Briefly, but starting at the front of the book, Hazel Carter was the founder of the Hall of Fame in 1979, while she was running the second quilting convention known as the Continental Quilting Congress. Hazel thought that quilters at the convention “were ignoring our quilting heritage.” Sally did too. Sally and some others from New England attended one or more of the Continental Quilting Congresses in Virginia and invited Hazel Carter to join Lewis Karabatsos and Carter Houck as judges for the first Images Quilt Show in 1983. This show was a fundraiser staged by the New England Quilt Guild for creating the New England Quilt Museum.
Merikay Waldvogel wrote the introduction to the Hall of Fame book and also was inducted in 2009. She explains that the honorees “devoted their lives to the preservation of quiltmaking, quilts, and their history.” Sure sounds like Sally to me. Merikay further describes the inductees as “passionate about quilts, skilled, assertive, and resilient. They are not afraid to reinvent themselves.” This description fits Sally to a T! (A quilt historian, Merikay is in my book because she helped me find information about the Sterns and Foster quilt block in a national contest that Sally entered in 1974.)
Next is Lenice Bacon, a lecturer on quilts, who spoke to historical societies and sewing groups. She collected quilts to use in her talks, she dressed in costume, and she drew on her training in speech and drama. Sally did all this too. Some of Mrs. Bacon’s quilts were exhibited by her family (after her death) at the first Images show, where Sally was very active.
Sally first met Shiela Betterton at the American Museum in Britain near Bath, where Shiela (no typo there) was the museum’s textile and needlework specialist. She’d come from the Northumberland area and Sally wished she could see Shiela’s collection of antique quilts. She felt that area was the most creative, using more than simple blocks. Sally was proud to have sample blocks she’d donated on exhibit in the museum in Bath where she visited often.
Jinny Beyer is another featured in the Hall of Fame book and in the Sally book. Sally greatly admired her quilting skill and took the first class that Jinny offered in Hilton Head in 1981.
Jeffrey Gutcheon (who died very recently) co-authored a book on quilt design with his wife Beth. They ran Gutcheon Patchwork on Broadway that Sally and her sisters visited and later where thirty New England Quilt Guild members attended an all-day “Diamond Patchwork Workshop” in 1980. He later came to Boxborough to speak at a NEQG conference.
Sally knew Carrie Hall and Rose Kretsinger as co-authors of The Romance of the Patchwork Quilt in America, published in 1935. This was one of the early books on quilt history.
Jonathan Holstein and Gail van der Hoof were the artists who “sparked renewed interest in quilts as an art form through their 1971” at the Whiney Museum in New York City. About that time Sally and her sisters started sharing weekends together in NYC, which makes me wonder if they went to that Whitney show. Sally was not directly involved with the show, but she considered her quilts “Art” and did not use them on beds.
Carter Houck published American Quilts and How to Make Them in 1975. Because she was invited to judge the IMAGES show in 1983, it’s reasonable to assume Sally knew both the book and the author.
Another author, Marguerite Ickis wrote “the quilter’s bible” titled The Standard Book of Quilt Making and Collecting in 1949. Sally met Marguerite at an early NEQG meeting in South Yarmouth in 1977, before her Quilters Hall of Fame induction in 1979. Sally and some other NEQG members visited Marguerite and shared quilting stories with her. She told about how a neighbor had great stories (gossip?) to tell but did terrible stitching. Still, Marguerite’s mother and grandmother invited her to sew with them and then tore out her work the next day.
I think I’m going on too long. Just two more: Michael James and Bonnie Leman. Both were at a Continental Quilting Congress meeting that Sally attended. Michael took an art degree from UMass Dartmouth and contributed to the art quilt movement; he spoke at the New England Quilt Guild meeting in 1978. Bonnie was the long-time editor of the Quilter’s Newsletter to which Sally subscribed to as a charter member since 1969. Bonnie published Sally’s award-winning Minuteman 1775 quilt.
I’ve got to finish reading all the fascinating stories in this book and then ask some key quilters for guidance in submitting Sally’s name. I’m sure she belongs in the Hall of Fame. Any readers have insight into the process?
~ Judy Buswick, author of Sally Palmer Field: New England Quilter