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Celebrating Calacas with the SMA Quilters!


By Elsmarie Norby

The SMA Quilters hold an important place in the abundant art scene in our beautiful town. They have been meeting regularly for more than 10 years to share ideas and produce works of art for the benefit of one of San Miguel’s many nonprofit groups. This year the recipient organization is Ojala Niños, a daily education program available to all the children in the rural community of San Miguel Viejo. The theme of the show is “Calaca,” the traditional skull image for the Day of the Dead. The quilters will present one collective piece made from thousands of tiny pieces of cloth, painstakingly sewn together to create a magnificent calaca.

Quilting is not new! The earliest example of quilting is a carved ivory figure of an Egyptian pharaoh wearing what seems to be a quilted mantle—circa 3400 BC. From the Middle Ages on through the Renaissance in Europe, quilted clothing and bedding were professionally made luxury goods for the wealthy. In America quilting was first done to produce practical household items but also became a means of showing daily life, reaching its highest expression as folk art during the 19th century. The quilting that my mother did in the early 20th century was done to use up every scrap of fabric from clothing that could no longer be worn. It was all about not wasting anything, but her creativity was amazing and her quilts have cuddled me, my children, and my grandchildren!

Here and now, our SMA Quilters will present quilting in the highest forms of artistic expression, showing extraordinary skill, patience, and creativity. They love what they do, and we will be privileged to see an individual work by each quilter, plus the breathtaking collective piece called “Calaca de Flores.” The show will be at Café Muro in El Obraje, with the opening event on Sunday, October 1, from 2–4pm. The show will be in place for the month of October during restaurant hours, 9am–4pm, daily except Wednesdays. The silent auction for the “Calaca de Flores” will be ongoing throughout the month, and the winner will be announced at the closing event on Tuesday, October 31, from 2–4 pm. Many, many thanks and kudos to Gerardo and Carlos of Café Muro for hosting the SMA Quilters and supporting Ojala Niños. Come and adopt a calaca!

The illustrious quilters are: Janet Avery, Marie Bass, Yoli del Rio, Pat Donahue, Donnis Doyle, Judith Garcia, Rosa Harrop, Debbie Kubas, Lisa Muhn, Stephanie Murphy, Catherine Rodriguez, Bettie Scheffer, Carolyn Simsarian, Kenia Velasquez, and Jean Wood.


SMA Quilters Show

Sun, Oct 1, 2–4pm

Café Muro, San Gabriel 1

El Obraje

No charge



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