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A wooden carving of a head.

Share Your Craft Story: Art from the Dean’s Office

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Lee Anne Patterson

Old Hickory Head has been on the family hearth since I was a child. He even gets a Santa hat at Christmas. He is just one of the pieces that my Dad, Charlie Patterson (1960) created while at Auburn. These pieces ended up in Dean Applegate’s office and stayed there for several years until he graduated. Already married to Mom, when they were ready to leave, she went to the Dean to ask for them back. I hear he reluctantly gave them up.

Hickory Head is made out of Hickory and continues to get more interesting as he ages. The Guitar Man also hung in the Dean’s office. The Thinking Man, a study in chalk was drawn in class in 1959. The student model was one of the Auburn football players. We don’t know who – it would be fun if we could identify him.

The watercolor is one of a collection done over the years. Dad painted them as he and Mom traveled the world, much of that on a tandem bicycle. The collection has 280 travel watercolors. All of them are here in Auburn.

A wooden carving of a head.
A handmade quilt with heart design

Share Your Craft Story: Quilting

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I’m not a quilter, but I have made a few quilts over the years. My quilting days began in the ’80s, quilting with my grandmother and great-aunt while we talked and watched “the stories.”  Back in the day, old dresses, shirts, and pants were cut up for the quilt. It was fun to look at the quilt and remember the clothing it was from.

To make a quilt pick out a pattern or make your own. Cut and sew the pieces together to make the quilt top. Next, put the quilt together. Find a backing (material) that matches the quilt. This will be the back of the quilt. Lay the batting on top of that. I use cotton batting. The backing and batting should be a few inches larger than the quilt top. Lay the pieced quilt on top of that. Baste together and now it’s ready to quilt.
I prefer to hand quilt, but I have recently made a baby quilt using a sewing machine. There are various quilting machines available for purchase, but I feel hand quilting makes it more special.

–Michele Waters

A geometric quilt
A basket and flowers made from yarn.

Share Your Craft Story: Floral Memories

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My mother was one of the most talented and artistic people I have ever met. She could work magic with any type of fabric and needle, and she loved to crochet and quilt. She made clothes for my Barbie dolls when I was a little girl; she made me Halloween costumes that were unique and beautiful. When I became a working professional, she hemmed my dress slacks and tailored my clothes.

She loved all things floral, and so she designed and created crocheted flower baskets. Some she gifted, such as the one pictured here, and some she sold for practically pennies at flea markets. What I love most about this flower basket is that each individual flower and green leaf was hand-crafted, and she arranged them in the basket as a florist might arrange a vase. No two baskets were ever alike.

Although I still have many of her wonderful creations, I see this flower basket every day due to its placement in my kitchen’s curio cabinet. I’m reminded every day of her talent – and how much I miss her.

A soft basket of handmade flowers

I'm reminded every day of her talent - and how much I miss her.

Lori Bugg
A plate with a silouette

Share Your Craft Story: “Dutch Girl Plate”

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Shannon Westerman

I am not an artist, but I’ve always loved handmade ceramics, and I’ve thrown more than a few pots in my life. My grandfather was an artist, graduating from the Art Institute of Chicago during the Depression. My great-grandmother was a very creative woman, and she hand-painted this China platter in 1908.

The date is significant for two reasons: one, it’s an heirloom piece of porcelain that survived intact for nearly 115 years, and two, my grandfather credited his mother Beulah for his artistic sensibilities—even though he never knew her. Sadly, Beulah died during childbirth to my grandfather in 1909. After he passed in 1988, I inherited the porcelain plate my great grandmother hand-painted in 1908. The Dutch Girl always brought a smile to my grandfather’s face, and now, nearly 115 years after its beautiful production, “she” still brings a smile to my face, too. But more importantly, “Dutch Girl” reminds me of the transformational power of art & craft as a thread to familial history.

A plate with a silouette
A quilted teapot with a warm and cool colored butterfly.

Share Your Craft Story: Grammy’s Teacups in Grandma’s China Cabinet

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Cynthia Reinke

My grandmother Florence Nichols taught me to sew and knit before I went to school. This early exposure to working with fiber led to a life-long love of fiber arts.

Shortly after I began creating quilts, I joined the Cotton Boll Quilt Guild. An early challenge was to complete an appliqued teacup from a pattern distribute each month for a year. I chose fabrics that reminded me of the teacups in my grandmother’s collection.

Once the twelve squares were finished, I was determined to make the completed piece special. I found the solution in the china cabinet which had belonged to my husband’s Grandma Euly. The wall hanging shows the teacups proudly displayed in this cabinet, honoring two special women.

