By Allen Hamrick
There are very few people these days that carry on the aged skills that bring enjoyment to those who get to meet them. The old skills are dying in this country and are being replaced with the need for wanting it now without the effort of creativity. “Let the machines do the hard work, and I’ll just buy what I want,” is the attitude held by many these days. Many of the skills our ancestors knew had to be learned out of necessity and are now only found in dusty books covering old shelves, skills that gave a struggling family clothes, food, and shelter. However, there are those that still carry on the traditions and use the skills they have learned through the ages to give light, hope and beauty to people who neither possess the skills nor care to know them.
Quilt making is one of those skills that has been handed down for centuries. Knowing how to quilt was a necessary skill needed in every household, and a skill that made the person doing it an essential part of a community as well.
Knowing how to sew was not the only thing one needs to know, as quilting is an art form. Many times, people gathered together as a social event to make quilts. Quilting bees were often held when a girl was getting married, and quilters would attempt to make a quilt in one day. Quilts were made not just for necessity but for dowries, births, and padded clothing. My purpose here is not to discuss the details of quilt making because I couldn’t sew a pig’s ear together. I find it a fascinating art form; not only are there many colors and patterns involved that are pleasing to the eyes and the soul, but quilts are testaments to the skills of the maker.
Two of the finest quilt makers that I have ever seen put needles to fabric are Bud and Wanda Sanders of Lizemore. They are both in their eighties now and continue to impress even the toughest critics with their creations. Their quilts have travelled throughout the states and have been appreciated by thousands of people. Their ability to create visions of beauty is second to none. Most of their quilts are hand sewn and have a Native American theme to them, highly colorful and unique to their personalities.
Bud is a retired coal miner and has been sewing clothes and quilts for nearly 40 years. His quilts are highly desired for their beauty and texture. Wanda has been quilting for well over 50 years and has developed into a quilt maker whose quilts should hang in castles and galleries. They both learned to quilt out of need in their early years and do it now for the joy of giving back to future generations in hopes that those generations carry on the Colonial American tradition of quilt making. Their work is inspirational to anybody who sees it, and viewers of their work should come away with the idea that maybe, just maybe, there is something to keeping the old ways alive.
Bud and Wanda Sanders are a testament to their generation and are a light to future generations who want to keep traditions alive. It is a joy and honor to know them. They are a wonderful couple who have dedicated their lives in service to each other, their families and all who meet them. The shaping of our lives is our own; life can be a thing of beauty or not. Stitch by stitch, Bud and Wanda have laid out their legacy and will never be forgotten because their quilts will always tell their story.