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Grand Central Winners

Here are the winners and finalists of the Grand Central Terminal Centennial Quilt Challenge, sponsored by The City Quilter shop in New York City and American Patchwork & Quilting magazine. Readers from 25 states entered our 2013 challenge to commemorate this landmark building turning 100.

About the Challenge

The art of quilting and the architecture of one of America’s most famous buildings combine to create a platform for a quilt challenge that celebrates the life and times of an historic structure.

In April 2013, the editors of American Patchwork & Quilting magazine and The City Quilter shop in New York City challenged readers to create an original quilt (36"-square maximum size) expressing the theme of the Grand Central Terminal Centennial. A minimum of 25% of the finished quilt top surface area had to consist of fabrics designed by The City Quilter to commemorate Grand Central's Centennial. We had entrants from 25 states and ultimately chose 30 finalists. The 30 finalists will be on display at the New York Transit Museum Gallery Annex & Store at Grand Central Terminal March 15–July 6.

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Grand Prize

Time Flies, But We Take the Train
Amy Krasnansky, Baltimore

Time Flies, But We Take the Train features New York Beauty blocks, an appropriate choice to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Grand Central Terminal, itself an indisputable New York beauty. The Beauty blocks are arranged around an eagle and a clock face, alluding to the Vanderbilt Eagle and the GCT information booth clock in a whimsical interpretation of the flight of time. Within the blocks, the sequined arches bordered with trapunto recall the windows in the GCT ceiling with their streaming light and carved frames. The figures outside the blocks represent people who have used the terminal over the past 100 years. The quilting motifs include trains, past and present, and oak leaves and acorns, symbols of potential growth, which are found throughout GCT. Both GCT and quilt-making declare that beauty and utility belong together. Why miss an opportunity to transfigure the humdrum into something delightful?

Grand Prize Detail

Time Flies, But We Take the Train
Amy Krasnansky, Baltimore

First Prize

Grand Central Terminal Mandala
Ligaya Siachongco, Woodside, New York

For the interpretation of the Grand Central Terminal Centennial theme, I chose to present the theme in a Mandala form--a circular shape. It has a focal point of the vintage-looking clock. This clock became a very important symbol for the Grand Central Terminal because it is where the commuters look when checking for the right time. For the execution I individually cut and hand-appliqued all the elements that I selected from the Grand Central and GCT constellations fabrics from The City Quilter. I also tried to emphasize the clock by making a window frame in the center of the quilt and on the four clocks located at the four corners. For the overall quilting, I did a meandering machine-quilting design and used a polyester thin batting and cotton for the backing. Beadwork was done as embellishment.

First Prize Detail

Grand Central Terminal Mandala
Ligaya Siachongco, Woodside, New York

Second Prize

Chasms 16: Under the Stars
Beth Carney, Yonkers, New York

For years people from all walks of life, including myself, have passed under the constellation sky in Grand Central Terminal. Having always loved to look up to those constellations, the blue and cream sky with its golden accents became my palette. The layers of tunnels that guide us in our travels and the intricate pathways that move into the city and beyond became the essence of my design as I use motion, color, and line to express my abstract view. The similarity in line between the marble walls above and the dripping cement walls within the tunnels define the line work as I connected the design of this terminal with its purpose. Watching the patterns of the crowds as they moved through the space weaving in and out, I realized that for 100 years this magical dance has all happened under those constellations. Oh, if those stars could talk!

Second Prize Detail

Chasms 16: Under the Stars
Beth Carney, Yonkers, New York

Honorable Mention: Meet Me at the Clock

Meet Me at the Clock
Christina Blais, Stratford, Connecticut

This quilt commemorates the 100th year of Grand Central Terminal. My challenge: Capture the building’s grandeur and expanse, reflecting the theme of 100 years, using given fabrics in a small quilt. A photo I took captured the iconic clock juxtaposed on the first zero of the "100" on the windows; I had my starting image. I was challenged to provide a sense of perspective, color, detail, and lighting/shadows within a small palette and space. I made many decisions on which details to include, hint at, and use license with. I was judicious in my focus through fabric/material choices and content. With detail in this quilt’s upper windows, arches, walls, and clock, just like the building, there is no one focal point. I show a vibrant and current space, using common materials and "bling" as representations of Grand Central’s past and present and the people who pass through every day.

