I met Maggi Gordon many years ago when she signed up for my class at WCTC. She was friendly and funny, and a great addition to our Open Lab group. Over the years we got to know each other better and occasionally we met for lunch. I remember telling her one time that I loved her British accent and I asked her where she was from. Her answer? … she was born in Mississippi! We both had a good laugh about that one.
It turns out that her husband is British, they lived in England for 30 years, and their boys were born there. While in London she worked as an editor for craft books and eventually she began writing books about quilts and their history. You could easily have a few of these in your collection (and this is only a sampling of her many books).
I remember the day she told me she was an author of quilt books. I responded with: “why are you taking my classes?” To which she chuckled and said that writing about something and actually doing it are not always the same. She told me she liked to make simple quilts, but enjoyed the ideas and encouragement she got from the Open Lab classes I taught. That’s the great thing about the Open Lab formula – we all learn from each other!
During this time Maggi decided to write a book about vintage quilts. She asked all of her friends to share their quilt collections with her. She worked with the UW in Madison, to research, photograph and evaluate each one. Here’s the book description:
Warman’s Vintage Quilts
More than 300 collectible quilts, dating from 1825 to the late twentieth century, are illustrated in full color to tell of the rich history of quiltmaking. A description of each quilt includes the pattern name, the materials used, the date and where known, the maker’s name, and a collector value. Hints on starting, expanding, and maintaining a collection are also given.
I was thrilled to be able to have my collection documented by her, and honored to receive a copy of the finished book. It’s a great resource!
This is just one of the quilts I have in the book:
After a few years Maggi’s husband retired from his job at the Milwaukee Art Museum and he did freelance work for other museums. This moved them to New York – and it was sad to say good-bye.
About a year later the program person for the Empire State Quilters guild called to ask me to teach for them. I suspected it was at Maggi’s suggestion, and a wonderful trip it was! Maggi was recovering from shoulder surgery, so she couldn’t participate in the guild activities, but I had a lovely visit with her and David in their condo near Central Park. Then, after my teaching obligations were over, I was able to meet up with her at the Metropolitan Museum of art to visit a fascinating exhibit and have lunch. I did 2 blog posts about that amazing trip and you can click here for the first, and read the continuation of the story here.
During that time we stayed in touch and she even participated in my Floss Frenzy challenge back in 2014. You can read all about the challenge here, but in brief, I was blessed with a gift of a huge amount of embroidery floss. I sent those who wanted to participate 3 skeins of thread, chosen at random, and asked them to do something (really anything they wanted) with it. The response was great! Here are the threads sent to Maggi and her finished butterfly quilt. She didn’t get hers done by the deadline, but sent me the photo later.
To see all the quilts in this viewers choice challenge, click here!
As time went on she and David decided to move to California to be near children and grandchildren. Maggi and I stayed in touch while playing Words With Friends – and chatting online. A few months ago she stopped playing and I didn’t realize until this past week that she had passed away from metastatic breast cancer. She was always so upbeat and fun, and now I know she wasn’t one to burden others with her problems. I had no idea and am truly sorry for her family and friends.
To read about her and all of her books, you can visit her website at: http://www.maggigordon.com/
Maggi was a wonderful woman, quilter, collector and friend, and I am grateful she was a part of my life.