Local Artist Creates Quilt to Support Chase Brexton’s 2020 Gala

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Gala 2020

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It all started with a correctly solved crossword puzzle.

Now, a handmade quilt crafted by local artist Bob Zimmerman will highlight the silent auction at Chase Brexton Health Care’s 2020 virtual gala, “A Night at the Moulin Rouge,” happening Saturday at 7 p.m.—tune in at that time by clicking here.

Back in 1983, Zimmerman, a Maryland Institute College of Art Graduate and an artist, floral designer, event planner, and designer looked at the finished crossword puzzle and thought, “How can I use this to create a work of art?” A colored marker came into view. Shortly after, all the A’s were colored with yellow; the B’s with orange; the C’s with red; etc., and a colorful design appeared and was put on the shelf for safe keeping.

After six years working at the Walter Art Museum, Zimmerman retired and found myself with hours of idle time to fill. He decided to make a quilt and use the crossword puzzle as the design. Zimmerman had never made a quilt, although he had lots of experience hand-sewing and putting objects on display at the Baltimore Museum of Art, where he was an exhibit designer for twenty years. The time also coincided with the death of one of Zimmerman’s friend who had a vast collection of silk neckties—just the right material for the quilt.

As Zimmerman started to count the number of A’s, E’s, O’s, S’s and T’s, etc, needed to execute the design, it became evident that he would need some extra-large ties. A shop in Mt. Washington, “A Fabric Place,” came to the rescue, selling necktie silk by the yard. Next came cutting, layout, machine piecing and finally hand quilting. Years before, Zimmerman had purchased a quilting frame at a yard sale in anticipation of someday making a quilt. Over time it has been used as a support for the restoration of two 18th-century French tapestries now at the Mount Vernon Club in Baltimore, and later a needlepoint rug. Now it was time to be put to use for its intended purpose, a quilt.

The first public showing of the quilt occurred at the Baltimore Heritage Quilters Guild, where it received rave reviews. Next, it traveled to the Queen Anne County Fair, winning a first place blue ribbon, and, finally, the Maryland State Fair, where it won a second place red ribbon. Zimmerman has now chosen to donate my quilt, “WhatABreeze – Reran – DorothyGale” to Chase Brexton Health Care, as a gift of love and compassion. If all tickets are sold, the item could generate $10,000 to support patients in need and the LGBT Health Equity Training Team.

For more about Chase Brexton’s 2020 gala, “A Night at the Moulin Rouge,” visit www.chasebrexton.org/Gala2020.