[Perform-talk] Braille is beautiful, article about Idaho peace quilters' project for Commission for the Blind

Donna Hill penatwork at epix.net
Sun Jul 12 15:18:36 UTC 2009

Hi Friends,
As a Braille reader, advocate for Braille literacy and a knitter who 
uses Braille on afghans, I was delighted to read about these sighted 
quilters, who are showing how beautiful Braille is.
Donna Hill
From: the Idaho Statesman

Boise Peace Quilters mix textile art and Braille in an effort to reach 
out to the blind
BY ANNA WEBB - awebb at idahostatesman.com
Copyright: © 2009 Idaho Statesman
Published: 07/11/09

list of 1 items
Boise Peace Quilt
list end

Satiny green peas. A field of white doves. Children's faces stitched in 

The 44 quilts made by Boise Peace Quilt Project since 1981 have all been 
visually stunning.

But the newest quilt, an ambitious work-in-progress, ventures into 
another sensory area altogether.

The quilt will be a gift to the Idaho Commission for the Blind and 
Visually Impaired. It will include imagery from the four seasons that is 
beautiful to
look at, but that translates for people who can't see - a spiky 
snowflake, a constellation on a velvet ground, heavy-threaded tree bark.

Peace quilter Regina M. Brown is also beading four seasonal haikus on 
the quilt, entirely in Braille.

Stitching the haikus, which were written by peace quilter Elisabeth Jay, 
based on her walks through Boise, presents special challenges, Brown 
said. Like
making sure the beading is tight enough to stand up to thousands of hands.

The task has involved "sturdy thread," and lots of do-overs to get the 
Braille perfect, Brown said.

Angela Jones, administrator at the commission, said the quilt, which the 
group hopes to finish by the end of the year, will hang in the 
commission's entryway.

Everyone from visiting legislators to newly blind residents living at 
the commission while they learn Braille and other life skills will pass by.

Jones said blind and visually impaired staffers have been working with 
the quilters, making sure rough embroidery really feels like an ice 
cream cone, that
the beaded Braille next to a plush cat is a legible "meow."

"It's an honor to have the peace quilters do this for us, considering 
what they've done in the past," Jones said.

The group has given quilts to statesmen, environmentalists, scientists, 
to Mr. Rogers and Sen. Frank Church.

"We're quilters, but we're really activists," peace quilter Susan Hooley 

The group is helping the community in another way.

For the past 20 years it has supported its work by selling note cards 
printed with quilt designs.

Keeping the cards in storage got expensive, so the group donated more 
than 250,000 cards to local nonprofit organizations, including the YMCA 
and Interfaith
Sanctuary to sell, or use for their own correspondence.

"Instead of getting panicky in hard economic times, the alternative is 
to help each other," Hooley said.

Anna Webb: 377-6431

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