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Byline: Carol Bidwell Daily News Staff Writer

It's a snapshot of California history, from the giant redwoods giant redwood
See giant sequoia.
 to the Golden Gate Bridge Golden Gate Bridge, across the Golden Gate from San Francisco to Marin Co., W Calif.; built 1933–37. Its overall length is 9,266 ft (2,824 m); its main span across the strait, 4,200 ft (1,280 m), is one of the longest bridges in the world. Joseph B. , from the missions to the wine country, from the fictional jumping frog of Calaveras County to the Conestoga wagons that brought many settlers here in the mid-1840s.

And it was all fashioned from hundreds of snippets of fabric and miles of thread during thousands of hours of sewing by more than 300 women.

It's 150 years of the state's past summed up in one giant quilt.

The result of three years of planning and work, the 10-by-10-foot wall hanging celebrating California's sesquicentennial ses·qui·cen·ten·ni·al  
Of or relating to a period of 150 years.

A 150th anniversary or its celebration.

Noun 1.
 will be on display next weekend in Van Nuys at an annual show sponsored by two Valley quilting quilting, form of needlework, almost always created by women, most of them anonymous, in which two layers of fabric on either side of an interlining (batting) are sewn together, usually with a pattern of back or running (quilting) stitches that hold the layers  groups.

And two of the proudest people there will be Ellen Heck of Somis and Zena Thorpe Thorpe   , James Francis Known as "Jim." 1888-1953.

American athlete. An outstanding collegiate football player, he later played professional football and baseball.
 of Chatsworth, both internationally known quilt artists. The two women designed the quilt, assigned nearly 60 other quilters specific motifs to sew and, when the blocks were completed, put the pieces together like a jigsaw A Web server from the W3C that incorporates advanced features and uses a modular design similar to the Apache Web server. Jigsaw supports HTTP 1.1 and provided an experimental platform for HTTP-NG. See HTTP-NG and Amaya.  puzzle. Then, to make sure there were no exposed seams, no abrupt jumping-off spots, they added extra trees, rocks, flowers and hills to make the giant picture flow together in a continuous expanse of color not of the white race; - commonly meaning, esp. in the United States, of negro blood, pure or mixed.

See also: Color
 and history.

Thorpe said it's the only project celebrating the state's 150th anniversary produced solely by women.

``Men have had a lot of publicity, about building the railroads and all, but I don't think the work of women has been totally recognized,'' she said. ``Now, it is. I think we did contribute in enormous amounts to the push westward and the development of California.''

Sesquicentennial Quilt Project coordinator Helen Powell of Sacramento is particularly pleased that the quilt grew from a melding of backgrounds and cultures, much as the state itself has: Heck is from Germany, and Thorpe is from England.

``Ellen and Zena are very well informed about California; they've done a lot of traveling and studying,'' Powell said. ``They probably know more about California than many people who were born here.''

Other quilters who worked on the project were from many other states and countries, with a few native California stitchers mixed in.

Powell and other quilt committee members chose Heck, 67, to head the sewing project because of her skill and imagination, shown on other projects she's completed and that have been shown around the world.

When she was asked to design and execute the historic quilt, ``I couldn't pass it up - but I was a little bit frightened,'' Heck said. ``It was such a big project.''

So she asked Thorpe, 59, with whom she's been quilting for the past decade, to help her.

The starting point Noun 1. starting point - earliest limiting point
terminus a quo

commencement, get-go, offset, outset, showtime, starting time, beginning, start, kickoff, first - the time at which something is supposed to begin; "they got an early start"; "she knew from the
 was a short list of natural features, people, events and places the state Sesquicentennial Quilt Committee thought embodied California; Heck and Thorpe added many more. The pair ``auditioned'' nearly 60 quilters; each one's work passed the test, and each was assigned a block, sent a 2-foot-square piece of background fabric and told to use her imagination to execute her segment of the quilt.

