Why I Make Quilts for the Alzheimer’s Art Quilt Initiative

About a week ago I was featured on the AAQI blog after Ami Simms asked me about the artist’s statements for my recent donation quilts.  Here’s what I wrote:

Here’s a bit of the reason I make quilts for AAQI.  Both my parents died from Alzheimer’s disease, my father in 2004 and my mother in 2006.  

About a month before my mother died, I saw the exhibit “Alzheimer’s: Forgetting Piece by Piece”.  Or, at least I saw parts of it because the entire exhibit was a bit overwhelming for me at the time.  I had started quilting a couple years before, and knew that I wanted to make a quilt for AAQI, so I made a quilt to donate in the summer of 2007 and then didn’t think too much about AAQI for over a year.  In 2008 I heard about the “Stay at Home Challenge” and I made a few more quilts.  After that, it just kind of snowballed, and I’ve made 26 quilts for AAQI which have raised $875 so far.

Last year I decided to tackle the boxes of my parents’ photos which had been sitting in my basement for about 8 years.  I figured that I’d scan all the photos and make CD copies for my siblings and get rid of the clutter. 

However, as I went through the boxes I found so much amazing stuff–all the letters my mother had written home while she was in the Navy in WWII, journals my grandmother kept, letters my grandparents wrote, two journals of my mother’s–one when she was 11 and another when she was 14, old yearbooks, newspaper articles, tons of photos and more. 

I knew I had to do something with all this, so I hired someone to type up all the handwritten documents (I could never read my mother’s handwriting) and I sent out the photos to be scanned.  I put it all together into a 600-page book as an incomplete family history and made copies for all my family members. 

I learned so much about my parents and my grandparents, and in my most recent quilts for AAQI, I’ve used quotes from these letters and journals to help tell their stories.

You can see many of the quilts I’ve made for AAQI here.

3 thoughts on “Why I Make Quilts for the Alzheimer’s Art Quilt Initiative

  1. Absolutely, beautiful, Jean. I love your sentiments, your photographs, and I dearly love your AAQI quilts. You share the heartfelt sentiments of so many of us whose lives have forever been changed by the challenging effects of Alzheimer’s Disease. Thank you for sharing this, and for sharing all of your lovely quilts with us!

  2. Pingback: Maybe My Last Quilt for the Alzheimer’s Art Quilt Initiative | Color On Cloth

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