By Chris Smith
Quilts are cozy and colorful, and some have a special message. A prime example is a Bible Quilt created in south Huntsville which presents all 66 books of the Bible. Each quilt block includes a representative verse and illustrative art. Heritage Quilters of Huntsville recently hosted a large quilt show where the quilt was award “Best Original Design” and show attendees selected it as one of their favorite quilts.
This 5 year project had a team of 3 people engaged in research and design, embroidery, and finally quilting. After a lengthy research and design process, designer Chris Smith worked with embroidery master David Gilfilen to achieve some very unique effects. The embroidery was very labor intensive—using 6.4 miles of thread and 1.47 million stitches. Once the blocks were created, Lin Hayden leaned on her extensive quilting experience to piece it together and quilt it. This process was also labor intensive—each block had to be custom quilted, and she had to change quilting thread colors for the 72 blocks.
The quilt is visually striking, drawing in the viewer. Chris said, “This is the main purpose of the quilt: to invite viewers to read the Bible themselves. The Bible’s story is beautifully simple, but its deeper meanings can keep a devoted scholar busy for a lifetime; “Portraying the Bible’s poignant simplicity while including deeper layers of meaning in the quilt’s design was a real challenge.”
People have asked that the reasoning behind each block’s artwork and the deeper layers of meaning be addressed in a narrative. Both the quilt’s full picture album and accompanying non-denominational narrative can be accessed, downloaded, and copied for free. Go to www.mayfair.org/BibleQuilt.