I had the honor of meeting Viola Colombe at this year’s Quilt Expo in Madison, WI. Viola’s quilts were part of a special exhibit, featuring her stunning Lone Star design, many of them circular in shape. During the 3-day event, I didn’t have time to attend seminars by other teachers. Now, I can watch Viola’s seminar and several others online at my convenience—so can you!
Viola, a resident of Mission, SD, shows over 60 quilts in this online seminar! From simple to elaborate, these quilts tell remarkable stories.
She chose an 8-pointed star as her signature quilt design, as it is a traditional quilt of the Lakota people. The star was prevalent on the buffalo hides used for winter counts, pictorial calendars on which tribal events were recorded. Viola has carried on this tradition, using fabric to tell the stories.
Lakota women have been crafting star quilts ever since the missionaries traveled to South Dakota and taught the women how to quilt. Viola says, Most of the women here, when they are in need of money, sew a Lone Star and find someone to sell it to. They give Lone Star quilts away now at memorials, weddings, or any type of honoring.
Watch online with close-up detail!
Recorded by the professionals at Wisconsin Public TV, Viola’s seminar is fascinating to watch. The cost for this hour-long presentation is the same as if you’d signed up for the class at Quilt Expo, but the benefit is that you can watch it over and over again.
Lone Star quilts are not the easiest quilts to piece. Viola has mastered the technique. According to Viola, The Heart of the Hills Quilters Guild asked her to be a featured Indian quilter one year, but they were only interested in “star” quilts. I hurried and made a star quilt and for some reason making stars came very naturally for me. I’ve been making stars ever since.
Viola is a celebrated quilt artist, and she was one of the Bush Foundation recipients. (The Bush Foundation, established by 3M executive Archibald Bush and his wife Edyth, has given grants to artists since 1976. Only three recipients of this fellowship have received it for work in textiles, including Viola Colombe.)
More Streaming Video Seminars Online!
Throughout the next months, I’ll be showcasing the other featured quilt instructors. If you’d like to see other inspiring classes, click here for more streaming video classes.