Museum displays COVID-19 commemorative quilt

A visual history of life during the pandemic

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

By; MaryRose Denton

Back in March of 2020, just as the coronavirus pandemic shuttered businesses, isolated families and caused a run on toilet paper, something else a little quieter was taking shape. 

A group of 16 quilters from around Washington state began sewing, at home, alone. They were brought together by Stanwood resident Denise Long’s vision to create a quilt and visual story of life during this challenging time. She called it “The COVID Commemorative Quilt: piecing life together during the pandemic of 2020.”

The finished quilt is on display at the Pacific Northwest Quilt & Fiber Arts Museum in La Conner. 

The quilt’s inception, for Long, was similar to the AIDS quilt designed during that 1980s epidemic as a memorial to those who died of the disease. She conceived the project as a visual representation of life during the pandemic, offering a message of hope and how people managed for future generations to view. “Quilts are visual art, representing what happened at a time in history,” Long explained. 

Long started gathering ideas and fashioning blocks when she heard about a project the Washington State Historical Society was launching. They were looking for contributions to a COVID-19 collection of memorabilia. Long wasted no time becoming the first to apply. 

She began designing more blocks and recruited friends and quilters. Several of the quilters she connected with through the Pacific Northwest Quilters group on Facebook live in different parts of the state: Vancouver, eastern Washington and two quilters came from La Conner: Simme Bobrosky and Ester Woods. 

Even though each quilter worked at home, alone during months of the pandemic, this project kept all of them feeling connected to a community as well as to something bigger, something which will always have meaning. 

The quilt’s design is of four columns….

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