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home : arts & entertainment : arts & entertainment July 22, 2014

7/9/2013 1:23:00 PM
Blind quilter exhibits at library
Betty Anne Guadalupe (L), collaborated with blind quilter Claire Spector (R) to create several of the unique quilts on display at the Sisters Library. photo by Sue Anderson
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Betty Anne Guadalupe (L), collaborated with blind quilter Claire Spector (R) to create several of the unique quilts on display at the Sisters Library. photo by Sue Anderson

By Jim Anderson

When an accident in 2005 left quilter Claire Spector with neural-visual blindness, she feared she would never pick up a needle and thread again. She decided to donate her nearly 60 boxes of fabric to her friend and fellow quilter, Betty Anne Guadalupe of Prineville.

Betty Anne invited area quilters to use these fabrics in a challenge whereby they would piece together the top and she would do the custom quilting. The collaborative venture was exhibited in a show in Bend that Claire attended. She was so taken by this gift from other artists, and knowing her fabrics had been turned into exquisite art pieces, that she expressed a desire to return to her passion.

"But I can't," she lamented.

"Oh yes you can!" came Betty Anne's reply. She had experience working with people who had difficulty sewing for one reason or another, and now could help her friend.

With Betty Anne's patient guidance, Claire began piecing back together a part of her life she greatly missed. Hope sparked anew, and before long she was quilting by feel. She had had art therapy in her rehabilitation, but none so effective and therapeutic as what Betty Anne was offering.

Since Claire lives in California, and Betty Anne in Oregon, people wonder how they collaborate together.

"I create my quilts using what vision I have," Claire explains, "and sew it together by feel. I then point my cellphone camera at what I've done and send the picture to Betty Anne. We discuss the next move over the phone.

"I then send the quilt off to Betty Anne, who is very gifted and has a vision for its completion. She uses her long-arm quilting machine, painting with thread, to give my quilt its final custom enhancement."

"There's a friendship among quilters that underpins the actual creation of the physical piece and binds us together," Betty Anne says. "Help is offered where help is needed."

These quilts are currently on display under the title of "New Vision: Seeing, Sewing, Living Differently," in the Community Room of the Sisters Library.

In addition to Claire's quilts, another quilt challenge is on display as well: "Quilting meets Couture." These quilts by various artists are made from a collection of couture fabrics from European dynastic fabric makers. Betty Anne invited a group of quilters to create quilts using this special fabric, and she then custom-quilted each one.

This blended exhibit will be on display for the week of the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show and through the month of July.

Sisters Country Weddings

Reader Comments

Posted: Monday, July 22, 2013
Article comment by: Barbara Najar

Claire and Betty Anne, how beautiful, what an inspiration for us all!

Posted: Tuesday, July 16, 2013
Article comment by: Judy Beck

Amazing! Two beautiful, talented quilters who inspired and motivated everyone viewing the exhibit in Sisters, Or. So gracious and sharing with their advice and encouragement. The quilts are marvelous and I feel very fortunate to have seen them.

Posted: Thursday, July 11, 2013
Article comment by: Jo Nigro

What a delightful piece about a truly delightful person. Betty Anne is an inspiration and I can attest to her loving patience and compassion. Great to see you, Betty Anne!

Posted: Thursday, July 11, 2013
Article comment by: John Johnson

What a lovely story of courage and commitment by Claire the quilter.

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