"It's come down from eldest daughter to eldest daughter since.....oh, I couldn't rightly say when. Long before the War between the States." **Lewis Co. quilter**
In the hollows of the Appalachian Mountains, the tradition of native crafting has thrived uninterruptedly for over two hundred years. It is part of the lives of the people who make their homes in this impressive mountain range. The mountains sweep from New England to Alabama, forming a natural barrier between the commercial Eastern coast and rich farmlands of the Midwest.
Life in those hills has always been harsh....and eking out a living, difficult.. the average stranger wonders why the early pioneers stopped there instead of going on to sweeter lands.
The people who live there, seem to have been molded by the environment. Even in the difficult circumstance forced upon them, they remain proud and independent. The old ways and beliefs do not die easily. A sense of family runs deep, and collective memory traces its way back to the very beginning. They work, not merely to survive, but because this is what it means to be human. Work gives dignity within family and community. Charity is anathema, except for the help they give each other.
They do for themselves, making with their own hands that which cannot be bought in the store. The secrets of the old crafts have been passed generation to generation, despite the encroaching industrialization of the nation.
And for we, who do not live in the hills, a sense of loss and longing for something that has been torn away from us. And a desire to make a personal statement by means of an old craft.** For me that craft is quilting. It is my connection to what has gone before and what will come after, when I am no longer here.**
The gift of quilting is like the gift of music. You have to love it. You have to want to make something beautiful and lasting. Something that will 'speak' about the 'who' of your being.
Excerpts from "The Mountain Artisans Quilting Book", by Alfred Allan Lewis...published 1973 by McMillian House.
**To whom it may concern** I am not taking credit for writing this, that is why the Lewis Co. Quilter i.d. is by the quote. The remainder of the information is para-phrased, for the most part, as Mr. Lewis uses many additional description words in each sentence. If I were quoting him exactly I would have used QUOTATION marks.
The Mountain Artisans Quilting Book has become difficult to find, and my intention was to share knowledge of its existance with the quilting community.
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