Quilts and Health
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182 pages

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Name an illness, medical condition, or disease and you will find quiltmaking associated with it. From Alzheimer's to Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Lou Gehrig's Disease to Crigler-Najjar Syndrome, and for nearly every form of cancer, millions of quilts have been made in support of personal well-being, health education, patient advocacy, memorialization of victims, and fundraising. In Quilts and Health, Marsha MacDowell, Clare Luz, and Beth Donaldson explore the long historical connection between textiles and health and its continued and ever growing importance in contemporary society. This lavishly illustrated book brings together hundreds of health-related quilts—with imagery from abstract patterns to depictions of fibromyalgia to an ovarian cancer diary—and the stories behind the art, as told by makers, recipients, healthcare professionals, and many others. This incredible book speaks to the healing power of quilts and quiltmaking and to the deep connections between art and health.

1. Evidence of the Impact of Quilts and Quiltmaking on Health and Healthcare Outcomes
2. The Art of Health-related Quiltmaking
3. Individual Experiences of Health and Wellbeing through Quiltmaking
4. Public and Collective Quiltmaking for Health and Wellbeing
5. Quilts in Healing Environments and Clinical Care
6. Conclusion
Appendix A: Guide to Whatever It Takes: An Ovarian Cancer Diary
Appendix B: Quilt Makers and Quilt Recipients



Publié par
Date de parution 05 janvier 2018
Nombre de lectures 1
EAN13 9780253032270
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 15 Mo

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0500€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


and health
and health

marsha macDowell, Clare Luz, and Beth Donaldson
Indiana University Press
This book is a publication of
Indiana University Press
Office of Scholarly Publishing
Herman B Wells Library 350
1320 East 10th Street
Bloomington, Indiana 47405 USA
2017 by Indiana University Press
All rights reserved
No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
The paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements of the American National Standard for Information Sciences-Permanence of Paper for Printed Library Materials, ANSI Z39.48-1992.
Manufactured in China
Cataloging information is available from the Library of Congress .
ISBN 978-0-253-03226-3 (cloth)
ISBN 978-0-253-03227-0 (ebook)
1 2 3 4 5 22 21 20 19 18 17

Figure 3.8. Inspired by Pain , Karen Mowinski, Tucson, Arizona, 2014.
Evidence of the Impact of Quilts and Quiltmaking on Health and Health-Care Outcomes
The Art of Health-Related Quiltmaking
Individual Experiences of Health and Well-being through Quiltmaking
Public and Collective Quiltmaking for Health and Well-being
Quilts in Healing Environments and Clinical Care
Appendix: Guide to Whatever It Takes: An Ovarian Cancer Diary
I n August 2009, my sister, Clare Luz, a faculty member in the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, was asked by a colleague to organize a public panel on arts and healing in conjunction with ArtPrize in Grand Rapids, Michigan. 1 Since Clare had long been interested in the intersection of arts, health, and medicine, she agreed to do a presentation. Knowing that I have conducted extensive research on quilts in my capacity as a curator at the Michigan State University Museum and as an art history professor at MSU, she then turned to me to ask if I might be willing to join her as a second speaker. Off the top of my head, I knew I had data on the AIDS Memorial quilts and a few other health-related quilts, so I tentatively replied, Yes, but let me check my files to see if I have enough to produce a full presentation. That night, as I looked through several physical and digital files I maintain, I was astounded at the breadth and depth of what I had already amassed on the topic and emailed her with a most definite yes. That night, I realized that the topic of quilts and health is an area of quilt studies that has been woefully under-researched.
A few days before our scheduled presentation, Clare and I sat in a hospital room with our mother and fellow scholar, Betty MacDowell, who was recovering from hip replacement surgery. Partly out of curiosity and partly as a way to pass the time, we asked nearly every medical professional who came into the room to try to give us an example of one disease or illness they thought could not be connected to quilts. All of them indulged us, and some even wrote their suggestions on surgical tape, which I then applied to the back of my computer. Before they made their next round of visits, we did Internet searches. As it turned out, we found quilts for every illness they thought would stump us, and we had fun sharing the stories with one another and with the medical staff as they returned to the room. As a quilt scholar, I was very surprised to see that we were finding not just one quilt made by one individual per illness or disease but often thousands of quilts made by thousands of artists. Even more surprising was that so many large projects were connected to medical institutions, patient advocacy groups, survivors of illness, and medical educators.
By the time we gave our presentation at the ArtPrize event, we knew that we needed to begin in-depth research on quilts and health. We partnered with MSU colleagues Heather Howard and Emily Proctor to conduct studies and presentations on Native American health and quilts. We joined the Society for Arts and Health, and with Beth Donaldson we created Google searches for the subject of quilts and health; initiated a Quilts and Health blog and Facebook page; sent out calls through Listservs and social media for stories about health-related quilts; scoured the interviews on Quilters Save Our Stories (QSOS); created a Mendeley site to collect the scientific papers, newspaper articles, and blogs we uncovered; and established a special section of the Quilt Index to allow for easier searching of health connections to the over eighty thousand images and stories in this massive digital resource. 2

