LOUIS EUBANKCelebration 2011: Robert and Ardis James inducted into the Quilters Hall of Fame

It’s mid-July and once again it is time to trek down to Marion, Indiana for the annual celebration for the latest inductees into the Quilters Hall of Fame.

I email my side-kick Robin who summers with husband Jim on their Grant County farm to arrange our annual reunion. The news isn’t the best. In April a tornado went through downing the chicken coop, silo and fences. While the farmhouse roof is being replaced all second floor furnishing sit in a pod. Robin emails me in capital letters, “NO HARM DONE TO THE QUILTS!” What a relief!
This years inductees into the Quilters Hall of Fame are Robert and Ardis James. You may recall this special couple from the February 25, 2011 ATF article on the International Quilt Study Center and Museum which was established at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln in 1997 with their donation of nearly 1000 quilts from their personal collection.

The James collection encompasses antique quilts made by women unknown of the 18th century to renowned quilt artists of the 21st century. Their collection includes traditional regional American quilts such as those from the Midwest Amish and Mennonite communities and quilts from around the world. The collection is recognized as one of “the 100 top treasures” in the United States by Art and Antique Magazine and designated as an official project of the “Save America’s Treasures” program.

Sadly Ardis James the fabriholic daughter of a quilter and a quilter herself passed away on July 7, 2011. Her passion for quilts and generous spirit lives on in those who carry out her work.

I was not present when Robert was inducted into the Hall of Fame. I can only imagine it as a bittersweet moment. According to Quilters Hall of Fame board member Joyce Hostetler it was a wonderful induction ceremony. Accompanied by son Ralph and his wife, the entire family spent the entire weekend enjoying the quilt exhibits, lectures, live auction and special dinner.

At the Celebration of Life gathering Patricia Cox Crews, the Willa Cather professor of textiles at the university and the quilt center’s director, showed slides of five quilts from the James collection. She chose the particular quilts based on the humorous comments Ardis wrote when they were cataloged which she shared with the audience to their delight.

I wish I had met Ardis, but it was not to be. I imagine she is in heaven looking down on the earth, one huge piece of patchwork, the ultimate masterpiece.
I would like to give a special “shout out” to the young man wearing a blue “Home Sweet Waynedale” T-shirt at the First Presbyterian Church ice cream social during 3RF. He introduced me to his mother and brother all readers of The Waynedale News. It’s nice to see Waynedale pride out and about and to meet loyal readers.

Lois Eubank restores quilts at her studio in downtown Fort Wayne. She can be reached at 260-515-9446.

Lois Levihn

She is the author of the "Around the Frame" quilting column. She is a graduate of Wayne HS. Quilts have always been important to her, she loves the stories surrounding them, the techniques used in making them, & restoring them. > Read Full Biography > More Articles Written By This Writer