryside through six wildflower squares.
• Tess Ellwood: New to Proctorsville, Tess comes to our community from North Carolina. She is a quilter as well as a weaver. She not only contributed the log cabin square, but was the one who carefully sewed, repieced squares and masterminded the completion of the quilt.
• Gloria Leven: Born in West Virginia, Gloria has been a lover and maker of quilts for many years. She made several squares, including the pieced maple leaf.
• Paulette Martell: Originally from Maine, she is a well known fiber artist and quilter. Who knew her square depicting the 1927 flood would take on such significance?
• Jennifer McBride: A well known textile designer and owner of Jennifer Hoar designs and Soap Baubles, Jen moved to Cavendish from Brooklyn, New York just a few years ago. The bear, moose, tractor, and deer were her designs.
• Mary Ormrod: From Toronto Canada, where she lived in the bush country of Canada at one point, it is not surprising that Mary would choose the Crown Point Road as her quilt square theme
• Becky Plunkard: Growing up in a military family, Becky has lived in many different places. Making the square of the Universalist Church, known locally as “The Stone Church,” she only had to look out her window for inspiration.
• Craig Rankin: A landscape architect from New York, Craig retired to Cavendish in 1979. He was well known for his pen and ink drawings of Cavendish. His rendering of the CHS Museum was transferred to fabric by Jackie Blanchard.
• Lonnie Rankin: The daughter-in-law of Craig Rankin, she spent many happy days on the Rankin Farm and choose that as her theme. .
• Wendy Regier: From New York City, Wendy ahs been a professional weaver for the last 35 years. She made three squares: Marino sheep and loom; the Cavendish Green Marble Quarry (which is near her home) and Alexandra Solzhenitsyn
• Rich Svec: From New Jersey and Town Manager, Svec’s photograph of the town office, as well as the town logo were converted into squares by Jackie Blanchard.
• Pang Ting: From Hong Kong, while Pang may be a fiber artist with a love of paper, she created a one of a kind portrait of Cavendish today by using small pieces of fabric.

The quilt is being preserved and will be available for future generations as one of our town’s remembrances of our anniversary.

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