Lancaster – Quilts line the walls in the Raymond S. Wilkes Gallery for the Visual Arts on the Ohio University Lancaster Campus. The display is in honor of Women's History Month. The quilts represent women's history and the history of each woman who is associated with each quilt.
"We've got some gorgeous quilts in here. A lot of them were made by grandmothers and great-grandmothers and each of them comes with a story," said Lancaster Campus Development Director Mandi Custer. "Every quilt has a story."
Custer has a quilt on display in the gallery. The quilt is filled with pink squares and was made for her by friends and supporters during one of the most difficult times of her life.
"The blocks were put together by volunteers at the Decorative Arts Center of Ohio. I worked at the Decorative Arts Center from 2004 to 2009. When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, they knew I was going to go through chemo and when you go through chemo you get cold," said Custer. "The quilt represents the amazing support that I got through my cancer journey. Support is 80 percent of the battle and then the doctors and medicine are the other 20 percent in my opinion. This represents all of the wonderful people who were there for me every step of the way."
Custer said the quilt is one of her prize possession. It normally is displayed on the wall at her home. Custer took it with her to the hospital when she was battling cancer.
"I took it with me to chemo and I was at the James Cancer Center and many of the nurses said we've never seen a more beautiful quilt," said Custer.
Each of the eight quilts on display is beautiful because of the story that goes with them. Lona McBride was working on a quilt on November 22, 1963 – the day President John F. Kennedy was killed. She was so upset that she didn't touch it again for decades. But, at the age of 93 she finished the quilt and turned a moment of historical sorrow into a treasured heirloom.
"My great-grandmother used to quilt.My grandmother quilted.It's part of women's history," said Custer. "Before women had all the rights we have today, they would get together and piece together quilts."
The quilts will be on display through the month of March.
The Celebrate Women conference is also being held at Ohio University's Pickerington Center this month. Newly appointed Ohio Supreme Court Justice Judith L. French is the keynote speaker. French became the 155th justice of the Ohio Supreme Court on January 1, 2013. She was appointed by Ohio Governor John Kasich. You can register for the conference at www.ohio.edu/lancaster/celebratewomen.cfm.