Some drew with permanent ink; others appliqued; others pieced designs together from tiny bits of fabric.

Heck and Thorpe also relied a lot on their own small quilting group, which meets weekly at Valley women's homes, to contribute quilt blocks and offer advice on how to blend the pieces. Margarete Heinsch of West Hills, 59, known for her depiction of figures in motion, was assigned the block containing Spanish dancers and also added the California flag. Ann Marshall of Northridge, 60, added Mount Whitney and sewed dolphins into the sea and hot-air balloons above the Palm Springs desert. Pat Masterson of Ventura, 60, sewed the Channel Islands and Catalina Island Catalina Island: see Santa Catalina. , with its landmark round casino.

Heck fashioned a California condor condor, common name for certain American vultures, found in the high peaks of the Andes of South America and the Coast Range of S California. Condors are the largest of the living birds, nearly 50 in. , the Colorado River Colorado River

River, south-central Argentina. Its major headstreams, the Grande and Barrancas rivers, flow southward from the Andes Mountains and meet to form the Colorado near the Chilean border. It flows southeastward across northern Patagonia and the southern Pampas.
, the palms of Palm Springs and the desolation of Death Valley. Thorpe added a train chugging into California, the Great Seal of California The Seal of California was adopted at the California state Constitutional Convention of 1849 and redesigned in 1937. The seal features Minerva, the Roman goddess of wisdom; a California grizzly bear (the official state animal) feeding on grape vines, representing California wine  and the most modern touches: a tiny mouse sitting on a computer mouse pad A fabric-covered rubber pad roughly 9" square that provides a smooth surface for rolling a mouse. There are also mouse pads that provide a better surface; for example, 3M makes the Precise Mousing Surface, an ultra-thin mouse pad that is engineered to reduce friction.  to represent Silicon Valley and a deadly looking SR-71 reconnaissance aircraft zooming out over the California-Nevada desert.

``It's nice to know that everybody will look at the quilt as a piece of art and that we all had a little part in it,'' Heinsch said.

When it was all finished, 58 motifs representing California were in place.

One California One California is a skyscraper in San Francisco, California. The building rises 438 feet (134 meters) in the northern region of San Francisco’s Financial District. It contains 32 floors, and was completed in 1969.  landmark is conspicuously absent, however.

``We put a Mickey Mouse Mickey Mouse

Famous character of Walt Disney's animated cartoons. He was introduced in Steamboat Willie (1928), the first animated cartoon with sound. Mickey was created by Disney, who also provided his high-pitched voice, and was usually drawn by the studio's head animator,
 on there (to represent Anaheim and Disneyland), but Disney insisted it be taken off,'' Thorpe said. ``So in its place instead is a rose, for the Rose Parade.''

Once the blocks were done, quilters mailed them to Heck, who matched up the Southern California Southern California, also colloquially known as SoCal, is the southern portion of the U.S. state of California. Centered on the cities of Los Angeles and San Diego, Southern California is home to nearly 24 million people and is the nation's second most populated region,  pieces. Thorpe fitted together the Northern California Northern California, sometimes referred to as NorCal, is the northern portion of the U.S. state of California. The region contains the San Francisco Bay Area, the state capital, Sacramento; as well as the substantial natural beauty of the redwood forests, the northern  blocks. Then the two halves were laid out on Heck's living room floor and joined together so they could see where additions had to be made to make the pieces appear to be one giant work of art.

It was at that point that Powell first saw the project.

``I could tell then it was going to be beautiful,'' she said.

Once the top of the quilt was completed - several months of stitching later - the project was packed up and sent to Sacramento, where it was set up in a frame at a quilt store. All interested quilters - even those who didn't feel their work was good enough to pass the earlier ``audition,'' and a few who'd never quilted before - were invited to come by and make at least a few stitches to help affix affix v. 1) to attach something to real estate in a permanent way, including planting trees and shrubs, constructing a building, or adding to existing improvements.  the top to the batting and backing.

