Stitched: Documented

A special look into the production of the upcoming quilt documentary Stitched, from Executive Producer Jena Moreno.
Part 1 - Hitting the Ground Running

Michele ScottJena Moreno

Jena Moreno - QCN


Snowmaggedon, missed flights and laryngitis couldn’t keep us from finishing production of our documentary, Stitched. Stitched is a one hour journey alongside three textile artists (Caryl Bryer Fallert, Hollis Chatelain & Randall Cook) through the process of creating their quilt entries for the 2010 International Quilt Festival in Houston, Texas.

Along the way, Stitched will showcase how the industry has evolved from a household craft to an internationally respected art form, with dedicated museums and massive events like the International Quilt Festival drawing larger crowds every year.

The Quilters of Stitched

The three art quilters in focus have each sparked some controversy in the past, mentored one another, and developed bonding lifelong friendships that have weathered the sometimes head to head competition necessary for top awards.

Caryl Bryer FallertCaryl Bryer Fallert

A petite and fiery redhead, Caryl Bryer Fallert is the only three-time winner of the coveted American Quilters Society Best of Show, Purchase Award.

Hollis ChatelainHollis Chatelain

Hollis Chatelain won the top prize in Houston in 2004 with her painted quilt Precious Water, and is now determined to change the world with her Imagine Hope traveling exhibition.

Randall CookRandall Cook

A yoga and pilates instructor, Randall Cook’s quilts focus on the many lines and forms of the human body. Randall is one of a growing cadre of male quilters in the industry.

So, what would convince a small crew of newspaper journalists and their relatives to spend their free time writing grants, producing, editing and learning how market a documentary about quilting?

In 2005, Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast. With nowhere else to turn, thousands of evacuees were forced to temporarily live in Houston’s George R. Brown Convention Center. The International Quilt Festival was one of the first events held at the convention center in the wake of Katrina. Even so soon after the disaster, more than 50,000 quilters passed through the festival doors, proving that nothing (not even Hurricane Katrina) could or would stand in their way.

Last October, my co-worker Nancy Sarnoff and I attended the Houston festival, and it overwhelmed us. We were amazed to learn about the enormity of the industry. What was it driving all of these people to quilt, and why do they spend nearly a week in Houston every year?

Of course, financing this national production on our own while juggling full-time jobs poses some challenges in addition to all of the challenges that a new documentary project is typically up against. It’s now six months into filming, and bad weather, illnesses and the unpredictability of travel have definitely thrown us a few curveballs.

Here are a few highlights from along the way:

Stitched Behind the Scenes 1
Interviewing Randall Cook

-On New Year’s Day, we lugged our gear to snowy Rochester, NY to visit
Randall Cook. For us Houstonians nine degrees was a shock, but Cook’s home was toasty.

-We trudged on to Hillsborough, N.C. to interview Hollis Chatelain, only to discover she had laryngitis! By the next day, she recovered enough to speak, and we got the coverage we needed.

-We planned to head to Paducah, KY. a few days later to interview
Caryl Bryer Fallert at her Bryer Patch Studios, but an ice storm forced us to reschedule our trip to February. Whew!

Stitched Behind the Scenes Image 2
Crew taking care of last minute details before the tape starts rolling.

The quilting adventure continues now in Paducah, where we are filming Chatelain’s Imagine Hope exhibit at the National Quilt Museum and the excitement of the American Quilter’s Society Show & Contest. Stay tuned for more stories as production of Stitched continues!

sue beevers headshot
Jena Moreno is an award-winning print journalist whose interviewed everyone from presidents to street merchants. Jena's travels to Argentina, Guatemala, Cuba and other
Latin American nations resulted in touching articles about immigration, impoverished workers and international diplomacy. Jena spends her free time making documentaries and travel shows.

You can contact Jena at:

Click Here to visit the official website for the Stitched documentary.

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