by Patricia Belyea
LA CONNER WA Living on a 3.5 mile-long island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean for over a dozen years sounds a little confining. Or, if you’re Grace Hawley, it’s a perfect place to learn a new skill. Grace took a Hawaiian Quilting adult education class in 1985 and, since then, hasn't stopped appliquing and quilting by hand.
I met Grace last month at the Busy Bees Quilter’s Guild meeting in Snohomish. Grace beamed as she announced to the group that La Conner Quilt & Textile Museum would be displaying her Hawaiian quilts from October 9 through December 28.
Not a professional quilter, Grace has been creating quilts for family and friends for almost 30 years. Grace let Kathleen Kok, curator of LCQTM, know about her work and her hope of showing them at the Museum. So this exhibit is a dream come true.
Only once has Grace used a pattern for her quilt making—one given to her by a friend. Generally she works from photos in books or develops compositions using graphic motifs. It’s Grace’s hand-stitching that really shines in her designs.
A fascinating fact that Grace shared with me at the opening of her show—married for 46 years, she was given a pair of Singer scissors as a wedding present. Grace uses those scissors to cut out all her applique forms and has never sharpened them!
It’s been a real pleasure to meet Grace and learn about her passion for Hawaiian quilting. She may not be Hawaiian by birth but she’s the real deal when it comes to Hawaiian quilting.