The china cabinet and wall hanging bring back memories of both our families.

The china cabinet and wall hanging bring back memories of both our families.

Cynthia Reinke
A quilt with floral teacups.
A wooden china cabinet filled with delicate teacups.
A child's dress hangs in front of a window.

Share Your Craft Story: My “Names” Dress

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Hannah Pickworth

My mother, Edith Simmons, and aunt, Sarah Simmons, made this dress for me when I was about five years old. At the time, there were no other little girls named Hannah that I knew of. I loved wearing this dress and when I outgrew it, there was no one to pass it on to so I kept it. I think at one time, I temporarily loaned to a Hannah in the mid-’80s and then it was returned to me.

I believe my mother was a charter member of the New Comers’ Club and Campus Club at API. My father and Aunt Sarah’s husband were both API graduates as were many others in my family.

A child's dress hangs in front of a window.
Stacked quilting squares with colorful stars

Share Your Craft Story: “My Special Quilt”

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Avon Langston

My special handcrafted item is a beautiful quilt that was made for me by my daughter, Gay Solomon, as a gift for my 80th birthday, with one star representing each of my 80 years. Gay is a very talented quilter who lends her talent to several quilting groups, making quilts for such organizations as the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). She also gives quilting demonstrations to various civic groups.
Gay uses her own original designs and patterns as she makes her beautiful and unique handcrafted quilts.

Stacked quilting squares with colorful stars

...a gift for my 80th birthday, with one star representing each of my 80 years.

Avon Langston
Two women smile, holding a quilt with 80 stars.
A rough and well-loved wooden footstool with the name Amy Cates carved on the top.

Share Your Craft Story: “Memorial”

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Amy Cates

My Uncle Travis made and engraved this wooden stool as a gift for my second birthday. He died in Vietnam two months before my third birthday. As a little girl, I set it across my knees and used it as a lunch table while I watched cartoons, but I also found its great versatility as a stage for my Barbies’ performances and a step stool to reach high places like kitchen cabinets and bathroom mirror.

Over the years, the grooves of the lettering softened, and the stool’s utility expanded to serve as a small bookshelf, a lunch table for my own kids to fight over, and a thing to tuck away, out of sight. It had aged to the point of being a fragile memorial best kept under a bed or on a high shelf in a closet. In recent years, I determined a memorial is best seen and shared, not preserved between old quilts and forgotten cardboard boxes. This sturdy little thing now resides in my home office, and some days, it finds its way under my desk, where I put it to work as a footstool.

A rough and well-loved wooden footstool with the name Amy Cates carved on the top.

A memorial is best seen and shared, not preserved between old quilts and forgotten cardboard boxes.

Amy Cates
An embroidered dog with a rubber ball and a number 5 from a clock.

Share Your Craft Story: “Memories from the Land of Ro”

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Ro Gilbert-Eyke, Studio 222 member

I am a fiber artist. This is one of my favorite quilts. It’s called “Memories From the Land of Ro,” and it is a map of my childhood home. I belong to Studio 222, and this quilt was made for one of our shows at the Jan Dempsey Art Center. The theme of the show was “Woodlands.” I was required to use a particular fabric, but I could create whatever I liked. I sewed items onto the quilt, including jewelry charms, numbers from a grandfather clock, sticks, wire, a toy truck, and iron-on patches. I wanted to make this quilt because while my mother still owns the land, she sold the timber, which altered it dramatically. I wanted to share my memories with my family to have a visual representation of my life.

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A textured hand-sewn quilt with affixed jewelry, charms, toys and clock numbers.

I wanted to share my memories with my family so that they would have a visual representation of my life.

Ro Gilbert-Eyke
An embroidered dog with a rubber ball and a number 5 from a clock.
An embroidered fox hides behind a plastic toy tree on a quilt.
A soft handmade sweater in a warm and cheery yellow.

Share Your Craft Story: A Gift for Mommy

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joyce gillie gossom, Museum Advisory Board Chair

This was the first garment I ever knitted. Completed over the course of 3-years, I began soon after learning to knit in 3rd grade and completed it in April of 6th grade. It was a birthday gift for mommy who kept and wore it at work for 30-years, then wore it during her health battle until her death. The value is priceless because it still is the only garment I’ve ever knitted or crocheted that has absolutely no mistakes. I wanted it to be perfect for her because she was perfect to me.

A soft handmade sweater in a warm and cheery yellow.

I wanted it to be perfect for her because she was perfect to me.

joyce gillie gossom

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