Photo by Paul Aho
Paducah, KY, November 2, 2020—Paducah Quilt Murals Inc (PQMI) is proud to announce the unveiling of the second panel of the Quilt City USA® mural series.
The quilt “…and Our Flag was Still There!” created by Melinda Bula from El Dorado Hills, California, and painted by Stefanie Graves, Cowango Studios in Paducah, will be unveiled on Veterans Day, November 11, 2020, at 11 am at the floodwall adjacent to the Schroeder Expo Center and Carroll Convention Center at 415 Park Street.
A Quilt Selection Committee headed by Bonnie Browning, American Quilters Society (AQS) Executive Show Director, chose this iconic quilt as the second mural in the series for its historical provenance. “From the early days, quiltmakers have included the American flag in their needlework,” said Browning. “Melinda Bula made this quilt when her only son became a United States Marine. She dedicated it to all military families who have raised sons and daughters who sacrifice to keep us free.”
A world-renowned quilt artist and instructor, Bula designed her quilt to look like a painting. Graves’ task was to paint the mural to look like a quilt. As is the case with most quilts, every color change is another piece of fabric. However, Bula used a sophisticated process known as thread painting to blend the colors. Graves invested more than 720 hours recreating this intricate quilting style—using paint to replicate the fabric, stitches and thread.
Patriotism is the common thread that defines the impact of this stunning quilt. “Ten years ago, I was desperate to make a quilt that would help me through the fear of my son becoming a United States Marine in a time of war. I prayed over every piece of fabric I cut and every thread I stitched that my son would be safe,” said Bula. “Dealing with that fear and learning to let them go…that is how you learn to be a patriot.”
For Graves, it evoked a reflection on the past. “Looking at it and what it symbolizes, it makes me think of the Revolutionary War, the Civil War…and now COVID, “ said Graves. “Though the flag in the quilt is under duress, it represents the battles we had in the past and says that we can rise above them. A patriot isn’t without struggle, but because of these struggles we appreciate the freedom that we have today.”
“…and Our Flag Was Still There” continues to touch viewers on individual personal levels. “The hidden blessing is that this quilt connected me to so many other American’s that have prayed that same prayer. Now this quilt is in the National Quilt Museum and painted on the wall of a city I truly love…Paducah. I’m so grateful,” said Bula.
M&M Decorating will install and weather seal the mural prior to the Veterans Day premier. The mural is painted on panels of Pellon, a lightweight interfacing used for stabilization of quilting projects provided by Hancock’s of Paducah.
Watch the unveiling below.