Postmark’d Art Supports the Alzheimer’s Art Quilt Initiative

The Alzheimer’s Art Quilt Initiative (AAQI) is a national, grassroots organization whose mission is to raise awareness and fund research. It holds a monthly online auction through its Priority: Alzheimer’s Quilt project (named because the donated quilts are restricted to 9″ x 12″ to fit into a USPS Priority mail envelope). The Alzheimer’s Art Quilt Initiative has raised more than $591,000 since January 2006 and has awarded nine grants to fund research. Ami Simms of Flint, Michigan is the founder and executive director of the AAQI, a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation operated entirely by volunteers. She is a quilter and her mother had Alzheimer’s.

Eight members (Vivian Helena Aumond-Capone, Maureen Curlewis, Franki Kohler, Heather Lair, Karen Musgrave (organizer), Del Thomas, Laurie Walton and Lynn Woll) of Postmark’d Art donated postcards for AAQI’s June 2011 auction. The sale of the twenty-three donated postcards raised $916. You can see all of the donated postcards by visiting Postmark’d Art’s page on the AAQI website. Laurie Walton’s postcard Measure Up raised the most money when it sold for $85.

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Quilters’ S.O.S. – Save Our Stories

Postcard by Marjorie Lee Jin En DeQuincy

Postcard by Karin McElvein

Quilters’ S.O.S. – Save Our Stories (Q.S.O.S.), is an oral history project of the Alliance for American Quilts. Q.S.O.S. creates, through recorded interviews, a broadly accessible body of information concerning quiltmaking, both present-day and in living memory, for scholarship and exhibition. This grassroots project continually captures the voices and stories of quiltmakers. Between November 17, 2007 and January 17, 2008, I interviewed five Postmark’d Art members (Lynn Chinnis, Marjorie Lee Jin En DeQuincy, Franki Kohler, Karin McElvein and Sue Reno) for the project. The interviews, which include photographs, are available online and archived with the Library of Congress. It was important to me that the fiber postcard phenomenon be captured as part of quilt history.

These interviews will give you a glimpse into the lives and art of the people interviewed. You will learn about techniques, inspirations, challenges, studio/create space and so much more.


Karen Musgrave

Postcard by Sue Reno

Postcard by Franki Kohler

Postcard by Lynn Chinnis

Every Person is a Philosopher

Whenever I have traveled to Georgia, Armenia, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan, I have taken postcards from members of Postmark’d Art with me. I pass them around after lectures. I love how you can feel the excitement in the air as the postcards are passed from person to person. This was especially true at the University of Art in Osh, Kyrgyzstan. I ended up staying an extra hour as the students studied them and asked questions. I wish I could go back and see what they have created.  If you would like to know more about my adventures the Neighborhood Writing Alliance invited me to be a guest blogger on their blog Every Person is a Philosopher. I am deeply honored to have been asked and to be able to share my story. From the feedback I am getting, it has changed many people’s view of today’s quilts. Here is just a little taste. With gratitude, Karen Musgrave

Ira Lavinenko, from Georgia, with her quilt "The Woman"

Feel the fear and do it anyway. That is exactly what I did when I accepted the invitation to present a paper and teach at the Third International Textile Symposium in Tbilisi, Georgia (Eurasia) in 2003. After all, my life’s mission is to change the world for the better with quilts. My quilt workshops were such a success, with nearly every student finishing at least one small quilt. I found out at the closing ceremonies that this was very rare. I also was able to form the Georgian Quilt Group. and I promised to support the group with supplies and return trips. I have made four additional trips so far, and I plan to return again next year.
When I asked the women why the making of quilts seemed to resonate with them, I got a variety of answers. For some, it was working with the colorful fabrics that I shared (colorful cotton fabrics just are not available in Georgia). For others, it was my enthusiasm that won them over. For others, it was the learning of a new skill. And for all, it was an opportunity to be together in the creation of art. Each time I have return to Georgia, in addition to teaching the quilt group and others, I work with locals to create programs that empower women and children to learn new skills and earn much needed income. (Two examples are a quilting project in an orphanage, and another with street children.) I do not teach “American” quilts, instead I teach techniques so that my students can share their own unique point of view/story. I love learning about cultures and want my students to embrace theirs…

A New Face for Postmark’d Art

Postmark’d Art, the on-line community of artists creating and trading fabric postcards through the mail, has a new face! We’re the same artists. You may have even visited our site before. It’s been around since July 2004 (when we became a group and first appeared in cyberspace). If I had been asked in 2004 where I expected this group to be in 2011, I’m not sure I would have had an answer. Let me just say that being a part of this group has changed my life. Yes, I know that sounds dramatic, but it’s true. I won’t go into that here and now — the more important question is: What is the group up to and what is this new face all about?

The biggest change for our site is the addition of this blog which allows us to share our art and thoughts with you directly.  And more importantly, you will be able share your comments and thoughts with us (Just click in the cloud, top right or Leave a Reply, below.) — and we hope there will be plenty of those! And, lucky for you, two other members of our group are committed to sharing, so you’ll hear from Lynn Chinnis and Karen Musgrave as well.

Please tour the site. ABOUT shares the Reader’s-Digest version of how this group was formed. Hover your cursor over the FEATURED TECHNIQUES tab to see a drop-down menu of articles written by members who have graciously shared their experience in using a particular technique in their art — there’s a load of inspiration to be tapped! FAQ should answer many questions for those of you new to the concept of mailing fabric art. The GALLERY features postcards of many of our members. LINKS will take you away for a visit with some of our members who have their own site and/or blog. And if this tour has stimulated your interest in learning new things via this small format, then click on over to JOIN A NEW GROUP to learn how you can get started.

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Thanks for reading and commenting. If you’d like to keep up with what we’re doing, please click on the “follow” button in the left column.

Until next time,

Franki Kohler

Oakland, CA