Meet Me at the Clock Detail

Meet Me at the Clock
Christina Blais, Stratford, Connecticut

Honorable Mention: Movement and Connection

Movement and Connection
Lisa Ann Bova, Dublin, Ohio

Grand Central Station ... is all about movement. It is a brick and mortar connection point in the midst of life itself. Interpreted from a recent photo taken by my husband, Nick, this quilt attempts to capture the energy that passes through the station on an hourly basis. The image is clearest when you step back and take in the big picture — just like life. It is a testament to past, present, and future "connections." It represents a physical beginning, middle, and end to many pleasure trips, business trips, final goodbyes, and a thousand hellos. Be it our family as they immigrated Palermo to Cleveland or Wales to Ohio, my father’s return home from WWII to a lifetime railroad career, my husband’s business trips into the city, or my mother’s famous quote, “What’s this, my kitchen or Grand Central Station?”, the energy transferred through its halls and tracks touches and connects everyone.

Movement and Connection Detail

Movement and Connection
Lisa Ann Bova, Dublin, Ohio

Honorable Mention: GCT Centennial Cake, CELEBRATE!

GCT Centennial Cake, CELEBRATE!
Nancy S. Hoskins, Springfield, Virginia

All celebrations deserve cake. The layers of this Grand Central Terminal Cake incorporate GCT fabrics and are embellished with beads depicting the tiers of the many chandeliers throughout the station and origami rosettes representing the rosettes in the GCT ceiling. The cake pedestal created with fabric reminiscent of passengers' tickets represents the balusters supporting the railing of the grand staircases and balconies. The main concourse clock proclaiming the centennial crowns the cake. The background incorporates a variety of coordinating fabrics as well as GCT fabrics. The dotted fabric represents the confetti punched from the many millions of passengers' tickets over the century. The diagonal strips depict the train lines feeding from across the nation into the Grand Central Terminal.

GCT Centennial Cake, CELEBRATE! Detail

GCT Centennial Cake, CELEBRATE!
Nancy S. Hoskins, Springfield, Virginia

Honorable Mention: As Time Goes By

As Time Goes By
Gretchen Crozier, Fremont, California

In the past 100 years, amid the hustle of Grand Central Station, travelers have met loved ones for cherished helloes and tearful goodbyes. When I saw the fabric with all its architectural bits, I thought of a memory box. The names were not changed, to honor my proud railroad heritage. My father, Neill, met my mother, Grace, a courier nurse, on the railroad. They exchanged notes until they married in 1941. My grandfather was a conductor on the Illinois Central and built the Waterloo house. Grand Central’s architecture on the required fabric is showcased in the postcards, watch, and "modern" couple’s small silhouette. The silhouettes were tinted with watercolor pencils and Aloe Vera gel. The "1913" silhouette’s arch was enlarged from the fabric.

As Time Goes By Detail

As Time Goes By
Gretchen Crozier, Fremont, California

Honorable Mention: Mercury’s Concourse

Mercury’s Concourse
Fran VanEron, Fort Collins, Colorado

The world’s largest Tiffany clock as surrounded by Hercules, Minerva, and Mercury and looks upon 42nd Street, serves as the main focus of our quilt. Swirl designs around the ticket booths become the anchors in the corners, and 52 stars varying in size represent the 2,500 stars in the terminal’s ceiling, all contributing to capture the essence of the clock in this dynamic art piece. The flames emerging from the center of the clock are repeated in the aqua, red rings, and corners. Continuing this thematic representation of the strength in commerce and transportation, the rings and bars look like train rails and offer a modern touch. The quilt includes a variety of fabrics including the GCT fabrics (stars, rings, and corners), silk, cotton batiks, and gold metallics. The assembly varies from applique, blind stitching, to freeform quilting, and programmed design.

