Grandma Susie’s Quilts

My grandmother Susie was an artist with fabric. She spent weeks crocheting blankets and making quilts. Those who understood such things told me her technique was quite extraordinary. The problem was her color schemes: Fuchsia and Orange; Olive and Blue. Perhaps it was that she had a limited budget and bought whatever fabric or yarn was on sale. Perhaps it was that she lived through the Great Depression and put practicality far ahead of aesthetics. Perhaps she was color blind. Certainly she was a little crazy. Whatever the reason, her color combinations were frighteningly bad. So bad that despite the technique and the love that went into them, her creations generally stayed in your closet only briefly seeing the light of day when she visited.

I have been thinking of grandma Susie these last few weeks because I have been working on a quilt of my own. This one will take about six months to complete and is made up of the views and opinions of the staff, faculty, students and stakeholders of the College. Each meeting and ensuing conversation represents a square. The squares are filled in by people who sit in very different kinds of places and see the College from very different vantage points. When I get them all done, about 300 in all, I will hang the quilt on the wall, step back and see what it reveals.

It is still early, the quilt only has a few rows. The individual squares have been beautiful: devotion to the college is high, almost everyone says it is a nice place to work, and people expect UCF to reach the next milestone. But grandma Susie’s individual squares were beautiful too. With a little more planning, coordination and definition they would have made exceptional quilts. Am I making one of grandma Susie’s quilts? We shall see….


5 thoughts on “Grandma Susie’s Quilts

  1. Dean Jarley, leave Grandma Susie alone. Change your metaphor to mosaic and see if you get the big picture 🙂

  2. I think the idea of a quilt with many perspectives is a great idea. If selected well, the individual squares may be pieced together to create an aesthetically-pleasing big picture. How are you selecting your 300 individuals to ensure that you have all to perspectives you need to create that big picture?

    • Good Morning Carol:

      To start with it is every faculty and staff member in the college (on campus and at regionals) as well as members of our advisory board and donors. It will involve officers of the various student organizations, prominent alums and people elsewhere on campus who work with us ( e.g. Deans, career service and. Coop professionals, etc.). Finally it will involve meetings with students from our various programs from undergrad to EMBA PM MBA and Ph.D. If I have left out a group let me know…

  3. D McCain • You’re so right! You are doing it the right way…takes time, concentration on the big picture, all the while taking note of the individual pieces and how they fit – how well they go together in terms of contributing to the overall beauty and usefulness of the quilt and what the ultimate goal(s) are for the new quilt. Grandma Susie was smart!

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