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Home

Buy a tiny quilt, back a major cause

By ELIZABETH BETTENDORF
Published October 20, 2006


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The fabric postcards on the Web site of the Quilters' Workshop of Tampa Bay are small masterpieces created by the loving hands of local women.

Each of the 4- by 6-inch quilts - literally postcard size - depict Florida scenes like palm trees, beach chairs and the Sunshine Skyway bridge, and other sweetly stitched images: hearts, a cat, a dragonfly and a boy looking out a window.

The postcards can be framed and hung on a wall. They can also be stamped, addressed and mailed.

The local quilt postcards will join thousands more made by quilt artists all over the world, part of an effort by artist Virginia Spiegel to raise money to fight cancer.

In 13 months, Spiegel, a fiber artist from northern Illinois, has dedicated herself to the postcard idea, so far raising $53,000 from the sale of the tiny, exquisitely detailed quilts.

All of the proceeds went to the American Cancer Society. Spiegel hasn't made a dime, but she continues to quietly crusade for the cause. Thousands more of the quilted postcards will be sold for a minimum $30 donation at the International Quilt Festival in Houston on Nov. 2-5.

These miniature works of art were made by quilters from every state, as well as Israel, Ecuador, Denmark, the Netherlands, England, Wales, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

Their handiwork will be encased in acid-free cellophane envelopes and displayed on a 60-foot wall at the International Quilt Show so that visitors can view them all at once.

"It's really amazing. That's all I can say," Spiegel says.

Here's how Fiber Art for a Cause started: In April 2005, Spiegel said, she was "minimally participating" in the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life, a 12-hour team walk, in Forest Lake, Minn., where her sister Nancy Spiegel Rosman led the event.

"Each person was supposed to raise $100, and I thought, 'I can do better than that making art.' "

After gathering artists' advice, she began creating the quilt postcards and selling them online.

Though the effort received almost no major media attention, quilters from everywhere began volunteering their skills.

Members of the Quilters' Workshop of Tampa Bay made 17 of the postcards. Making them was fun, says member Ronie McCullough-Sheppard, an art quilter from Carrollwood who organized the local effort.

"The idea was to let yourself rip," she says. "This was not a contest, not for show."

The postcards cannot be purchased online and are only available at the quilt show. If you want to buy one and can't go to the show, there's a way around that: Spiegel has tapped friend and fellow quilter Linda Minton to attend the show as a personal shopper for the first 100 people who contact her at ltmquilt@swbell.net.

[Last modified October 19, 2006, 08:07:19]


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