Patchwork Wonderpieces Displayed in Library Show

By SUSAN PARKER Special to the Planet
Friday May 07, 2004

“…piecin’ a quilt’s like living a life…the Lord sends us the pieces, but we cut ‘em out and put ‘em together pretty much to suit ourselves…”  



Drop by the Berkeley Public Library, North Branch, between now and May 29 and you’ll see just how true this quote rings. Sixty-one antique, traditional, contemporary, and vibrantly eclectic pieces of art hang from the rafters and walls of this well-loved library during its 25th annual Quilt Show. Follow the self-guided tour throughout the premises and learn the history behind each quilt. You’ll be moved and amazed, smiling and teary-eyed at the same time, as you gaze up and around at the colorful, touching display. 

Starting in the lobby, Call Me Doctor, a quilt made and loaned by Dorothy Vance, is a playful patchwork that depicts irreverent visits with the medical community in every square. Spin around to view The Shirt Off His Back, a soft, passionate quilt made by Fern Royce in memory of her father. The muted orange, gold and brown plaid pieces are scraps from her father’s favorite wool shirt. Included within the work is a pocket and cuff. Ms. Royce explains that when she wraps the quilt around her it brings back many fond, warm memories of her father. 

On display in the Adult Reading Room are numerous quilts made from a variety of materials and patterns. Some—like Vortex 2002 pieced together by Bess K. Chin, Fan Quilt stitched by Phyllis Partridge, Ajisai by Mieko Taketa, and Crazy Quilt created by Fumi Hayashi—have a distinctly Asian feel. Be All That You Can Be, designed by Sue Astroth, has sewn within it a collection of quirky, oddball objects and photos, including medals, flags, and bric-a-brac picked up at thrift stores and antique shops. Chili Pepper Passion, loaned by Madeline Wolf, celebrates her husband’s love for chilies, and his fiftieth birthday.  

In the nearby display case is Miniature Matrix, a tiny 14” x 17” meticulously hand-stitched piece of art that tried the patience of its creator, Angie Woolman. Below it is Quilted Pillow, an unusually shaped fabric sculpture crafted from Tahitian pareo textiles and designed and sewn by Madame Puaniho of Tautira, Tahiti. 

In the Children’s Room are many more quilts, some of them dedicated to specific individuals and events such as Elizabeth’s Quilt (made to commemorate Elizabeth Minor’s 1999 graduation from Berkeley High School), Michael’s Quilt by Jeanie Minor (celebrating the college graduation of her daughter’s boyfriend), T-shirt Quilt (patched together from creator Tina Krietz’s daughter’s old cotton shirts), Quilt (the vibrant, colorful sea and sky creation made by Monica Gyulai for her 5-year-old son, Sebastian), and Ruby’s Quilt (sewn by the friends and relatives of Ruby Bianca Triest and dedicated to her memory). 

Also in the Children’s Room are quilts and works-in-progress constructed by some very young artisans. Spare Change is by Sydney Carson, age 11, Puppy Paws, was stitched together by third grader Zoey Wolinksy, and Summer Fun was sewn by nine-year-old Raven Carson. 

I’m Not Carrying Your Brand, an unusual quilt researched and designed by Olaitan Callender-Scott, depicts America’s obsession with labeling—starting with African slaves branded with a hot iron, imprinting the mark of French, English and Dutch companies on their chests, to the modern day advertising efforts of companies such as Gloria Vanderbilt, Gap, Levi’s, Old Navy, and Tommy Hilfiger. 

Included in the display are three beautiful quilts to be raffled off on May 8. Created by the students, faculty and family members of Jefferson Elementary, Cragmont Elementary, and Berkwood Hedge, proceeds from the raffles will benefit a variety of programs at each school. A fourth quilt, pieced together by students of Thousand Oaks Elementary, has already been won in the raffle and removed from the show. Raffle tickets for the remaining quilts can be purchased at the library. Don’t miss this lovely event, funded, in part, by the Friends of the Berkeley Public Library, curated by Teen/Reference Librarian Debbie Carton, and created and generously shared by the local quilting community. 


The North Branch Library open 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday and Saturday. 1170 The Alameda. 981-6250.