the magic of joe cunningham
By Patricia Belyea
I’m not the only one who has experienced the profound “present” energy of Joe the Quilter. Not only does Joe Cunningham make quilts that are wonderful personal expressions of who he is and how he moves through this world, he is a quilt historian who brings the stories of early quilters to life in insightful and fun ways.
Joe and I have teamed up for a quilt retreat in the fall of 2013. The venue, St. Andrew’s House, looks out over the Hood Canal. The retreat center is beyond perfect—picturesque and inspiring. When I visited with my 16-year old nephew, he was given two cookies as we hit the road to return to Seattle. “These are the best cookies I have ever eaten,” he said. “If I had the recipe, I would just eat these for the rest of my life!”
The class sample, called Happiness Bird Stops By, expresses a love of life. Participants will not be leaving with the exact same quilt. Instead they’ll be challenged to use new techniques and approaches to quilting that express their happiest selves. Joe will teach for the first time his unique bias tape technique, as well as keep us in stitches with his candid humor.
The classes are in the mornings, then stitching all afternoon. The evenings are times for sharing—Show ‘N Tell, a talk about yukata cottons by me, and hilarious entertainment by Joe.