Pieced together

by Shannon Rae Gentry
Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Supplied photo by Amanda Greene/WilmingtonFAVS.com 

Bess Fowler teaches Ron Casterline a few stitches for the Cape Fear Spirit Quilt as Bonny Burns and Rhonda Amoroso sew in the background.

With some embroidered and painted squares, quilters have many ways to express themselves and their beliefs on a blank, white cloth square. More than 36 such pieces have been stitched together to unite spiritual values when the Cape Fear Spirit Quilt is unveiled Saturday and Sunday, March 16 and 17, this weekend at the Cameron Art Museum.

The project is as a collaborative interdenominational work created by women from the Cape Fear region and the piece is also exhibited in collaboration with Wilmington Faith and Values. Editor and community manager Amanda Greene said last Thursday, March 7, that the mission of the quilt project is to create more interreligious dialogue.

“[The quilt is] an important historical artifact in a way, because it does speak to the diversity of the beliefs that are here,” Greene said. … We need to learn from each other.”

People who couldn’t sew a stitch contributed, and took a Sharpie and drew on the blank square,” Greene said. “It really is a wide range of artistic expression and mediums. The squares are all very unique, just like our faith systems, every single one of them is very different,” she said.

Greene said that projects like the Cape Fear Spirit Quilt answer the need for communication and understanding that many religious communities lack when they disagree.

“There’s not enough reaching across faiths in all communities, not just ours,” Greene said. “This is about celebrating our religious diversity and coming together regardless of what we believe and create something beautiful.”

Greene said she started the call for entries last October, but the idea originated with Laura Frank WilmingtonFAVS interfaith events coordinator. 

Last Friday, March 8, Frank said she paired a quote from poet, Rumi, with one from Mother Teresa: “The problem with the world is that we draw the circle of our family too small.”

“I just thought it was a message of inclusion to reach out to others that aren’t in your immediate faith family,” Frank said. “I think through communication and education of the differences and similar values we have can help us come together.”

Frank said the originality of the quilt speaks to the diversity in the surrounding area and she hopes to have more artistic projects like it. 

“We just thought it would be great to have a physical representation of the changing religious landscape of our community, and art is a very non-confrontational way to create dialogue,” she said. “This is a great way to talk about diversity. … Our intention is to have more events like this that open dialogue and education.” 

Along with area quilting groups, and Fran’s Sewing Circle that finished the binding on the quilt, members of the community like Bonny Logsdon Burns came together to see it to completion.

Burns contributed a quilt piece on which she embroidered “Hope” in block letters, and within the letters she edited Proverbs 24:14 in her quilt piece with its message of wisdom and hope. 

“Hope for me is not just an empty wish, it is an action-filled, goal-oriented kind of thing and having hope means you’re always striving for wisdom, ” she said.

Burns sat in on the sewing circle on Saturday, March 2, at the Cameron Art Museum to complete the quilt and said there are three layers to the quilt to pin and stitch together. These tasks normally take a great deal of time, but the group of nine finished the quilt in less than a day.

“That’s why I love quilting as a group, because everything comes together a lot quicker,” she said. “It was quite a group effort.”

“I’m just really encouraged by the unity of our community,” she said. “We had a wonderful camaraderie and for me, it was just connecting with those other people in the community.”

The Cape Fear Spirit Quilt will be on display at the Cameron Arts Museum Saturday and Sunday, March 16 and 17 during operating hours. For more information, visit www.cameronartmuseum.com 

email shannon@luminanews.com

Want to go?

Cape Fear Spirit Quilt Exhibition

10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Cameron Art Museum

General Admission: $8, Members: Free

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