Holocaust Memory Quilts, Kosloff Torah Academy 2012-2013
This 3-panel masterpiece was a collaborative effort many months in the making. The triptych lives inside a protective glass case at Kosloff Torah Academy (KTA), an Orthodox Jewish Girls High School in Bala Cynwyd, PA.
The focus of this multi-media multi-disciplinary project was to “incorporate the history and lessons of the Holocaust into… personal and collective Jewish identities”. The students and participating faculty were guided by KTA Art Teacher Mrs. Julia Strassman. Using 8” squares of fabric for the background, as well as photographs, paint, wire, pearls, yarn, buttons, and other found objects, the 79 contributing artists went to work.
These four quilt blocks (above and below) are representative of the creativity and thought behind the development of this three-paneled Memorial Quilt. Viewed individually, each of the 79 quilt blocks depicts the impact of the Holocaust on the artist who created it. Viewed collectively the three quilt panels "are a memorial to those who perished and... honor those who survived the Holocaust".
Once the component quilt blocks were complete, Mrs. Strassman needed a quiltmaker to transform the student and faculty generated art into a quilted triptych to be permanently displayed on the KTA walls. She asked if Eileen would consider joining her. Her answer, an emphatic "Yes!"
Eileen's contribution involved design decisions and technical precision. Mrs. Strassman delivered the blocks to Eileen's studio and Eileen began pinning them on her design wall (left photo) to determine permanent placement on the quilt. The challenge: How to secure the delicate artwork to the background fabric. The fragile embellishments on the quilt blocks required that all of the quilting work be done by hand (right photo).
The Legacy of Grandma Alice
This is another amazing project: The story of how one grandmother’s legacy is being honored. It celebrates her memory using words that describe her life interests. It also celebrates the wedding of her grandson … the person for whom the quilt was originally intended.
It all started with Grandma Alice . . .
When Grandma Alice died, her daughter approached Eileen to complete the quilt Grandma Alice had only recently started. The quilt was to have been a wedding gift for her soon-to-be-married grandson, but when Alice died it was more concept than quilt and consisted only of the single block below -- two pieces of cloth sandwiched around a slice of batting. The letters had not yet been added. There was not much for Eileen to work with.
The process took considerable thought. Eileen asked a lot of questions about Grandma Alice and really learned about her... her life, and what she loved. Eileen learned that Alice had been an avid reader, a teacher, a traveler, and a bridge player. Her life was full of laughter and family. She loved to sew and she especially loved crossword puzzles!
That was it: Grandma Alice's life would be celebrated with a CROSSWORD PUZZLE quilt!
across: CROSSWORDS, AUGUSTA, TEACHER, GRANDMA, BRIDGE, FAMILY, BREZON, WEDDING, LAUGHTER, ALICE
down: READER, OAK PARK, EDWARD, BEN, TRAVELER, NO TRUMP, HANNAH, SEWING, LOVE
The favorite summer destination for the nine Belmont grandchildren was their Grandma and Grandpa's home on Martha's Vineyard Island, affectionately known within the family as Camp Belmont. Vacation time on The Vineyard with Grandma, Grandpa, and the cousins: Awesome!
One lazy Sunday afternoon many years ago the nine Belmont cousins and their moms decided to work on a surprise project for Grandma and Grandpa. The plan: Make something to celebrate their summer visits to Martha's Vineyard... something that would capture their most favorite MV memories.
Armed with a selection of 12" felt squares in an assortment of vibrant colors, sharpened scissors, a hot glue gun, and lots of enthusiasm the cousins mapped out their project. They generated a list of their favorite Vineyard destinations and activities, decided which cousin would illustrate each one, and went to work.
Once the blocks were finished, Eileen joined them to a background fabric, secured them with double fold grey bias tape, and added a border to the quilt perimeter. The quilt was hung from a decorative rod threaded through seven hanging tabs.
Memories captured in this celebration quilt designed and made by the cousins: Time spent with Grandma and Grandpa ~ Time spent without their parents! ~ The ferry ride to Martha's Vineyard on the Island Queen ~ Visits to the Black Dog Bakery ~ Tennis with Grandma and Grandpa at the Yacht Club ~ Trips to Bunch of Grapes Book Store in Vineyard Haven ~ Outings to the Flying Horses in Oak Bluffs ~ Feasting on pizza at Bob's on Main Street ~ Enjoying ice cream at Mad Martha's ~ Swimming and sunning at the Mink Meadows Beach, Longpoint Beach, and State Beach ~ Sailing on Grandpa's boat Triumph ~ Summer vacation ~ Time spent with each other!