A History of the Sea Island Quilters
Contributed by Mary Campbell, 30 year Member
The idea for a Beaufort quilt guild was hatched in late winter 1987 at a sit-and-sew in a dimly lit classroom at Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard, a small fabric shop on Carteret Street. Marjorie Smith, Blanche Gault, Barbara Walters, and Peg Allen were the four original founders, and they named themselves President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer, respectively.
From the beginning, the goal of the guild was to “to foster the art of quilting, to encourage high standards of design and techniques in all of its various forms, and to stimulate an interest in the goals within the community,”
A call went out to quilters to attend the first meeting in May 1987 at the Senior Citizens Center on Pigeon Point Road. The new self-appointed offices and members went right to work. The name “Sea Island Quilters” was chosen by vote, by-laws (based on those of the Cobblestone Quilters in Charleston) were established, a newsletter “went to press,” and committees took up their duties. A regular meeting day was selected – the 3rd Thursday of the each month – and a meeting agenda was outlined. (Meetings consist of a short business meeting with committee reports, show and tell, a social break, and a program.) By fall of ’87, a logo designed by Marjorie Smith, had been selected and the quilters had experienced many learning experiences through programs, workshops, stitching Block-of-the-Month projects, and just being together.
The first “Southern Comforts” quilt show took place in the spring of 1989 in the courtyard of the Beaufort Arsenal. Rather than vote for “Viewers Choice,” attendees were asked to vote for “The Best Quilt on the Clothesline.” Since that first show, the guild has continued to showcase the work of the membership with every-other-year exhibits.
Aside from the monthly meetings, the guild enjoys making quilts for local children’s shelters, assisting students and adults who want to learn to quilt, going on road trips to shows and shops, participating in yearly challenges based on a particular topic, and sponsoring lectures and workshops by well-known and popular teachers. During its 30 year history, the guild has hosted many national teachers and authors including Sharyn Craig, Darra Duffy Williamson, Karen Kay Buckley, Suzanne Marshall, Pat Wys, Carol Doak, Vickie Klontz, Nancy Johnson-Srebro, Cindy Blackberg, Linda Cantrell, Sharon Newman, Carol Britt, Susan Edmondson, Nan Tournier, Jan Smiley, and Bonnie Hunter.
Another wonderful activity is a yearly Quilt Retreat where quilters come together for a relaxing weekend of sewing, sharing meals, and working together on mini projects – all sprinkled with a tremendous amount of joy and laughter!
In their 30 years of stitching together and sharing enriching experiences, strong bonds have been created between and among members of the Sea Island Quilters – bonds to last a lifetime and a legacy of beautiful quilts for future generations to enjoy.
An Ageless Community of Quilters
Sea Island Quilters was founded in May 1987 by Peg Allen, Blanche Gault, Margorie Smith, and Barbara Walters as a way for area quilters to socialize, share techniques, and "talk quilts"! We have grown to almost 100 members over the past 30-plus years, but our goal is the same: promoting the art of quilting and instructing, encouraging, and helping others in the community to create their own quilts.
General Meetings include a social time, short business meeting, show-and-tell of member quilts and quilting related items, and an informative program. Programs may be demonstrations of tool and/or techniques or presentations by recognized quilting or fiber arts personalities.
Quilting Workshops are hands-on learning experiences on occasional Fridays or Saturdays. We bring in nationally known experts as well as local talent to learn new techniques and to enhance and improve our skills. '
Retreats offer members a chance for a weekend of fun, fellowship, and non-stop quilting. Non-members may attend workshops and retreats space-permitting.
Bees or mini quilting groups meet at various times and locations during the week and are a great way to learn new methods and to enjoy a group of creative people.
Shop hops are often held before workshops and when the need for more fabric shouts out to members.
Outreach programs provide comforting quilted and other items to community and other organizations such as CAPA and Hopeful Horizons.
Sea Island Quilters holds its Quilt Show in odd years; the next one will be in May 2019.