This represents the largest amount of money raised by the AAQI at one time ever. We beat last year by $13,000. Most importantly, this means more money for research. Our Scientific Advisory Board is considering three grant applications right now for funding.
To all those who came by Row S and purchased quilts, we thank you! To all the quiltmakers who stitched those quilts and gave them so that they could fight this horrible disease, we thank you! To Karey Bresenhan and John Flynn who made our mega booth possible, we thank you. To everyone who supports our efforts, we thank you!
Friends, it was something to behold!
We offered 2,185 quilts for sale. In case you’re curious that’s approximately 230 pounds of quiltlets, shipped to Houston in three 50-gallon Rubbermaid trash cans. (They’re sturdy as the dickens, they have wheels so we can roll them around, and we can drill holes in the lids/rims to secure them with “zip-ties.” Plus, the AAQI already owned two, leftovers from the first traveling exhibit. (Who knows someone at Rubbermaid? We need at least three for next year. It sure would be nice to have them donated!)
“Alzheimer’s Illustrated: From Heartbreak to Hope”
Careful readers will note that part of our traveling exhibit made it to Houston. (See picture above.) We had an extra wall and decided to share the first 20 feet of the 180 foot long exhibit. Several people found names of those they have lost to Alzheimer’s on a Name Quilt.
Six of the eight AAQI board members (from Michigan, Illinois, Florida, and Texas) were at the show. Most of us only get to see each other at Festival and we do so enjoy each others company. We have monthly meetings on the phone, but it’s so sweet to spend time together in person.
We were joined by dozens of volunteers who helped us sell quilts. Seeing old friends and making new ones is as sweet as it gets. And yes, we do get silly from time to time. Here’s a stop action video of us setting up the booth Saturday morning. (To safeguard your quilts at night, we take them all off the walls at night and store them in a secret and secure location. The next morning we put up different quilts.)
The walls and postal totes (for self-serve shopping) hold about 500 Priority: Alzheimer’s Quilts.
The rest are stored in stacking bins donated by Starplast USA in a work area behind the back wall. Quilts are grouped by theme. When a customer asks for a quilt with an egg plant on it, our crack sales team goes to the vegetable bin. (Not kidding.)
The AAQI has been blessed with more than 12,500 quilt donations since we started. To be able to see 2,000 of them displayed in our booth over the course of five days was breathtaking. The artistry and creativity of our quilters is truly exceptional. Knowing that each stitch in every quilt was made in support of a cure for Alzheimer’s is overwhelming.
Finding New Homes
People who buy our quilts aren’t just shopping. As one buyer said, “This isn’t shopping. It’s a duty.”
They are affirming the journey of those whose lives have been touched by Alzheimer’s. They are validating the experiences we all share with others on that journey. They are reaching out to soul mates and rescuing each other with quilted art.
We saw it over and over. People look until they see a connection, until they see a quilt that speaks to them. It could be the quilt, but just as often they are moved by the words written by the quiltmaker. Sometimes the connection hits like a lightning bolt, other times it is only after meticulous searching. But when quilt and buyer come together it is a beautiful thing.
We’re the only venue at IQF where people cry. And we give more hugs per square foot than anybody else. When you’ve been touched by this disease and you see the work of so many who have been down that road or who are traveling that road right now, trying to make a difference, it’s hard not to become emotional. It’s OK; we’ve got tissue.
The AAQI booth is also pretty noisy. We try to clap every quilt home. And we’re not shy. We can’t be. Our work is too important. Yes, some of us could double as carnival barkers, but it’s such a thrill to be with so many of our supporters in one place, we just can’t help ourselves.
After all, look how many quilts we sold! AAQI Board Member Beth Hartford (and Quilt Registrar) keeps a straight pin tally of quilts sold. One pin per quilt. This picture was taken on Day #4.
See You Next Year
There is still much work left to be done to close out the show. Volunteers are coming in about 15 minutes to file paperwork and prepare quilts that didn’t sell for the Quilts For Sale page. We should be caught up in a few weeks.
Hopefully, we will be invited back to International Quilt Festival next year.
Meanwhile, don’t forget to bid on the Celebrity Invitational Auction Quilts.