Mercury’s Concourse Detail

Mercury’s Concourse
Fran VanEron, Fort Collins, Colorado

Honorable Mention: A Grand Centennial

A Grand Centennial
Teresa Barkley, Maplewood, New Jersey

A Grand Centennial celebrates the past, present, and future of Grand Central Terminal, designed as a "Forever" postage stamp. The top depicts both the sky and the Terminal ceiling, decorated with constellations. The middle illustrates the ground level Main Concourse. The bottom represents the underground levels, people ramping to trains and the Oyster Bar with herringbone tile ceiling. Also underground is a large acorn, a favorite motif throughout the Terminal. The acorn grows into the mighty oak tree, which frames the composition, and suggests destinations outside the city. The left window of the Main Concourse illustrates the past of the Terminal, as a missile was displayed there in 1957. The central window depicts the present, with gold numerals "100" in observance of the centennial, and the US flag, which has hung there since 9/11. The right window suggests the future, with service to Long Island, represented by the Montauk lighthouse.

A Grand Centennial Detail

A Grand Centennial
Teresa Barkley, Maplewood, New Jersey

Honorable Mention: Family Tribute to Grand Central

Family Tribute to Grand Central
Nancy H. Gary, Hudson, Ohio

Three words come to mind whenever I enter the Grand Central Terminal--majesty, history, and trains. I wanted to capture it all in this 100-year anniversary quilt. Majesty is seen in the height, space, ceiling of gold constellations, and architectural details. History is reflected in the old photos, the central gold clock, and the black square left on the ceiling after the latest restoration. Trains were a love of my late husband and he loved visiting Grand Central Terminal and riding the trains. I wanted to make this a tribute to him and our children who began their careers in New York City. The terminal seems to stand vigil over the constant activity and energy of the people that are New York City. Even though time seems to stand still as I look around the great hall, I am also aware the terminal is a never ending hub of transportation with trains below and taxis lined up outside still moving people on with their lives. Maybe it even reflects the hub of our great nation.

Family Tribute to Grand Central Detail

Family Tribute to Grand Central
Nancy H. Gary, Hudson, Ohio

Honorable Mention: Jewel of New York

Jewel of New York
Cheryl Kosarek, Shokan, New York

The Jewel of New York is designed to celebrate the history and tradition of Grand Central Terminal. The bejeweled clock represents the terminal as it "floats" over the iconic New York City skyline, created from the motifs on the GCT commemorative fabric. The overall border design reflects the structure of the overhead skylight windows. The side panels are structured in an organized chaotic fashion, much as the movement of the estimated 750,000 people who travel through the terminal each day. Arched windows shed light from above as travelers make their way to their personal destinations. Traditional crosshatched quilting reflects the intersection of the train tracks, adjoining train schedules, and the paths of the people who cross each other during their travels. Twinkling stars celebrate the celestial motif of the ceiling. It is the celebration of the architecture of a great transportation hub and a national historic treasure.

Jewel of New York Detail

Jewel of New York
Cheryl Kosarek, Shokan, New York

Honorable Mention: Frank’s Daily Commute

Frank’s Daily Commute
Julie Quigley, Brookfield, Wisconsin

I love Grand Central Terminal, a beautiful, historically important New York City landmark. My quilt illustrates how GCT has been the gateway for millions into NYC and, from there, literally anywhere in the world, for the past 100 years. I used the traditional Dresden Plate for the center, to act as a compass illustrating the point that from GCT you can go anywhere. I also liked the Dresden Plate because the points remind me of a necktie. For 18 years my husband would put on a suit and tie, walk to our village Metro North station and commute into the city. In several of the sections I used New York themed fabric to illustrate NYC and how GCT is a vital link in transportation. I used echo quilting around the plate/compass to represent that every avenue leads to GCT. The border quilting represents a road leading anywhere you want to go.

Frank’s Daily Commute Detail

Frank’s Daily Commute
Julie Quigley, Brookfield, Wisconsin

Finalist: A Celebration of Service

A Celebration of Service
Angela E. Jones, Chula Vista, CA

I re-created Grand Central Terminal into a quilt. Using the fabric, I cut out the figures and shapes to reconstruct the building in celebration of 100 years of its service to the people of New York City.

