By Mary-Justine Lanyon
When the last quilt auction was held in Blue Jay – pre-pandemic – 40 quilters created the works of art that raised money for Camp Paivika. For the auction held on Sept. 23, just 14 quilters created the 76 quilts and quilted items that raised over $10,000 for the camp that serves the needs of people with disabilities.
Prior to the auction, held in front of the library, folks walked up and down the sidewalks, admiring the quilts on display. Those quilts were not for sale but whetted the spectators’ appetites to own one for themselves.
This year’s featured quilter, Pat Duebbers, was also the auction chair. The display of her work included a gorgeous quilt dedicated to the work of artist Laurel Burch.
Also on display were vintage sewing machines, some dating back to 1901.
Auctioneers Geoff Hopper and Bob Gladwell, both Rotarians, warmed up the crowd and then set to work coaxing ever-high bids from the standing-room only crowd. Bidding wars ensued on several quilts, with two fetching high bids of $400. In addition to quilts of varying sizes, there were a couple of table runners and a fox pillow that went for $250.
Kelly Kunsek, the executive director of Camp Paivika, welcomed the crowd, telling them her camp was the first in the U.S. to cater to people with disabilities. “We have campers who have been coming for 30 to 40 years,” she said, noting the camp had just celebrated its 75th anniversary. “And there are some campers I knew when I was at the camp as a counselor.”
In addition to quilts made by members of the Willow Woods Quilt Guild and the Dogwood Quilters, there were several made and donated by members of other quilt groups. Celebrity quilter Tonee White, who lives on the mountain, was present. Her quilts drew high bids, one bidder offering $400 if White would sign the quilt for her, which she did.