The first project, "Ho For California! Pioneer Women and Their Quilts", came as a result of the initial documentation of quilts made in and brought to California. These documentation days, termed Quilt Search Days, looked at quilts from all over California. Over 3,300 quilts were recorded, dating from the earliest days up to 1945. Jean Ray Laury undertook the arduous task of compiling 101 representative quilts, made by 99 women, into the book "Ho For California".
Documentation Days have been held from the beginning of CHQP through 2006. It is our plan to continue this tradition in an updated format in the near future.
CHQP was very active in recording the stories of individual quilter and quilting groups from the 1990s through 2003. Copies of these interviews are housed in the Oral History archives at the Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, California. A second set is housed at the International Quilt Museum in Lincoln, Nebraska.
In May of 1996, the California Sesquicentennial Commission asked the California Quilt Project to create a special quilt to reflect the 58 counties through pictorial images. Helen Powell of Sacramento agreed to take the responsibility of coordinating the project. Ellen Heck, and award-winning quilt artist, was asked to design the quilt. She accepted and asked Zena Thorpe, another award-winning quilter and current Board Member, to join her. Under their direction, quilt artists from throughout the state created vignettes of California's diverse geographical areas.
This amazing 10' by 10' quilt is a pictorial masterpiece, made entirely by hand. The appliqué was completed by 67 quilters. It was then entirely hand quilted by other selected quilters who worked for 2000 hours to finish.
Gifted to the State of California, it currently resides in it's own specially designed exhibit in the California History Museum in Sacremento, California. There is currently an interactive website that features the quilt and the history of California that it represents.
Visit the quilt at www.californiaheritagequiltproject.com
Designed by Kitty Oliver, fourth grade California school children were able to participate in a classroom quilt project using the Sesquicentennial Quilt. Beginning with a short description of a quilt sample, the program consisted of a slide presentation of the Sesquicentennial Quilt. The Children were able to visually gain an understanding of the size of the state and the overall variety of the history and landscape.
Following the slide presentation, the class was divided into groups for three distinct activities related to California and the quilt. One group played a Timeline game relating historical events to a large California map while others colored, cut and pasted shade to form a Road to California paper quilt block. The third group gathered around a large table covered with a quilt and each child quilted a few stitches before signing their name on the quilt border.