As I mentioned in an earlier post, Bill and I have been working on three bed quilts for a client on the Isle of Man. It’s the first time we’ll have our quilts on the Isle of Man and it’s gotten me thinking of other places in the world that our quilts now reside. Most of the time when we get an order, we never get to meet the client. There are contracts sent back and forth and checks or international wire transfers that magically arrive. Amazingly the husband of the client on the Isle of Man who ordered these quilts came to Chicago this week on a business trip and wanted to come to the studio to meet us and pick up the quilts himself. He came yesterday to the studio and after we chatted a bit and showed him his quilts, we packed them up and off he went with them. The three photos in this post are the three quilts he’ll be taking with him to the Isle of Man.
That’s a relief because there’s no small amount of worry about once we send the quilts whether they will actually end up in the recipient’s hands. Every time I see a truck on fire or a train derailed, I always think about whether or not we have any quilts in transit. If so, I can’t help but think, “Oh I hope none of our quilts is on there.” Once we sent three quilts to the American Folk Art Museum in New York City and the UPS driver delivered them to the wrong address. The residents of that address just decided that they’d just keep $3,600 worth of quilts that they didn’t pay for and leave the Folk Art museum high and dry. Although UPS’ insurance reimbursed us for the entire amount, I was mostly bummed that those beautiful quilts were going to reside in the home of such dishonest creeps. And don’t get me going on why UPS wouldn’t go back to that address and asked for the package back once they realized their mistake. Happily, that is the only time we have had a shipment of quilts go astray.
Often we get lovely photos or emails of the quilt in its new home and notes about how pleased the client was to finally get the quilts. One thoughtful woman in Germany sent us pictures of her young grandson going to the local post office to pick up the package, which was quite a special outing it seemed. Then there were pictures of the quilt in the home. It was great to see how pleased the clients looked standing in front of our work.
Nothing will ever beat the delivery circumstances of a couple from Michigan who were visiting their friends in Oak Park many years ago and asked if they could meet with us to see our quilts. They came and were absolutely lovely. They ended up commissioning two quilts. At the time we had an 8-month-long waiting list. However, we found out from their friends that the husband had cancer and had surpassed the time he had been expected to live. We bumped them to the front of the line and were able to get them the quilts before he died. When he died, I wrote the widow a note telling her how touched I was that with all they were dealing with, they took the time to order a quilt from us. She wrote back and told me how much pleasure she had received from having the quilts and how she cherished the memory of the day they came to our studio. Earlier this year the widow emailed me because she heard that I had been sick. She wanted to tell me again how much she still loved her quilts and that she was thinking of me.
As we sewed on the labels for these quilts headed for the Isle of Man, I was grateful once again to have these connections with our clients in homes near and far. I’ll be dreaming about whether or not the client will be pleased with them, about how the quilts look on the beds and how they’ll become part of the lives of the clients. No matter how far away those quilts go, I’ll always feel that a part of us goes with them.