Jewel Box Quilters Guild Exhibition premieres at Grinnell College Museum of Art

GRINNELL, Iowa – On Tuesday, June 28, the Grinnell College Museum of Art(GCMoA) will open the Jewel Box Quilters Guild Exhibition, which will run until Saturday, August 27. This exhibition will feature quilts of all sizes, techniques, colors, and patterns, designed and quilted by local guild members. The exhibition will include 87 quilts, ranging from king-sized bed quilts to small wall hangings and pillows. Thirty-two members of the guild have submitted work. This will be the group’s first exhibition since a pattern has been set for all of us by the pandemic: isolation, stasis, discovery, emergence, and renewal.  

Museum Director Susan Baley believes this is a perfect time for a quilt exhibition. “For most of us, quilts signify comfort, and we could all use some comfort after dealing with a global pandemic for two years,” she says. “The community fostered by quilters is a welcome contrast to the necessary isolation many people have experienced since 2020. Although quilting bees are largely a thing of the past, quilters still collaborate and create a sense of belonging.” 

Guild members were given three challenges for this exhibition: 

President’s Challenge, Jennifer Palmer, Book Quilt

“I love to read more than I love to create quilts, and so I thought that a challenge for the guild members would be to create a quilt that reflects a favorite book. There were no restrictions on the type of book; fiction, travel, cookbooks, poetry, etc. I am excited to see what books have inspired the quilts in this challenge.” 

Past President, Karen Clark, WIP Challenge

“WIP stands for Work in Progress. During the pandemic, while we were forced to stay home, many of us kept our sewing machines humming. We were either making face masks or we were working on projects we had on hand. In my mind, a project is ‘in progress’ if I have fabric and/or pattern on hand and an idea in mind. It could also mean I have started something, set it aside, and picked it up to work on once again. It could also be something I have been working on continually over a period of time. My challenge is to finish a WIP.”

Tear and Share Challenge

The Jewel Box Quilters Guild also held a Tear and Share activity, where each person started with a yard of fabric. That yard is torn in half, and one piece is kept, and the other half passed to another person. Members continued to Tear and Share until each person had seven fabrics ranging in size from ½ yard to a small square. The challenge was to make something quilted with those fabrics. The project can be any shape or size but must include all seven fabrics and be quilted in three layers. 

Five other categories will be judged by local jurors. Ribbons will be awarded at 3 p.m. on Celebration Day, July 9.  Ribbon medallions were made by Karen Cochran and Susie Kinney and embroidered by Sherry Folks.

As part of the exhibition, the guild will raffle Twisted Ribbons, a 115″x 101″ quilt that would fit a queen- or king-sized bed. Guild members pieced the quilt, which is based on a design by Elsie Campbell, and Julie Fisher machine quilted it. Raffle tickets are available through the Jewel Box Quilters Guild. Please send inquiries to

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Information for Visitors

Grinnell College Museum of Art, Bucksbaum Center for the Arts, 1108 Park St., Grinnell. Information about the exhibition and programming available at: or call 641-269-4660. 

The museum is open to the public and always free. All visitors should use the north (campus-facing) doors to the Bucksbaum Center for the Arts, and the museum guard will let you in. At this time, masks are optional; check the campus activity levelfor up-to-date guidance. Minors under age 18 must be accompanied by an adult. 

Grinnell College welcomes the participation of people with disabilities. Information about parking and accessibility is available on the college website: Accommodation requests may be made to Conference Operations at 641-269-3235 or

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