San Jose Quilter Stitches Message of Peace and Hope

Mel Beach of San Jose made the "Peace of Mind" quilt directly in response to the election of Donald Trump as US President.  (Photo: Courtesy of Mel Beach)

Mel Beach created her "Peace of Mind" quilt last November, directly in response to the election of Donald Trump as U.S. President. The San Jose-based artist says the piece was specifically inspired by "the growing tensions, hostility and violence directed towards immigrants, LGBTQA people, women, minorities, and individuals with disabilities."

100Days_300x300zBeach says she wanted to come up with something that would provide a sense of hope for people. "Most Americans are compassionate, peaceful and respectful of diversity," she says. And as Beach sifted through her fabric scraps, she fixed on one of the most iconic symbols of hope: the "peace" sign.

What began with a simple, taped outline evolved into a large, rainbow-colored emblem, surrounded by floating triangles that symbolize a fractured nation.

The basic idea begins to take shape.
The basic idea begins to take shape. (Photo: Courtesy of Mel Beach)

The confetti print background is intentionally bright and cheerful. Beach filled the outline with five-inch charms she crowd-sourced from 60-plus quilters living around the country.

"In my darker stages, I had considered incorporating fear, hate and harm," Beach writes in a blog post detailing her process. "But as I found peace, I chose to focus on the positive messages which I would free motion stitch into the background."

The process photos.
The process photos. (Photo: Courtesy of Mel Beach)

Those messages came from more than 25 of Beach's Facebook friends and family members, and included words like "advocate," "community," "integrity," and "listen," among others.  Beach also stitched in 30 translations of the word "peace," such as  "amani" (Swahili), "fred" (Danish, Norwegian, Swedish), "heping" (Chinese) and "paix" (French).

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Beach is hardly alone marrying her love for quilting with her concern for the larger community. She's one of numerous quilters who are submitting pieces for consideration in an upcoming exhibition titled Threads of Resistance, scheduled to open in July at the New England Quilt Museum in Lowell, Mass.

In its full glory.
In its full glory. (Photo: Courtesy of Mel Beach)

"I felt so incredibly happy and at peace as I worked on this quilt," Beach says. "I hope you, too, will celebrate its joy and peace. " Q.Logo.Break

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