Did you ever have an idea for a quilt pop into your mind with such vividness and detail that you could almost touch it? What did you do? Did you . . .
think “that’s nice” and go on about your day?
sketch it out on a napkin that later got thrown away?
head directly to your fabric stash and start pulling fabrics?
Most of the time, I get a glimpse of an idea then turn it over to my hands and let them figure the rest of it out as they go. But at the end of January 2016, a big, fat, crazy idea came to call in such compelling clarity – more quilts than I could count, each filled with pairs of red X’s on white fabric. This was a vision I could not resist, and the 70273 Project was launched ten days later (before I had time to think myself out of it).
Between January 1940 and August 1941, Nazis murdered 70,273 physically and mentally disabled people under a little known program called Aktion T4. Assessing physicians used only medical records to determine who lived and who died, and once two physicians placed a red X at the bottom of the medical record, the person was murdered. Through The 70273 Project, I am gathering quilt blocks from around the world to commemorate every person murdered under Aktion T4.
Would you like to join in? There are many ways to commemorate those who died and celebrate those who live.
You can make quilt blocks. Blocks are made in one of three sizes, the bases all white or slightly off white fabric to represent the medical records. On each base are placed two red X’s to represent one person murdered. Each block commemorates one person.
You can make entire quilts using blocks you made or blocks made by your friends, family, coworkers, fellow members of organizations. You can also make quilts from blocks made by others.
You can make Middlings – fat quarter size (approximately 18” x 22” or 46 x 56cm) quilts that allow for a little more artistic expression. In a Middling quilt, the pairs of red X’s can be arranged as desired or used as lines to make drawings.
You can make Long Skinnies – quilts measuring 15.5” (37cm) side and be as long as you like or have thread
You can make Minis – postcard size quilts.
There’s something for everybody! Whatever option you choose to use to commemorate those who died, the same basic guidelines apply:
~ bases and backgrounds must be white or slightly off white~ only pairs of red X’s (no words, text, numbers)~ A signed Provenance Form (available for download on the web site) must accompany your submission giving me permission to use your commemorations in exhibits, books, articles, etc. As you will see on the Provenance Form, blocks can be dedicated to a person or persons of your choosing, and you also have the option to remain anonymous.
I recently returned from a trip to the U.K. where I enjoyed the opportunity to meet friends and call them “Sugar” and say “Thank you” to their beautiful faces. In celebration of Holocaust Remembrance Day, quilts of The 70273 Project hung at Durham Cathedral (January 25-28, 2018); Rochester Cathedral (January 22 – March 12, 2018), and in the Jersey Museum on the Channel Islands (January 8 – 28, 2018). The trip – the people – the quilts . . . it was nothing short of magical. There are more exhibits and trips to the U.K. currently being planned, so keep an eye the web site.
Speaking of the web site, if this project touches your heart, I’d be grateful and honored to have you join in. You can find more information on our web site, including where to find me if you have questions, suggestions, or would like to propose, schedule, or host an exhibit.
Thank you, Sylvia Priest, for inviting me to be a guest blogger here and giving me the opportunity to share The 70273 Project with your amazing community. And thank you to all the quilters, sewists, families, students, teachers, merchants, churches, reporters, journalists, and other big-hearted people of the U.K. who have shown those we commemorate such compassion and those we celebrate such respect. Your kindness, compassion, and hospitality know no bounds. You make the world a much better place.
When she’s not working on The 70273 Project, Jeanne Hewell-Chambers stitches the drawings of Nancy, her 58 year old mentally disabled sister-in-law, growing the series called In Our Own Language. Jeanne is very glad she said “yes” to this big, fat, crazy idea we know as The 70273 Project.
For further Information about this Project and how you could get involved:
Occasional newsletter: http://eepurl.com/dckoRH
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/the70723project/?fref=ts
Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/the70273project/