2017 Make Do Challenge Recap

In October of 2016, The South Florida Modern Quilt Guild embarked on a new and interesting challenge.  Many of us have followed Sherri Lynn Wood since the publication of her amazing book "The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters". In 2016, she was doing a residency at the Public Disposal and Recycle Area where she lives in San Francisco and was making quilts using 99% of recycled material. Sherri Lynn put out a challenge on her website for quilters:

"Whether you like to follow fixed patterns, or prefer to improvise with your patchwork, I challenge you to make one quilt top and back from salvaged clothing, linens, curtains or other household materials within the next 365 days."

Over the months, our quilters were inspired and educated. We went back and learned about how pioneer quilters were the original "make-doers", using every part of clothing and linens for their quilts. Confederate quilters made quilts from their old ball gowns, practicing their embroidery skills.  Making Do was evident in popular movie culture in such films as "Sound of Music", "Gypsy" and "Enchanted" where the protagonists used drapes, old sheets and blankets to make matching shirts, coats and even evening gowns for their families. (a notable mention was Carol Burnett using old drapes in a "Gone With The Wind" parody). Such contemporary uses for making do were explored, including T-shirt quilts, quilts made from piles of old socks, and remembrance quilts made from the clothing of deceased relatives. International quilts were made from saris and old quilts and blankets. There were sections at large quilt shows where old quilts were recycled and made new again. We learned how much fabric is wasted and not recycled.

Finally after months of thought and speculation, our quilters brought in their quilts in June of 2017 for our guild's Make Do Challenge show and tell. And what a display! I was amazed and excited at the creativity and workmanship of our participating quilters. Sleeves and scarves, ties and chef coats, evening gowns and jeans, jeans, jeans were made into creative "make do" quilted projects. What was even more humbling and amazing were the stories behind the make do projects. A tie quilt was made for a chemotherapy patient. One quilt celebrated the life of a glamorous mother who had passed away. There were quilts celebrating womanhood and self identify and personal growth. Other quilts showed love and creativity using the clothes of family members and friends. There were a few quilts which truly "made do" from old recycled quilts. Each quilt was as individual as the quilter who made it. All the make do quilts were collected and taken by Charlotte Noll who helped organize and make the historical display cards.

On Saturday, 07/29/2017, the Make Do Exhibit opened at IS Projects Studio as part of the FAT Village Art Walk. Ingrid Schindall and her amazing co-workers hung the quilts and it was fascinating to see the juxtaposition of old and new, quilted and industrial. The creativity and workmanship of our quilters shown through at the IS Projects Studio where the quilts will be hung for Art Walk and for several weeks before being returned to their owners.

Thank you to all the quilters who participated in "Making Do" by contributing their time and talent to this project. Thanks also to Sherri Lynn Wood for proposing the "Make Do Project" and giving us an innovative and renewed interest in the recycling into our quilting endeavors in the future. Finally, a big thank you to Charlotte Noll and Debby Schindall for organizing our quilts for hanging and to Ingrid Schindall for letting us share what we "Make Do".

View our gallery to see all the quilts, read their stories plus exhibit opening pictures. Enjoy!

Patti Auten - 2016 VP of Projects