As I mentioned earlier, on Sunday I drove to Dublin, Ohio to meet with Karen Musgrave. Karen was in Dublin so that she could interview some of the women who were involved in the Beyond the Barrier program for the Alliance for American Quilter's Save Our Stories program.
Karen has put up some of the interviews and will continue to post them on the SOS website as she gets them ready. You can see the interviews at:
Just look for the ones by Karen.
In addition, she has written about her experience interviewing them on her blog:
And finally, Lisa Ellis put up the quilts on the Sacred Threads website, so if you want to see an overall, and detail of the quilts which were shown, you may find them there:
Many of the women who participated had never quilted before. Many do not feel that they are "real quilters." I assure you, they are and that while their technique may improve with more practice (and I don't know a single quilter to whom this doesn't apply), their story and the emotions that they have sewn into their quilts are phenomenal. Surely, if the women of Gee's Bend have gotten a lot of attention, the quilters of the Ohio correctional facility deserve it as well.
Karen has asked that you share comments that she will then pass on to the quilters, and I hope that you will take the time to do so.
According to Karen, Chaplain Jami Burns is considering discontinuing the program as only 16 of the thirty women actually finished their quilts. I consider this a success when you read the women's stories and what they have gotten out of it. Quilting isn't for everyone, and surely the journey is the important part, not necessarily a completed project.
In addition, many quilters take a long time to finish projects....sometimes working on something seems to heavy and you put it away, only to take it out again and complete it later. Sometimes other things just get in the way. Although "to finish is divine" is true, sometimes I take a while to finish--I have finished items lately that have been in the works for 10 years.
The socializing and fellowship which goes on is also important. I know it is to me and I'm not in prison, so I can only imagine that it is more the case for women who are.
Lastly, not everyone who takes up a needle wishes to stay with it. Not liking quilting is OK. Maybe something else strikes more of a chord, or perhaps it just isn't the right time.
I would hope that if you read this blog, you might consider posting a comment on Karen's blog for the quilters. If you post comments here, or email me, I would be happy to forward on your comments to Chaplain Burns. If you live in the area of a correctional institute for women, or if you live near Marysville, Ohio, I hope you would consider helping,or being a mentor to start or keep a program like this running.