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Thursday, January 5, 2012

Del Thomas: The Art Quilter's Friend

I have wanted to put this post up for a while....but, life around here has been really nutty....something like this little quilted postcard, whose title is "Which Ball????"

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.

9 comments:

Gerrie said...

Thank you for sharing your gratitude for Del. She is definitely our angel. I am so excited that you will get to see all 288 quilts in Cincinnati. Enjoy!! Wish I could be there to share with you.

Sherrie Spangler said...

I, too, love following Del's blog. I especially love her road trips and photos from quilt shows -- they're the next best thing to being there!

Karen Stiehl Osborn said...

Count me in on those offering kudos to Del! She is an amazing woman that I am blessed to know, and I have seen her generosity many, many times!

Corky said...

I'm lucky to have met Del and call her my friend. I love when she writes about the dog prince Corky and have told her that I pretend she's writing about me!

Vivika said...

What a wonderful post. I am always grateful when I go to Del's blog and see her latest post... a wordless Wednesday photo, a quick look at her astounding collection of quilted art, or a silly photo of Corky all bring a smile to my face.

Terry said...

I am also blessed to know Del. She has my work in her collection and has been, as Gerrie said, the angel that made possible the sharing of our Twelve by Twelve quilts at the IQF shows. She is a friend of all art quilters and more--a kind, lovely, interesting woman with a great smile and a hat for every occasion. I am so glad you wrote this.

Karen said...

Ditto what every one else has said, we are fortunate to have her in our lives

Rayna said...

I count Del as a dear friend and feel so lucky to have her in my life. I also feel honored to have a quilt in her collection (not to mention 4 scarves - LOL). You've all said it so I won't repeat it but yes, she is a really special person.

Michele Bilyeu said...

She is truly a remarkable woman and a talented quilter! What strikes me the most about her as I read her blog is just how much she gives back to the art community at large..amazing!