Thursday, January 5, 2012
Del Thomas: The Art Quilter's Friend
Del Thomas made and donated this little piece to the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative this last summer. In response to her mother's battle with Alzheimer's, Ami Simms hosts a benefit auction of quilts the first 10 days of each month. You can learn more about this here.
In late June, I happened to see this and decided that I would buy it for a variety of reasons: Del uses mostly printed fabrics, and I have a fat quarter of the background fabric which is actually a line developed for Halloween...and I think it is yummy. I loved the movement and exuberance this little piece portrayed as well as the fact that I am often faced with the same problem...so many opportunities! Which ball should I chase? I also thought that as I would be finishing my (what I then thought would be) last chemotherapy treatment I deserved a little gift to myself. The fact that it benefited Alzheimer's, which claimed my grandfather's wonderful intellect and makes my mother afraid that she too will go down that path, made it special as well....but most special of all, Del Thomas made it.
Del is a remarkable woman and it comes through in all that she does. Mind you, I've never met Del in person, but the wonders of the internet have blessed me with connecting us. I have followed her blog, and she mine. We have corresponded, and I am grateful for all that she has done for the art quilt (and quilt world in general).
Del has lived in California for slightly longer than I have been alive, and she's been quilting for over 60 years since she was very young....something we both have in common as I started quilting when I was 12. In addition, we share the specter of cancer as her husband battled cancer as I do. However, he succumbed to the illness at about the same time I was initially diagnosed I think...almost 20 years ago.
Del, however, has done far more with her quilting than I ever hope to. She has had her pieces appear in books, magazines, calendars, and many big shows. She donates pieces like this postcard to a variety of fundraising events, including Virginia Spiegal's sales for fighting cancer., which bears witness to Del's generous spirit.
Her generosity doesn't stop there. Del supports quilting by collecting art quilts. The Thomas Collection of Contemporary Quilts supports art quilters through her purchase of works as well as the fact that she generously shares them in shows and on her blog, and through taking them around and lecturing about them.
Del's eye is discerning and her collection fabulous. As an example, just take a look at this piece. Her collection includes pieces from many of my favorite quilters.
I have been following the work of a group of twelve quilt artists "The Twelve". I loved their book, "Twelve by Twelve" and I admit, I am a little jealous at the connections and mutual inspiration and "pushes" that the artists had. I looked at the pieces in the book and though, "OH, How I'd love to see these pieces in person." Then, I had great news. Del Thomas has underwritten the cost of the exhibition of works by the "Twelves" at Houston, and they will also be coming to Cincinnati at the International Quilt Festival there in April (which I plan on attending) . I gasped as I knew how much this would cost....sponsorships of exhibitions at I.Q.F. do not come cheaply. I had contacted them about the possibility of the Miami Valley Art Quilt Network showing our Dayton Landmark quilts there and was stunned....
So, Del, thanks so much. I am grateful for so many things you do and who you are. I will cherish my little postcard, and although the dog is red, and not white, I'll think of Corky every time I look at it.
Please join me in giving Del the kudos she so richly deserves.