Finalist: Time Tables and Ticket Windows

Time Tables and Ticket Windows
Patricia Porter, Lincoln, CA

Over the years, it happened millions of times: a traveler rushes into Grand Central, quickly checks the time tables for the next train to Connecticut, moves to the ticket window to buy a ticket, then heads for the train. That's the story of my quilt. The wall of time tables is symbolized by historic Grand Central images, with purple bands emphasizing the horizontal. The ticket windows are created with warm golden and purple fabrics set at lively angles. A black and white collage of Grand Central images separates the windows, and again emphasizes the horizontal. Over all, gold cording over dark gray netting suggests the tracks and the heart of the terminal. Finally, fracture quilting sewn at different angles in thick gray thread reflects the people hurrying in all directions, to and from the trains.

Finalist: It's About Time

It's About Time
Melinda Meers, Melbourne, FL

Throughout its history Grand Central Station has been about time. Will I get to the station in time? Will we get home in time? Are the trains running on time today? Will I make my train if I have to work overtime? Will I have time for a cup of good coffee before I get on the train? Will we have time for oysters before the last train? Will the eight o'clock show get us out in time for the train? And about my Grand Central Station Anniversary Clock: It is set for 19:13.

Finalist: Celebrating the Wheels of Progress

Celebrating the Wheels of Progress
Margaret Caldwell, Panama City, FL

Celebrating wheels of progress at Grand Central Terminal’s 100th birthday is the theme I selected in making this quilt. Reading about the history of the terminal provided inspiration for the theme and the design in the quilt. The terminal was a city within a city that helped influence construction of the surrounding area. Background fabric depicts New York City at night. This was used because it created a nice contrast to the wheels and gave it a feel of celebration in a city that never sleeps. Dedication of talent, money and determination over the last 100 years has built this as one of the most historical landmarks in the USA.

Finalist: Escalator to the Stars

Escalator to the Stars
Charlotte Noll, Lauderhill, FL

I spent hours looking at pictures and reading about the Grand Central Terminal. When I saw the 45th Street escalator pictures, I found my inspiration. The simple lines of the vertical rails leading upward and the horizontal lines of the rising steps would translate well into a design where I could incorporate the Grand Central Terminal themed fabrics. Several techniques, fabrics, threads, and embellishments were used. The basic technique is raw edge applique using 100-weight silk thread, stitching through all layers, quilting the piece at the same time. The black and sky blue background fabric shows through like grout in a mosaic. Dupioni silk has sheen and linear texture to represent the vertical railings. The escalator steps are made from GCT fabric motifs. Hexagons showcase the zodiac drawings. The faced edge is hand-beaded with pearls that look like the beautiful chandelier lights. The hand-beaded fringe is hanging with Zodiac charms.

Finalist: City Crossings

City Crossings
Phyllis K. Campbell, Rockford, IL

The design inspiration for City Crossings came from my family's vintage black-and-white photographs, and also from The City Quilter's Grand Central fabric. The photographs are of New York City buildings, and of a pair of train tracks stretching far into the distance. The aqua fabric features postcards and pictures of Grand Central Terminal, which I used as the background of the quilt. The straight-line quilting reflects the past and future travel of rail passengers, while the appliqued Railroad Crossing sign, and the narrow black rails celebrate the Centennial of Grand Central Terminal. The final border in cream constellations fabric and binding of aqua constellations fabric honor the Terminal's beautiful ceilings.

Finalist: Train Terminal Traveler's Tribute

Train Terminal Traveler's Tribute
Suzanne Havlicek, Cortland, IL

The Grand Central Terminal Centennial theme is incorporated in my quilt by focusing in on my view in fabric, beads, buttons, and trim of the Vanderbilt Hall that most commuters and tourists are most likely familiar with. Great detail was taken in the beading of the clock atop the main hall information booth since it is the Centennial logo. Two American flags were hand-embroidered with one stitched on a hall wall and the other proudly hanging over the meticulously hand embroidered ceiling. Wooden letter cubes spelling "GRAND CENTRAL TERMINAL CELEBRATING 100 YEARS," were used to further tie in the centennial theme. The border features appliques of the building and some of its iconic views and details hand-embroidered on with turquoise thread on a crazy quilt background to mimic an old-time quilt pattern. By incorporating many symbolic images through various techniques, my quilt is a celebration of this milestone.

