Quilts from the Community
Since quilts can be incredibly personal items, many of them remain in private collections. We're proud to display a few quilts from our community's collections as part of this exhibit.
The Fish Quilt
The Fish Quilt project was orginally organized by members of the local Unitarian Church as a fundraiser- people interested in designing an 8 in by 8 in block would purchase a block of fabric from local fabric stores that were collaborating on the project, and drop off the block when they had finished working on it. A local quilter, Susie Freese, donated time to assemble the completed quilt, which was then presented to the Wiyot tribe at an event at Humboldt State. Cheryl Seidener, the Chair of the Wiyot and Geraldine, the Vice Chair, received the quilt on behalf of the tribe in 2004. To raise money for the Sacred Sites Fund, which at the time was working to purchase 1.5 acres of land and fund restoration work on Indian Island, Cheryl allowed interested parties to sign the quilt for $2 a signature, with the money benefiting the fund.
The quilt is composed of blocks made by a variety of local quilters who were asked to draw on inspiration having to do with local rivers and the fish in them. In all, about 10 Wiyot people contributed blocks. Cheryl’s sister, Leona, chose to have a photo of her and Cheryl’s father printed on a piece of fabric, which became the centerpiece of the quilt. This photo, originally taken in 1964, features Leona and Cheryl’s father fishing with a dip net at Table Bluff.
The quilt hung in the offices for the Wiyot tribe for years, a cherished part of the work environment.
The quilt was going to be raffled off as a fundraiser, but it was decided to donate the quilt to Cheryl about 4 years ago, due to her father’s image being on the quilt.
While viewing the quilt, you may noticed that the bear in one of the blocks only has one eye. There was a lot of speculation about what kind of metaphor a one-eyed bear could be, or what the story was behind it. Cheryl once asked the maker of the block that question. The response? “That’s just the way I did it”