SEWING UP THE ENDS OF A QUILTING LEGACY
April 22, 2010
ALLIANCE, Ohio - History will be made on Tuesday, March 13 at 5:30 p.m. as the Mount Union Women's History Month quilt will be dedicated and hung in the mezzanine of the Kolenbrander-Harter Information Center.
Since March of 1997, when Mount Union began its annual celebration in honor of Women's History Month, volunteers including administrators, faculty, students, retirees and community residents, began work on a quilt commemorating the national event with hopes that a permanent display would someday become a part of Mount Union history. Finding a place in the new state-of-the-art communication technology building, the quilt will become just that, as it serves as a reminder of a past form of communication.
"We love the idea of hanging the quilt in the Kolenbrander-Harter building," said Amy Tomko, vice president for enrollment services and a member of the quilting bee. "In the past, quilting bees served as places where information about families and communities could be circulated among the members. By putting the quilt in the Information Services Center, we are placing an old form of communication in a building filled with the latest technology. It is a wonderful expression of the present and the past."
In addition to serving as a communication link, the quilt represents a pieced-together pattern of women's role in history. For years, quilts provided an outlet for women to share their hopes and dreams, express their creativity and tell the stories of their lives and the lives of those around them. Those devoting their time to the creation of Mount Union's quilt are no different.
"The quilt is made up of a collection of squares submitted by more than 20 contributors," said Rosemary Bienz, director of the academic support center and one of the leaders of the quilt project. "Each square tells its own story and documents a different piece of history."
Some of the square designs include the flower of Aphrodite, representing femininity; handmade lace, representing handwork sold to raise money for the abolitionist movement; the Alliance YWCA; a brave old-fashioned girl in pantaloons near a bicycle, representing activities not always allowed; recognition of the 1850 Women's Rights Convention in Salem, Ohio; a nine-patch Stars and Stripes for women who risked their lives on behalf of the country; the Suffrage bluebird; a schoolhouse honoring women's roles as teachers; and a mom's garden honoring women's tradition of providing good nutrition to their families.
In addition, a special square was placed on the back of the quilt, displaying the signatures of each person who sewed at least five stitches and helped complete the quilting legacy.