Finalist: Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday
Sheva Farkas, Silver Spring, MD

As a child, Grand Central Terminal was an exciting place to begin our train trips to visit family. As an NYU student, many of us met by the clock. My interpretation comes from the excitement and joy I feel toward that special place. The train was my inspiration. The quilted New York skyline just added to it. Happy 100th, Grand Central.

Finalist: Grand Central Beauty

Grand Central Beauty
Theresa Nielsen, Royal Oak, MI

I've captured the theme of the GCTC by selecting pictures from the fabric, of the stations, statues, and the train. The beauty of the clocks and the ornate medallions make Grand Central Terminal so spectacular. By embellishing with embroidery and charms I've highlighted each scene showing the beauty of the GCT as one of New York's finest treatures. The scenes in the quilt are memorable places that tourists would enjoy seeing on a visit to New York and the GC terminal would be unforgettable, a memory to last forever. The quilting that encircles the whole quilt is the path of the visitors and the train tracks that surround the beauty of the Grand Central Terminal.

Finalist: A 1913 Day at Grand Central Terminal

A 1913 Day at Grand Central Terminal
Amelia R. Lynch, Mahwah, NJ

1913 was one of the last flashes of innocence in New York before World War I started the following year. Exciting opportunities and struggles were happening every day. Women were fighting to obtain the right to vote. Unions were struggling to get workers safe conditions for decent pay. A middle class was developing that began to blur traditional social roles. A 1913 Day at Grand Central Terminal shows a moment in time in 1913 contrasting the majesty and grandeur of the new building with the everyday business of its patrons. The appliqued travelers in detailed period costumes are walking in the new terminal with the stunning windows, tremendous hallways, and marble floors. Several quilting techniques were used to illustrate how the terminal opened travel to everyone regardless of their job, economic status, and social standing, which not only opened opportunities, but a gateway to the world.

Finalist: Grand Central--Every Which Way

Grand Central--Every Which Way
Jenia Ciomek, Las Cruces, NM

When I think of Grand Central I think of people rushing about in all different directions to reach their destinations. I used the Grand Central Centennial-themed fabric in a kaleidoscope pattern to illustrate this message. You could describe it, as they say, "as busy as Grand Central." Using a modern stack-n-whack design, I used utility-style quilting that may have been used in 1913. So I tried to blend style from the past with style of today, making a unique quilt. Grand Central--Every Which Way is entirely handmade, even the triangle template was created at home. It was hand pieced, hand quilted, and the binding is also done by hand.

Finalist: 100 Years--Out of the Darkness and Into the Light

100 Years--Out of the Darkness and Into the Light
Kim Gimblette, Ossining, NY

The graduated background fabric has dual symbolism: it gives the illusion of trains coming out from the subterranean depths of Grand Central Terminal into the light of day as they head to the suburbs and the transformation of the Terminal from dark to light post-restoration. The quilt blocks show off the iconic images of the interior and exterior of the Terminal, separated horizontally by a recurring design in the Beaux Arts spirit. The past, present, and future are incorporated into the design and border: past--honoring those persons who envisioned and built this grand building; present--three black tracks for the current train lines; future--one beige track for the LIRR link. To bring it all together, the quilting design superimposes the facade of the Terminal on 42nd Street, just as the real Grand Central Terminal brings commuters and tourists together.

