Quilters' labor of love helps keep local non-profits going

by Judith Kahn

Susan Danielson is a long-time Richmond District resident and the former owner of the Lazy Susan, which was located on Clement Street. She was also the former president of the Clement Street Merchants Association.

Danielson's passion is quilting and she holds quilting meetings at her house every Friday from 10 a.m to 2 p.m. People come to the meetings from all walks of life as a well as from all parts of the City. Everyone in the group finds the meetings instructive, relaxing, and a great way to make new friends.

The meetings are particularly gratifying to the members of the quilting club, since they are always producing a new product and in the process learn a new skill or new technique about their craft from a fellow member in the group.

Danielson started quilting while in college and was inspired by her grandmother, who made "wonderful, colorful quilts," and her mother, who was an excellent embroiderer.

According to Danielson, quilting has been continuing to evolve as a visual art form since she started in the early '70s. She is continually pleased with the new motifs and designs that keep appearing on the scene and she points out that quilts are now exhibited in museums, corporate settings, interior designs and private collections.

Fabric art might manipulate textiles with dye, stitching and embellishments to create texture, design and color. Danielson enjoys colorful quilts, that incorporate dynamic visuals and designs with splashes of blue and purple, which are her favorite colors.

Quilting does require patience, Danielson says, but quilters experience great satisfaction when they hold up and view their finished product.

There are basically three types of quilts - the traditional quilt, which is composed of a certain pattern whose form is handed down through generations; applique, a type of quilt that is sewn with ornamentation; and the modern quilt, which is composed of many fabrics sewed together and arranged in an art form.

Danielson is very excited about the upcoming exhibit "Quilt San Francisco: The Evolution of a Art Form," which is sponsored by the San Francisco Quilters Guild, in conjunction with international artists and several organizations, on Saturday, March 9, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, March 10, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Danielson will be displaying one or two of her quilts at the exhibit, which will be held at the Concourse Exhibition Center, located at 635 Eighth St. During the two-day exhibit the Concourse will be transformed into a fabric art gallery.

The Guild, a non-profit organization, makes about 1,000 quilts a year, which are donated to several charitable organizations in San Francisco, including abused women and homeless shelters, and the Ronald McDonald House.

Many acclaimed artists will attend the event to display quilts and talk about their personal techniques. One is Laura Fritz, a nationally-known textile quilt artist and the author of 10 books featuring continuous machine quilting designs with nature, animals and other unique designs.

Roberta Walker, another acclaimed textile artist, as well as Sahisiko teacher based in San Francisco, will also be there to talk about her work. Walker, a traditional quilter who has won many blue ribbons, uses Sashiko, a Japanese hand quilting long snitch - to effectively add bursts of color and texture to accentuate the design in many of her quilts.

Eleanor Dungan, another international quilter, has work which will be displayed at the show. Her technique is called the dot motif: she uses dots in different pathways of imagination and design.

In addition, the exhibition will feature 20 colorful quilts made by members of the Israel Quilters Association, which depict scenes of daily life in the kibbutz.

To find out more information about the San Francisco Quilters Guild, go to the website at www.sfquiltersguild.org. The cost of admission for a two-day pass at the door is $10 and there is no charge for children 12 or under. To purchase tickets in advance, contact [email protected]. To find out more about the exhibit, contact the San Francisco Guild Center.