Thursday, April 18, 2019

Remembering Gwen Marston

As so many of you are learning in the last day or so, the quilt world has lost an Icon and my personal Hero.
Gwen Joy Marston - passed away Wednesday, April 17th in her beloved Beaver Island home where she lived so fully.
She was warm, generous, funny and genuine.   To know her, was to love her.
She taught us how to honor the quilters that came before us. 
To say that she influenced many quilters in an understatement.  She gently encouraged an entire generation of quilt makers to follow their hearts and make joyful quilts.
 She had  style all her own and she owned it.
I met Gwen in 1995 at my first BIQR Retreat.  She was a tour de force in my quilting journey.  Something I spoke to her about many times.  Something I hope she knows I will forever be grateful for.
We had a lot of laughs and exchanged notes and cards over the years.  Good memories, memories that will have to serve me the rest of my days. 
Photo with Jill and Susan, all having a good laugh on my behalf :)

Luckily we have a legacy of books to help us keep her alive in our lives and work.  I need to complete my Gwen Marston Library.
As I wrote to her son, Matthew today, There is a new breeze through the trees and tonight there will be another star in the sky.
God Bless you Gwen.  You will be missed more than you know by more than you can imagine.
xo

39 comments:

Helen said...

Wonderful tribute to a remarkable woman. I loved taking her classes and hearing her lectures, but my favorite memory of Gwen is dancing with her on one of Doreen Speckman’s cruises. She was so much fun!!

audrey said...

Oh my goodness, this makes me so sad. Gwen was a blaze of inspiration to so very many of us! You are so lucky to have had the time you had with her. The quilting world has lost a incredibly wonderful spark with her passing.

Karen said...

You were fortunate to have met Gwen in person and to have experienced her teaching and to have her as a friend. She taught you well.

Sue said...

Beautiful tribute Barb to an obvious icon of her time.

Lori said...

She definitely was a big influence on many! I see you taking up the Gwen banner and passing it along to the next generation.

Quilteuse Forever said...

This woman changed the life of many quilters, we will continue to quilt with joy ans liberty

Lin McQ said...

Barb, that was such a beautiful and touching tribute to Gwen. She would be just as proud to call you her friend as you are of her.

rondiquilts said...

Sad day. What a nice tribute to your friend. I hope her family knows how precious she was to the quilting world. Her books are some of my most valuable possessions.
Rondi

Shirl S said...

I am so sorry for this loss to the quilting world, but also for your personal loss of friendship. Her legacy lives on in her quilts and in the quilts of the people she has inspired.

I loved the hand-quilting columns she wrote with Joe Cunnigham in Patchwork Quilting magazine. I believe they made me a better hand quilter.

Quilting Babcia said...

Sadly I never had a chance to meet her in person or take one of her classes, but have a small collection of her earlier books. She was an inspiration to more than one generation of quilters and her influence will live on in their work.

deb oldenburg said...

this is soooo sad. loved her her quilts and all she offered in the quilt world....sending condolences to her family.

dianequilts said...

Gwen has been an inspiration to so many of us and I have no doubt her work will continue to inspire many for years to come. I’m sorry you’ve lost a friend as well. Tuck those good memories in your heart and keep them close. She’s be with you in your stitches. Hugs.

beth s said...

The quilting world lost an amazing lady! She was my quilting hero.

Kyle said...

Thank you for sharing your lovely tribute and delightful memories of Gwen.

Sharon said...

What a beautiful tribute to an amazing lady. She was definitely a light in the world and an inspiration to so many of us. My heart is hurting today. But I'm so grateful that I got to not only meet and get to know Gwen, but also to learn from her. Her classes were always life-changing events for me, and I will honor her memory by continuing to create liberated quilts a la Gwen. I know her star in the sky will be that wonky one!

julieQ said...

I exchanged some emails with her about one of her books...she was gracious and kind...I miss her; an empty spot in my heart. Thank you for an eloquent tribute for her.

Janet said...

What a lovely post Barb! Thanks you for sharing your memories with us.

Tammy said...

So very sad to hear this news. I'm grateful that I had the opportunity to spend a couple days with her at a workshop. She was so kind, patient and generous. I learned so much from her. Peace to her and her family.

Janet O. said...

You have written a beautiful tribute here, and are well qualified to do so.
I never met her and my introduction to her work was through your blog.
The photos of the two of you together exude joy!

Phyllis said...

It was a shock when I heard it yesterday. I have a few of her books, but have never had the privilege to meet her in person. However a friend of mine, Lucy, did attend one her retreats once and so often told me about her experiences with Gwen and passed on some of her wise words, on life and quilting and even second hand they have certainly influenced me. You are lucky to have experienced her and her wisdom first hand. This is a great loss to our quilting community and I can imagine a greater personal loss to you. She lives on in her quilts , her books and those she inspired.