Finalist: Grand Timeline

Grand Timeline
Laura Laslett, Greenwood Lake, NY

My quilt celebrates the Centennial of Grand Central Station. My goal was to represent both the magnificent building and the passage of time. I let the imposing structure fill my quilt with very little fabric margin. I depicted the progress of time with the line of taxicabs waiting for fares. The taxis begin with the horse drawn cart and include the Checker cab and end with the modern Prius. I also included a couple of birthday balloons for added whimsy. I used a combination of raw edge applique and free motion quilting. One of my favorite things about Grand Central Station is the exquisite ceiling. Although my quilt shows the exterior of the building, I tried to convey the grandeur of the ceiling with my use of the blue GCT Constellation fabric for the sky. I also used the GCT Constellation fabric in Cream for most of the building.

Finalist: The Concourse

The Concourse
K. Velis Turan, Earlton, NY

"Grand" is the operative word in the description of this temple to transportation. The world's loveliest station captures the mind and all the senses. And here, I have tried to capture my grand impressions on a piece of fabric less than a yard square. As a lover of buildings in general, I am enthralled by design and sense of space, quilting and surface designing the work with added embellishments and my signature "threadstrokes." I have tried to focus on the grand scale and permanence of the architecture rather than the transitory throngs of the people in motion. My several "travelers" are dwarfed by the sheer grandeur of their surroundings. It is that same feeling of awe I experience each time I visit.

Finalist: Coming and Going for 100 Years

Coming and Going for 100 Years
Karen Morrison, Katy, TX

Millions of people have been coming and going at Grand Central Terminal for over 100 years, dazzled with the splendor of this architectural gem in New York. Each time I arrive in New York, I can’t help but marvel at the beauty of this hub of activity, people rushing into the streets of Manhattan, others staring at the ceiling. It was my attempt to showcase the terminal using the ceiling material along with snippets from the challenge material to suggest opulence and create the ticket and information booths and balcony. The changing perspective of the larger stairs reflects the lure of NYC ... larger than life, just outside the door, as the taxi waits. I will never forget while dining at Grand Central both my children announced emphatically they would live in NYC someday, far from Texas. My daughter began her career in advertising in NYC and my son is now an architect in Brooklyn.

Finalist: Stars of the Four Winds

Stars of the Four Winds
Pamelia Paddock, Abilene, TX

This quilt pattern Stars of the Four Winds commemorates countless numbers of people riding the four winds--all converging at Grand Central at some point in their journey, thus “Moving US — the past 100 years.” The dogtooth border features quick glimpses of the celestial ceiling and represents travelers scurrying to secure transportation to a local or far away destination. The background features hand-sewn beading and a sentimental postcard with antique lace, button, and ribbon embellishments, all of which are typical of those used during the period. Dating of the earliest Four Winds quilts attribute first use of the pattern from 1913 to the 1930s.

Finalist: Memories of Grand Central Terminal

Memories of Grand Central Terminal
Carolyn Rancier, Abilene, TX

Since Grand Central Terminal opened in 1913, its magnificence has attracted praise from New Yorkers and tourists. When I received the competition fabric, welcome sights and sounds from my first Grand Central visit came flooding back. The turquoise and gold ceiling, Tiffany clock, and bustling people influenced my decision to design a Crazy Quilt. I fussy-cut each detailed picture from the fabric and used metallic thread and decorative stitches to represent the gold veins in the ceiling. I meticulously planned each section. I embellished the top row with flowers and jewels to represent the influential passengers who rode the trains during Grand Central’s early years. Every detail added also reflects architectural elements used in designing the famous terminal. For example, one detail is the steel grey ribbon with its bronze accents. Study the quilt closely, identify the architectural components it embodies, and envision the wondrous Grand Central Terminal.

Finalist: 100 Years GCS

100 Years GCS
Lisa Jenni, Redmond, WA

Traveling is one of my big past times, and New York City has been on my list of destinations for a long, long time. My totally favorite way to arrive in any city is via train, and having grown up in Europe, using public transportation had been a must. I can recall many grand railway stations, but I imagine none is as impressive as Grand Central Station. The key to my design is the multiplication of each feature to emphasize its importance, but also to symbolize the (at times, rocky) track during the past four quarters of the century. I added some gold textiles to underscore the importance of the 100th anniversary. Happy Birthday, Grand Central Station!

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