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October 16, 2000

First Lady Thanks Quiltmakers Guild for "Illinois" Quilt

SPRINGFIELD -- First Lady Lura Lynn Ryan welcomed the Quiltmakers Guild to the Executive Mansion to view the "Illinois" quilt on display in the Kankakee Room. The "Illinois" Quilt was presented to Governor and Mrs. Ryan at the Quiltmakers Guild Show in Kankakee on September 30.

"I am so touched by this gift because I know that it is a labor of love and that you all have toiled with such careful precision to create this art," said Mrs. Ryan. "This is a gift from each of the 38 quilters, and it will also remind me of the community that we cherish in Kankakee County."

Gerald Legan, a member of the guild, had the idea to present a quilt to the Ryan's in appreciation for their many contributions to the state of Illinois. In all, 38 quilters collaborated on the project spending 581 cumulative hours. The Quiltmakers Guild includes 116 active quilters and was established in Kankakee County in 1994.

The "Illinois" quilt features the shape of Illinois embroidered with the names of all of the 102 Illinois counties. 36 U.S. flags surround the state and are layered over star points. A single Cardinal design accents the piece and was hand appliqued. The many borders and complexity of the quilt demonstrate the talent and careful attention that the Quiltmakers Guild gave to this exquisite project.

"Everyone here has made wonderful contributions to the cultural health of the state, and we are making tremendous progress here in Illinois to elevate crafts to a fine art form. This gathering today not only makes me extremely proud of Illinois' past, but of the present and future as well," said Mrs. Ryan.

The Quiltmakers Guild was also fortunate to view the Illinois Amish Quilts Exhibition, "Sharing Threads of Tradition," on its last day at the Illinois State Museum in Springfield. The exhibition opened on April 9, 2000 and will make a tour of the Illinois State Museum sites. The quilts were all made in the Arthur, Illinois area between the mid-1800s through 1950. The color selection, use of fine material, and unique design rank these quilts among the best folk art in the country.

Mrs. Ryan has been very dedicated to the cause of promoting Illinois Artisans and their crafts. This year at the Illinois State Fair, Mrs. Ryan organized the first Artisans Village celebrating the many different craft forms practiced in Illinois. Over the course of the fair, more than 100 demonstrations of a variety of crafting techniques were presented by 34 members of the Illinois Artisans Program. Also, Illinois artisans once again have the opportunity to present their artwork in the second Made in Illinois catalogue due out early next year.


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