Winnebago Quilts: Honor and Celebration
When T.J. Smith died after a car accident in August, 2009, the daily business of Winnebago was put aside to mourn the loss of this young man and to show support to his family. Quilters immediately went to work, producing five quilts in time for his funeral. Scott worked twelve hours nonstop to intuitively design and then piece a quilt depicting a bald eagle soaring over the earth. The eagle is fashioned with the same diamond shapes as the star, in some cases piecing together two or three colors to make one diamond. Below the star is written “Wambli Oyate Owayankapi.” Smith was of Winnebago-Sioux heritage, and the inscription is his Sioux name, “Eagle nation watches over him.”
T.J. Smith quilt: cotton; 100x90 inches; 2009. Designed and pieced by Maria Scott; Quilted by Patrice Blackhawk. A give-away quilt, honoring the memory of T.J. Smith. Photo courtesy of Garan Coons.