The following are a selection of quilts and other handmade artworks that were found in the home and workshop of Sally Snow Eklund in Assonet, Massachusetts. Any family members and friends interested in particular pieces, please drop a line.
Born in April 1937, Sarah “Sally“ West grew up outside of Boston, Massachusetts. In the early 1960s, she and her first husband moved to the southeastern part of the state where they raised three children. An accomplished artist who created hundreds of quilts and original artworks in the textile medium, she was first known as Sally Snow in her professional life.
After remarrying in the 1980s, Sally Eklund continued living and working in New England with her second husband and life companion, relocating to the Caribbean permanently in the 1990s. Throughout her life, she enjoyed spending time with family, reading, cooking, gardening, singing, and playing folk songs on the auto harp. She also was a faithful caretaker of a series of beloved dogs.
As friends and family are scattered across the far ends of the world, an online selection of photos from the life of Sally Eklund has been compiled below in lieu of a formal obituary or service. And in the joyful, celebratory spirit of a New Orleans-style funeral, a favorite song from The Carter Family, featuring “Mother” Maybelle Carter, is included below.
To a full life lead with energy, passion, and, as stated in a final conversation, “without regret.”
A gallery of photos from the life of Sally Eklund, 1937-2015
Click photos above to enlarge images.
Click any image below to view slideshow.
A new batch of quilts by Sally Eklund is in the process of being added to SallysQuilts.com. Here are the first two:
One year in the late-1970s, Sally Eklund was shuttling back and forth between her residence near Boston and a series of meetings held at a local university in southeastern Massachusetts. This particular year the colors of the late October-early November foliage lining Route 140, the New England highway she used each way, were so brilliant and evocative that Eklund was inspired to create an original quilt entitled “Indian Summer.”*
The meetings were follow-up discussions concerning a music and crafts show, the Eisteddfod, held at UMass Dartmouth (then known as Southeastern Massachusetts University) each October between 1972 and 1996. Eklund and her husband Karl were actively involved, she selling hand-crafted quilts, clothing, and food items (as well as heading a crafts committee that year) and he as a musical performer at a festival that drew traditional musicians from across the country and around the world.
Coincidently, that summer Sally Eklund had been experimenting with Procion dye, a type of cold reactive dye chosen because it does not use the same harsh chemicals and heavy metals typically employed by alternatives. This makes it is easier to use at home than other dyes (in addition to being more environmentally friendly). Procion dyes are also known for retaining their color and are unique because they work best with natural fibers like cotton, wool, and silk.
As part of the artistic process, Eklund dyed pieces of fabric, some solids and some irregulars. This allowed her to create a variety of colors using a number of different techniques. She explained:
“this enables you to work with the shapes and the colors, to see how they play against each other. For example, you place red next to green and yellow and the look is completely transformed if the same color is adjacent to blue and orange.”
Please note, since the last post, approximately 30 new quilts have been added to the galleries located in the upper left-hand corner, as well as one new category, Clothing and Accessories.
*For those unfamiliar with the term “Indian summer,” its etymology is disputed and the meaning can vary depending on location in the world or even within the United States. For a resident of New England, the term is generally agreed to refer to a period of unexpected warm, dry weather that occurs around late-September to the middle of November.
Welcome to Sally’s Quilts, a website for sharing a selection of the quilted artwork of Sally Eklund, a quilter and textile artist who has been creating original works of textile-based art in New England and the Caribbean for more than 40 years.
Sally Eklund’s quilted creations are organized in six non-exclusive categories: Animals, Geometric, Man-made, Nature, Plants, and Clothing & Accessories. One example of each is found in today’s post, as well as in the individual photo galleries arranged by subject in the upper left-hand corner of the browser page.
A Place To Be Inspired
This site is a place where quilters and textile artists can come for ideas and examples. The artist, who went by Sally Snow and Sally-Snow Eklund earlier in her professional career, used a variety of materials, techniques, and inspirations over the course of producing hundreds of original textile creations from the 1970s to the 2010s.
How To Start: What Are the Typical Steps Needed To Create a Quilt or Article of Clothing?
The process of creating a quilt or any type of quilted garment or bag often includes: selecting or creating a pattern, selecting and/or dyeing the fabric, and then, depending on the type of quilt, either sewing the individual panels, which are then stitched together to create the quilt, or directly sewing the quilt or quilted piece of clothing (e.g. jacket, vest, or skirt).
Many first-time quilters find attending a group class is a good place to start, both for learning new skills and for developing friendships and useful contacts in the greater quilting community. The latter is especially helpful for sourcing the necessary materials and equipment at the best prices available.
Alternatively, these days many excellent DIY and how-to publications including magazines, books, and online resources can help to get a newbie pointed in the right direction. A quick search on the Web will yield plenty of results. A modern-day book of patterns (which often include ample color pictures, detailed step-by-step instructions, and sometimes even the patterns on CD or at an associated website–one example is the 2012 publication from Moya’s Workshop, Purses, Bags & Totes) will launch a budding quilter on the right track.
And here’s one more piece done in recent years dedicated to the Scandinavian heritage of Eklund’s husband.