Mary Jo Bates Lewis

I was born in Coolidge, Arizona and graduated from high school there in 1947. In 1992 my kindergarten friend, Gloria Kenworthy Davis pushed me into visiting a quilt store 10 miles away in Florence. It was there I saw a cutting board and rotary cutter for the first time.. we watched a beginning class given by Michelle Lipper and as a result I spent two months taking classes with her. The passion I had for my husband, Glen for 43 1/2 years was transferred to quilting. What a healer.

When I returned to Battle Ground in mid 1992 my friends Barb Wagner and Roxanne Raymer had me signed up for a six month class "Starting Quilting" at Daisy Kingdom. We started a group called Battle Ground Quilters which now meets the first Friday of each month. We had quilt shows at the Harvest Days in 1993 and 1994. Also, we have helped with the Pomeroy House shows and have made "opportunity quilts" to benefit North County Services in Battle Ground.

I have had many classes from well-known and accomplished quilters over the years. If you learn one thing in each class you take it is time well spent.

I started teaching "Fundamentals of Quilting" in 1996 with the urging from my close friend, Rotha Whiting, a former English teacher. I like to teach in September and February. I feel I am giving back to the art that has done so much for me.

I am also a member of GFWC (General Federated Women's Club), and Venersborg Women's Club, and actively try to include quilting at those meetings. Recently, as a member of GFWC, the sponsor for Lady Bug Bazaar, I was asked to speak on the history of quilting. With the Venersborg Women's club, I have assisted in the creation of a few "opportunity quilts" to benefit a one room school house.

I joined the "Art Alliance" that started in Battle Ground in 2001. They will be having a show in March 2002. I have expressed that quilting of some sort should be included in that exhibit.

In 1998 Rotha Whiting and I didn't want to spend three days in Seattle for the Great Pacific Northwest Quilt Show, so we chartered a bus to the event. We had great fun and have chartered a bus for the Seattle show and the Sister's Outdoor Quilt Show ever since.

Since I retired from 30+ years as a RN in the operating room in March 1992, I have been very busy learning to quilt as well as all about the quilting world. I was even featured in the "Who's Who of Quilting". Currently I have many projects in mind, and many UFO {Unfinished Objects) to complete. I keep busy teaching classes. Also I help my granddaughter, Kim, in our machine quilting business, Quilted Memories, and chase my two great-grandchildren around the quilting studio.

I feel that if a person has great fundamentals in quilting they can soar and choose the path they want to travel without anxiety. The path they choose can be traditional, contemporary. or art quilts. they can choose large, medium, or miniatures using so many different methods. It is exciting to experiment with new patterns and ideas. I feel that quilting is a wonderful journey of life.

Thank you for coming and sharing in this journey.

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