Sent-Hearts for Charleston Quilt

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I shipped the “Hearts for Charleston” quilt last week and the Mother Emanuel’s Memorabilia Committee ought to have received it by now. I’m glad the quilt made it there before the first anniversary of the massacre (June 17).

There is so much to say about this project — how it came together, how much it meant for the ten participants, what each of us learned about the lives lost — but posting about the quilt’s creation doesn’t feel respectful at the moment. If you’re curious, a lot of the process along with links to the makers can be found in the sidebar category “Hearts for Charleston Quilt”.  I expect some narrative and documentation to follow. But not now.

Here are photos of the nine people who lost their lives last summer.

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Charleston Shooting

People stand outside as parishioners leave the Emanuel A.M.E. Church, Sunday, June 21, 2015, in Charleston, S.C., four days after a mass shooting at the church claimed the lives of its pastor and eight others. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)

Blocks were made to honor: Tywanza Sanders, Myra Thompson, Susie Jackson, Rev. and Senator Clementa Pinckney, Ethel Lance, Cynthia Hurd, Depayne Middleton Doctor, Rev. Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, and Rev. Daniel Simmons, Sr.

After reading this Post and Courier article, we also decided to honor the five people in the church that night who survived: Felicia Sanders and her granddaughter (Felicia is Tywanza Sanders’ mother), Polly Sheppard, and Jennifer Pinckney (Rev. Clementa’s widow) and her daughter.

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Kathy Dorfer stitched “Love heals” on her block (and enclosed this with her square)

The contrast between slow cloth and swift violence was evident all along the way, repeatedly reminding us of the ruthless speed of the news cycle, the continuing savage treatment of blacks in this country, and the permanence of this kind of loss.

I wanted the recipients to be able to hang the quilt upon receipt if desired, so I enclosed a four foot long dowel. That meant I had to use a long, narrow box. It bothered me how much the box looked like the size and shape of a container that would house a rifle. I said as much to the clerk — the staid one with the frizzy bleached hair. To her credit, she didn’t look at me like I was crazy. But she did say the most inane thing to reassure me: “Oh don’t worry, you answered all the questions.”

Answered all the questions? You mean about shipping things “liquid, fragile, perishable, and potentially hazardous” – the questions that I, and presumably lots of other people, routinely lie about? Oh well, I’m guessing the box was opened.

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I insured the quilt for $500, but if it offers some of the comfort that quilts have been offering since the dawn of needles and cloth, I will consider it priceless.
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Participants: Liz Ackert of Texas, Hazel Cindy Monte of Washington,  Maggie Rose of New Jersey, Gillan Wang of Massachusetts, Kathy Dorfer of California, Nancy Erisman also of California,
Dana Webb of Washington, Kristin Anne Freeman of Montana, Mo Orkiszewski of Australia.

To read more, click on category:
“Hearts for Charleston Quilt” here
or find me on instagram (deeamallon) using category as hashtag

To investigate this style of quilting more, visit
the inspiring and generous master quilter,
Jude Hill 
at “Spirit Cloth

14 thoughts on “Sent-Hearts for Charleston Quilt

  1. snicklefritzin43

    An expression of great love and compassion, thank you for the consideration and development of this wonderful project and gift

    Reply
    1. deemallon Post author

      Hi Kristin. Your spirit and stitch moved me so much and I hope they touch the people of Charleston, too.

      Reply
    1. deemallon Post author

      It’s so rare for me. To keep the focus, I mean. I really enjoyed reading back over the emails sent to me by you and the other makes. It was one of the first times I appreciated what a distinctive voice your writing has.

      Reply
    1. deemallon Post author

      Your energy bolstered the project in a big way Liz. Thank you. The level of your craft is truly inspiring and it was really great to see your work up close.

      Reply
  2. ravenandsparrow

    As the anniversary of the Charleston atrocity approaches I relieved to have been given the chance to respond. The completed quilt is amazingly cohesive and I hope the feelings it contains will be apparent to everyone.

    Reply
    1. deemallon Post author

      Going forward I want to sit with the persistent refrain I heard from you and others, Dana: That you were glad to have something to do, some concrete way to express my grief and love. It
      makes me think there is a great reserve out there of untapped force for social justice. If only it
      could be readily tapped? I don’t know.

      Reply

Love to hear what you think!

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