Quilt Photo Forthcoming
By Susan Fisher
In 1989 Mary Ross spotted an ad in the Atlanta Journal that said, “If you like to quilt, call this number.” She called the number listed and shortly thereafter found herself at Bulloch Hall attending a meeting about documenting quilts. Mary was suitably intrigued and started to drive from her home in Griffin to weekly meetings in Atlanta with Anita Weinraub and others to formulate what became known as the Georgia Quilt Project.
After completing an additional two-day session on how to document quilts, the actual project began. For years the core group from the Georgia Quilt Project set out every other weekend to a specific area of the state. Mary said they traveled everywhere in Georgia, “from Ringgold to Savannah to Albany and points in between.” Mary’s husband, Bill, had just retired, so he went along on these weekend jaunts, as did Carolyn and Claude Kyle. They even had a magnetic sign on their car that read “Quilt Pursuit Vehicle”.
The GQP group was joined by a number of volunteers at each location. Mary said
that it took twenty people to help with all the details both before, and during
the documentation process at each stop. They kept up this pace for three years
before AND after the 1996 Olympics.
Mary certainly remembers the Olympic quilt project. Every single quilt made for the Atlanta Olympics passed through her house. The UPS man made daily deliveries to her address. As Mary puts it, “It was like Christmas every day.” Mary opened each box, documented the quilt and then found a space to store it. The quilts were stacked one upon another on the twin beds in her guest room, then the sofa bed in the library and finally floor to ceiling in her living room.
The Olympic quilts went straight from Mary’s house to the spectacular exhibit at the Atlanta History Center prior to their distribution. Mary recalls the meetings with the Olympic organizers and how surprised and thrilled they were to learn that each quilt’s maker would be allowed into the Olympic Village for the presentation ceremony.
Although Mary has been involved with quilting and needlework at many levels, she
feels that her years spent with the Georgia Quilt Project will be those
remembered in Georgia’s quilting history.