CecileD said...

I'm sorry for this cruel loss... We think a friend will never disappeared and yet.....
Gwen fortunately let us her books, her wonderful quilts and for you, lots of joyful and precious memories.
Good luck dear Barb and thank you for these beautiful photos and tribute.
Sending a million of hugs.

Wendy Caton Reed said...

I am so sorry for your loss Barb. I know how close you were. There is a giant hole in the quilting world without her.

Barbara said...

Oh, Barb, how very sad to hear about Gwen. Your tribute to her is lovely. How wonderful it is that her work will live on as you continue to teach Gwen's style in your workshops :)

Pinkadot Quilts said...

I was so sad to hear the news. We were very lucky to have her come to our guild, she was an amazing person!

Julierose said...

Wonderful tribute, Barb, to a very special person. I never took a class with her, but I own two of her books
and re-read them often. I used her idea for a Liberated baskets quilt to donate for auction at my Mom's Nursing Home to benefit the Arts and Crafts dept that my Mom loved...sad to lose such a gifted quilter....
So sorry for your loss...
hugs, Julierose

Sandy said...

Barb - thank you - for letting us know about the passing of our beautiful Gwen Marston, and for sharing your lovely tribute. As with so many others, Gwen was a huge inspiration to me, as I found her ideas and attitude around quilting so... well, liberating! My very first workshop as a new-ish quilter was with Gwen, which was a total blast, and my very first Log Cabin quilt was "liberated"! I do hope others, such as you, will take up the Gwen banner as Lori put it, to teach and encourage her methods. But no one could ever truly replace Gwen herself. Her personality and sense of humor, and kindness. We were lucky to have her twice at our guild, and I took her workshop both times. I fantasized about going to Beaver Island, but it was too far of a reach for me. You are fortunate to have been a part of her life. Lastly, I am so sorry for your loss, of your dear friend. Hugs (and tears), Sandy

O'Quilts said...

great post She was my heroine too

liz said...

Thank you for sharing, I so enjoyed her quilts
will miss her

Sue said...

What wonderful memories you have Barb of such a lovely lady. We were lucky enough to have her come to New Zealand to teach. I loved the class I took with her....so out of my comfort zone, and I have the 2 little quilts I made hanging on my sewing room wall. How lovely it was that her family took her back to Beaver Island one last time. RIP Gwen.

Barbara Black said...

What a lovely tribute to your friend. She was a true legend who didn’t take herself too seriously. She will be missed.

Nancy said...

A lovely tribute to a legendary quiltmaker. I'm glad you posted the photo of the book stack- she was prolific in both quiltmaking and publishing.

Marge said...

I thought of you immediately when I heard the news. You are carrying on Gwen's legacy as you create your own. I have been so influenced by her as I treasure her books. What a heartfelt tribute!

Angie said...

Thank you for the lovely tribute to Gwen! She has been an inspiration to me on my quilting journey and her light will be sorely missed.

MJinMichigan said...

I was so sad when I heard the news. I first met Gwen in 1981 at the Whaley Historical House in Flint, Michigan. Gwen and Joe Cunningham were hosting an exhibit of Mary Schafer quilts. Over the next several years I hired them to teach many classes in my home and for the Metro Detroit Quilt Guild. I enjoyed watching their quilting careers take off and attended the Beaver Island Quilt Retreat many times. Gwen was a true inspiration and will be sorely missed.

Mego said...

Perfect. To know her was to love her.

Cynthia@wabi-sabi-quilts said...

Thank you for sharing this, Barb. A lovely tribute to a great great quilter/teacher. You are so much like her!

Thimbleanna said...

Awww, what a nice post Barb. Wasn't she beautiful? The pic with her and Jill in it makes me sad ;-(. I haven't told my mom yet. She and Gwen were of the same generation and it was fun to watch them pour over Gwen's library -- they had so many of the same quirky books in their collections -- books only those girls of their generation could bond over. We need a Gwen quilt-a-long!

OPQuilt said...

I've met her only once (in a class) but her influence has affected my quilt-making and the quilt world forever. I was so sad to hear about her death, and will keep her memory alive through the quilts I make and her books I read. Thank you for this wonderful post; so happy that you knew her personally.

Susan said...

I did not know Gwen had passed till today, almost a year later. I never met her, but I was an avid reader of her books about Mary Schafer. It is because of Gwen that the world knew of Mary. Gwen and Mary had become fast friends back in 1977, when Mary phoned up Gwen after Gwen had given a talk to a women's group at the University of Michigan. Gwen visited Mary shortly afterward and the rest was history. Gwen's biography of Mary also reveals a great deal about Gwen, and their enduring friendship. I never got to meet those ladies, and my life is poorer for it, but richer for Gwen's writing.