Saturday, January 17, 2009

Quilting Sessions

The public quilting sessions held this week at the Bates Legacy Center and the Banneker-Douglass Museum were an unbelievable experience for all involved. Over 200 people attended the two events aged 3 years and up. It was absolutely amazing to sit and watch people come together over this one artwork to add their messages of hope, peace, and goodwill while sharing their stories and talking with their neighbors. People of all quilting experiences added to the quilt, some adding messages while others added stitches to help hold it together. I personally can say that I have never quilted, however even I found time to add some stitches to the quilt on Wednesday afternoon. This was quite an experience as I generally tend to shy away from actually participating in the projects of the programs I plan so that I am free to help others.

Some of my favorite memories over the last few days have been random moments occurring unexpectedly. From the reporter from the Capital being "forced" into quilting while he was taking photos and then seeing him turn his work camera over to one of our volunteers to take his picture to seeing Dr. Gaither laying across the quilt at Bates while stitching in the center to seeing the endless stream of people and Dr. Gaither's constant desire and delight in greeting the new guests and the light in her eyes while talking about the quilt. The events were capped off with several people pitching in to help hang the quilt. Chills went down several spines and goosebumps appeared on many arms as the quilt was unfurled and raised along the museum's wall.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the quilting programs. If you didn't get a chance to come add a stitch you can still see the quilt. It is now on display at the Banneker-Douglass Museum where it will remain until the end of February. We will post new information about new education features we will be adding to the quilt in the next few weeks.


Moira McGuire said...

My mother, who resides in Annapolis, sent me the notice for the Banneker Douglas event and I immediately knew I had to be a part of this amazing opportunity. My children and I drove from Takoma Park, picked up my mother, and drove to the museum. The day was bitter cold but my excitement made me almost unaware of the frigid temperatures. As soon as I walked in the room I could feel the energy from those around us. I expected that we would be able to put a stitch or two in the quilt and then be on our way. However, there were so many buttons, beads and baubles that I could have stayed there all day. In the end I decided to use the letter beads to spell out MEMMTAAZ in a semi-circle with a white dove in the middle. These are the initials of me, my husband and our 6 children (Moira, Elias, Matthew, Tara, Zakariya, Ayisha, Adam and Maryam). It also refers to the Arabic word mumtaz which means a person who does something well, with excellence and good intentions, for this is how we see Barack. As a Muslim-American it was important to me that we be ackowledged as an important part of this journey. Barack has been the topic of many duas (prayers) from the Muslim community and now it is recorded in his journey quilt. Moira McGuire, Takoma Park, MD.

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