News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Exhibit honors women’s suffrage

A new quilt exhibit at Beacham’s Clock Co. is celebrating a century of women’s rights.

In the fall of 2019, East of the Cascades Quilt Guild (EOCQ), a Sisters-based quilt guild, was taking theme ideas and voting on which one they wanted to do for a special exhibit in the 2020 Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show (SOQS). The guild had a tie between celebrating 100 Years of Women’s Suffrage and My Kind of Town, the theme for the 2020 SOQS. (Five Central Oregon guilds had a special exhibit of 12 quilts in the 2020 SOQS virtual show on July 11.)

Sisters resident and guild member Susan Cobb said, “We opted to do both, and I was asked to coordinate the 100 Years of Women’s Suffrage exhibit.”

The women’s suffrage movement was a decades-long fight to win the right to vote for women in the United States. (See sidebar.)

She added, “The idea for this special exhibit began because we wanted to honor the centennial anniversary of the 19th Amendment. In a planning meeting of the EOCQ guild, we decided, due to the importance of the topic, that we would open this special exhibit up to include quilters from the various guilds in Central Oregon. We had six guilds sign up.”

Cobb and other guild members yearned to have a special exhibit on the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment date of August 18.

Ed and Kathi Beacham, owners of Beacham Clock Co. in Sisters, were happy to be of assistance and 14 quilts will be displayed beginning Saturday, August 15.

“A lot of research went into each one. And it was a lot of education,” Cobb explained. “When I was in high school and college there wasn’t any information on women’s history. I was really shocked to learn certain things.”

Cobb will have two quilts on display: “Equality” and “Liberty.”

She noted, “What an interesting journey it was learning this history that we didn’t know anything about. It was really fascinating, depressing, enlightening, and a little frightening.”

Catherine Anderson, a member of Mount Bachelor Quilters Guild, is honored to be a part of the exhibit. Around the border of her quilt “Equality” is written, “If not now when?”

Anderson told The Nugget, “I am not new to the women’s movement. I was part of one of many groups that worked on passage of the ERA.”

“The crowd of women in the middle of my quilt depicts all women but if you look carefully there is associate Justice Ruth Ginsburg, Michelle Obama, Elizabeth Warren, Hilary Clinton, and Gloria Steinem. The ribbons in the center are the suffragists colors. They are twisted together to show past, present, future.”

A member of EOCQ, Modern Quilt Guild and Studio Art Quilters Association (SAQA), Cece Montgomery’s Quilt “The Real Story of Women’s Suffrage” is a picture quilt of many of the early women who fought for the right to vote in national elections.

“I am an old woman’s libber and have a passion for women’s rights,” she said. “When I heard about this exhibit, I wanted to be a part of it as I already had an idea what kind of quilt I would make.”

All the quilts displayed in Beacham Clock Co. are 45 by 45 inches in celebration of the 45th SOQS. The quilts all have the colors purple, white, and gold. (The Congressional Union/National Women’s Party used gold as “the torch that guides our purpose, pure, and unswerving,” white reflects “quality and purpose” and purple denotes “loyalty.”)

Viewers can vote on the quilts for “People’s Choice” that Saturday, the following Monday (the shop is closed Sunday and Wednesday) and on the morning of Tuesday, August 18. The hours are 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. The quilts will be removed at 4 p.m. on Saturday, August 22.

At noon, on August 18, the doors to Beacham’s will be open so those inside and out may hear the clocks all chiming in unison. Around 12:15 p.m., Cobb and other guild members will usher those interested to join them at the back of Beacham’s Clock Co. on the lawn where chairs will be placed six feet apart for an audience of 20. An award will be presented to the “People’s Choice.”

Carol Loesche of The League of Women Voters of Deschutes County, will speak at the event. Arlene Burns, the third term Mayor of Mosier and the Democrat candidate for District 59 State House seat will make an appearance.

The exhibit will be COVID-19 rules and regulations compliant during the event: no more the 10 people in the building, including the three to four who work there, at any one time. Masks mandatory and six-feet physical distancing at all times. If the rules become stricter between now and then, Cobb will have to delay the event to a later date.

Cobb said, “I would like to thank Ed and Kathi Beacham for showing the quilts in their establishment and for the use of their back lawn for the event. I would also like to thank Jean Wells-Keenan and Valori Wells for the use of chairs from Stichin’ Post for the event.”

The Black Butte Ranch Lodge will be hosting a month-long special exhibit in November. There will be 15 Women’s Suffrage quilts on display.


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