Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Hellen Kelley: Another Quilting Spirit Passes On

This courtesy of Ricky Tims...
From her local newspaper:

I want to let you know about the death of one of our authors and a NE Minneapolis resident, Helen Kelley, who passed away on Sunday evening, Sept. 1, 2008. In August, Helen was inducted into the Quilting Hall of Fame as the 38th Honoree to receive this prestigious award.

Helen was known throughout the national quilting community through the column she wrote since 1983 for Quilters Newsletter Magazine, the oldest continuously published magazine dedicated to quilt-making and quilt history. In addition, she wrote seven books including three compilations of her columns, Every Quilt Tells a Story, Joy of Quilting and Loose Threads, all published by Voyageur Press, an imprint of the Quayside Publishing Group.

Helen started using a sewing machine when she was a child and taught herself to quilt as an about-to-be bride. In 1972, the Minneapolis Tribune featured a story about a family quilt she had made from quilt blocks garnered from friends around the world for her daughter's wedding. The unexpected news coverage brought Helen local interest and opportunities to teach quilting in the Minneapolis community.

In 1978 Helen was a founding member of the Minnesota Quilters and served as its founding president. Today, the Minnesota Quilters have over 1500 members. Helen taught quilting all over the world and was known not only for her skills as a teacher, artist and quilter, but as much for her warmth and humor and the joy she brought to the quilting community.

The list of honors that Helen has received throughout her career in quilting and service to her community are long and impressive:

1995 Artist of Distinction, Fiber/Metal Arts of Minnesota
1998 Minnesota Quilter of the Year
1999 Renaissance Quilt was selected by a prestigious national committee of quilt-makers and quilt historians organized by the International Quilt Association as one of the 100 best quilts of the 20th century
2000 Minnesota Textile Center's Spun Gold Award

Until her death, Helen continued to lecture, teach, and exhibit. A 30- year retrospective of her work was on exhibit in Marion, Indiana, at The Quilters Hall of Fame during her induction and her work was also on display at the Minnesota Quilters show in Rochester in June.

More information about Helen can be found on her website at:

1 comment:

LouAnne said...

How Sad. I always enjoyed her column. I'm going to her website to read more. These partings are never easy to abide.


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