Saturday, December 03, 2011

Inconceivable

We all make quilts. We understand all too well how much love, devotion and time go into the process. And undoubtedly, we are very much attached to the end creation when we are finished. If we put a price on the number of hours alone, they go into the thousands of dollars, easily, and that does not include any value for the emotional attachment.

Yesterday, while still on that euphoric high of getting my next show quilt off of my frame, I was sent a link to a Missing Quilts website. When quilts go missing, they can be posted here. Some have been lost in the mailing process, some are taken from people's homes, and others never return from of all places - quilt shows. This website is horrifying, almost like perusing the obituary section of a newspaper of a small town in which you have lived all of your life. Though nothing of mine is in it, you cannot help but feel attached to the feelings of loss.

When I first went to the Missing Quilts website, I expected to find domestic-type quilts, like the ones we all have on our beds and around our homes. It was shocking to see this as the newest missing quilt.
This quilt went missing from the IQF at Houston of all places. Like driving past a horrible car accident, I couldn't help myself. I had to scroll through more pages of this website. What other masterpieces have sadly been taken from their owners? Hoping not to find any more, I was again disappointed when this quilt showed up a few pages in.
Kaaterskill went missing in the mail. Some of you may remember it because it was on the cover of Quilter's Newsletter this past summer. It is all hand quilted.

As a quilter that frequently sends quilts back to clients, I hate to read about quilts that go missing in the US mail or any other mailing service. It would devistate me to hear that a quilt I touched and quilted would never be returned home. Furthermore, I send off my own creations to quilt shows several times a year. I know better than anybody the number of hours involved in making each one. I don't think I will ever be so casual about sending my quilts off again. I am rather nervous now, in fact. Having an appraisal only guarantees you a cash settlement if one goes missing. It cannot replace the artwork.

So when you go to a quilt show, keep your eyes on things and report any suspicious activity. Mail your quilts properly labeled in case the box gets opened enroute. Never declare the box as a "quilt". Call it "Bedding" instead. Nobody would consider taking a comforter. I may even go to the extent of using several different local post offices rather than always using the same one where people know what I do. Insure your packages, and always have a delivery confirmation number. You should also send it signature required. These things all increase the cost of sending the quilt, but make recovering it or some of its value better.

I must admit, I have had one thing go missing from the mail. I made it for a holiday swap I hosted 2 years ago. It was mailed to Europe, and never made it to its destination. Because the mailing was international, there was no reasonably priced tracking available. This makes me wonder what international quilt makers do that send things to the US. Though this runner has a small value, it was more the time involved and thefact that I had to remake it. I designed this, bought the fabrics, hand appliqued the trees, and then watched daily as it did not arrive. So in conclusion, there is not much more to say. Be vigilint when mailing quilts. Be sure that you are sending quilts or taking quilts to shows that you are confident will have sufficient security. Get your show quilts appraised, and keep them insured.

Perhaps tomorrow, when the shock of this wears off a bit, I will show some pictures of my quilt. Today, I am happier knowing it is safely hidden away in my basement.

What can you do? Please, please post a link and post about the missing quilts. Perhaps somebody out there has seen or has knowledge of the whereabouts of these missing quilts. The website is www.lostquilt.com.

3 comments:

Tami @ Lemon Tree Tales said...

I think that sometimes when you mail something internationally ... if it's truly valuable then shipping via one of the professional shipping companies (DHL, UPS or FedEx) is perhaps a safer route than the post office. Of course it's more expensive.

Of course things still go missing. I don't think that the second peacock center that I made for one of our round robins ever made it to Portugal that time. I wonder where all these things end up?

LynCC said...

I know - it's stunning and heartbreaking to see the missing notices.

Maria said...

Thanks for helping to spread the news about this missing quilt! I hope many of your followers will start following the Lost Quilt Come Home we page, too! I have a Facebook page for it now, too. Blessings, Maria, http://lostquilt.com