``Many older women who'd never been recognized for anything outside their homes came and worked on it just so they could say they were part of something that was part of the state's history,'' Powell said. ``Lots of people just took a few stitches; others worked for hours.''

Although the average age of the quilters was probably about 60 (the oldest quilter was 87), one 10-year-old with a passion for history - prize-winning quilter Shannon Quigley of El Dorado El Dorado, legendary country of South America
El Dorado (ĕl`dərä`dō, –rā`–) [Span.,=the gilded man], legendary country of the Golden Man sought by adventurers in South America.
 Hills in Northern California - did hours of sewing on the project.

At a Jan. 25, 1998, kickoff of the sesquicentennial in Coloma, where gold was first discovered, the quilt was displayed as a work in progress. Even though it was unfinished, it drew a crowd that simply stood and stared, refusing to move on until every motif had been inspected, Powell said.

``That was when we realized it was so extraordinary,'' she said. ``It's a remarkable thing to me that these two women (Heck and Thorpe) were able to embody what the (sesquicentennial) commission wanted. It's more than we ever expected.''

Since then, the finished quilt has traveled the state, sometimes by air express with Pacific Bell contributing $25,000 toward transport costs. But most often, it's carefully handed from one historical society or library representative to another for display not only in big cities but in some of the state's most remote locations.

``We wanted to make sure everybody would have a chance to see it,'' Powell said.

The quilt will continue on its rounds throughout the state until Sept. 9, 2000, the 150th anniversary of the day California was admitted to the union. It will be put on display inside the state Capitol during sesquicentennial events, then will be permanently exhibited in the year-old Golden State Museum in Sacramento.

And on the state's 200th anniversary in 2050, Quigley - who's likely to be the last person alive who helped make the quilt - has agreed to display it again, telling the history of how it was fashioned by women from all over California.

``It feels so good to know that we've all been a permanent part of the state's history by making this quilt,'' Heck said. ``It's great to know that my son, that generations of Californians, will be able to go and see it and see what California's all about.''

Warming up to quilting

The Sesquicentennial Quilt, along with more than 100 other quilts and wall hangings, will be on display May 15 and 16 at the Quilting in the Valley quilt show at the Airtel Plaza Hotel The Plaza Hotel in New York City is a landmark 19-story luxury hotel with a height of 250 feet (76 m) and length of 400 feet that (122 m) occupies the west side of Grand Army Plaza, from which it derives its name, and extends along Central Park South in Manhattan. , 7277 Valjean Ave., Van Nuys. The event, which includes a boutique, is sponsored by the Valley Quiltmakers Guild and the San Fernando Valley San Fernando Valley

Valley, southern California, U.S. Northwest of central Los Angeles, the valley is bounded by the San Gabriel, Santa Susana, and Santa Monica mountains and the Simi Hills.
 Quilt Association.

The show runs 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 15, with a live quilt auction scheduled for 1 p.m.; it reopens from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 16, with a fashion show at 1 p.m.

Admission is $5 per day; parking is free. Workshops both days will feature quilter Marlene Peterman Pe´ter`man

n. 1. A fisherman; - so called after the apostle Peter.

For more information, call (805) 257-3736 or (818) 886-4021. For advance tickets, call Kathy Conte at (818) 985-6923.


3 Photos

Photo: (1--Cover--Color) On the cover: The 100-square-foot California Sesquicentennial Quilt was created, assembled and detailed by more than 300 women.

(2) Quilt designers Ellen Heck, left, and Zena Thorpe, surrounded by some of their other creations, assigned work on the project commemorating California's sesquicentennial and made sure it all came together.

(3) ``It feels so good to know that we've all been a permanent part of the state's history by making this quilt,'' says Ellen Heck.

Evan Yee/Daily News

Box: Warm up to quilting (See text)
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Title Annotation:L.A. LIFE
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:May 8, 1999

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