Figure 0.1. Fighting Breast Cancer, One Breast at a Time , Marie, Clarice, and Lucille (last names not identified), Lansing, Michigan, 2010. 38.5 51.5 . Collection of the Michigan State University Women s Imaging Center. Photo by Marsha MacDowell, February 2016.
When Carol Slomski, MD, worked at the Breast Cancer Center of Lansing, she attended an It s a Breast Thing event to raise funds for and awareness of breast cancer and purchased this quilt, one of many pieces of art donated to the event. Slomski displayed it in her office, but when she moved to another state, she gave it to her colleague David Anderson, MD, who hung it in the center s main waiting room. He brought it with him when the Breast Cancer Center merged with the MSU Women s Imaging Center, East Lansing, Michigan, and it now hangs in a patient waiting area there. Center personnel say they get many great comments about the piece. 3

Figure 0.2. Waiting room, Michigan State University Women s Imaging Center, East Lansing, Michigan. Photo by Marsha MacDowell, February 2016.

Figure 0.3. Quilt made by Sparrow Hospital Volunteers and presented as a gift to the Sparrow Health System on the occasion of one hundred years of service to the Lansing area for the 1896-1996 centennial year. From Michigan State University Museum, Michigan Quilt Project. Photo by Marsha MacDowell. This quilt is on permanent display in one of the hospital hallways. For more information, see the Quilt Index: Sparrow Hospital Volunteers Quilt.

Figure 0.4. Marsha MacDowell at the Breslin Cancer Center, Lansing, Michigan, after being presented with a quilt made by Bobbie Slider, May 9, 2012. Photo in author s collection.
In January 2012 the topic of quilts and health took an unexpected personal turn. A regular mammogram detected some abnormalities, and I was scheduled for a biopsy. I walked into the waiting room of the Breast Cancer Center of Lansing, where a quilted wall hanging of a set of six bras was the only adornment of an otherwise bleak area. I tested positive for breast cancer and subsequently had a lumpectomy followed by six weeks of radiation and two doses of chemotherapy. In one of the hallways of Sparrow Hospital in Lansing, where I had my surgery, hung another quilt, each of its blocks depicting one facet of volunteer hospital work-from the wheelchair escorts, to the medical librarians, to the Tender Loving Care group in support of family members in the critical care visitor lounge. 4 At the clinic where I underwent daily radiation treatments, the registration counter often displayed baskets of quilted and knitted items as gifts for patients. But it was at my first chemotherapy treatment that the emotional and physical comfort of quilts to those who were coping with illness came most powerfully into my life. In the austere and rather chilly room, I was surrounded by other patients, some of whom had lost their hair and most of whom had companions with them. Alone, I was hooked to the intravenous chemo drip, and almost immediately the head nurse appeared before me with two large shopping bags and said, You are a new patient; you can choose which of these you would like. Imagine my surprise, joy, and happiness in seeing that the choice she was offering me was between two quilts. Throughout my diagnosis and surgery I had not cried, but at that point the floodgates of tears let loose and I said to her, Do you know what my research is? She snapped a picture for me and then I read the letter accompanying the quilt. It was written by Bobbie Slider of Lansing, who had started making quilts for new patients of the Michigan State University Breslin Cancer Center after accompanying a friend to the center and experiencing firsthand the sterile and chilly environment. I quickly contacted her and found that, as of 2012, Bobbie had already made and donated more than four hundred quilts just for this purpose. She had also made many more quilts for other charitable causes, including several that are health-related.

Figure 0.5. Brenda s Quilt . Bobbi Slider, Lansing, Michigan, 2012. 48 56 . Collection of Marsha MacDowell. Photo by Pearl Yee Wong.
At her first chemotherapy session following breast cancer surgery, Marsha MacDowell received from the clinic staff a quilt they described as a new patient gift . Tucked in the bag with the quilt was a letter which read as follows:
Several years ago I witnessed many patients receiving chemotherapy while I visited with my dear friend who was also receiving treatment for leukemia. Thanks to God, and a lot of prayers, she is now in her 6th year of remission. I know she often asked for blankets to keep her warm during the long hours of the procedure and was so grateful for them. In honor of her, I want Brenda s Quilt to help bring some comfort and warmth to you during your tre

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