Dana E. Jones
After too many years of dreaming about making quilts, I decided it was time to live into that dream. While many folks gradually drift into quilting, I claim a specific date when I declared I was a quilter: September 14, 2003. That was the final day of a three-day Martha Pullen quilt event in Huntsville, Alabama, at which I encountered today’s quilt world for the first time. I spent the next three days driving home — I lived in White Plains, New York, at the time — stopping at more than a dozen quilt shops en route. I was hooked.
It was a few years before I could give quilting much attention because I had a more than full-time job, but I did take classes at shops in New York City and surrounding areas and attended quilt shows, exhibitions and events whenever possible. When I was able to step away from full-time employment in 2007, I finally had time to quilt and soon began teaching at Quilter’s Crossing in West Nyack, New York, a wonderful shop that sadly is no more though its owner Colleen Nunes continues as a skilled long-arm quilter. I thank her for taking a chance on me as a new quilting teacher.
In 2009, I moved to Colorado where I landed a job as an editor with Quilters Newsletter magazine, and less than a year later, I was running the magazine. I also had the opportunity to do a two-year stint as editor of the SAQA Journal (Studio Art Quilt Associates) before stepping down from that position to research and write my book, Pagtinabangay: The Quilts and Quiltmakers of Caohagan Island. I spent several years on the road telling the amazing story of the more than 100 women and men on this tiny, 13-acre Philippine island who have created a form of art quilting that supports themselves and their families. That effort pulled together my fascination with fiber and art, my commitment to justice for all people, and my work as a journalist devoted to telling stories that don’t make it into the mainstream, for-profit media.
I was honored to assist in mounting exhibitions of the island quilts at the National Quilt Museum in Paducah, Kentucky; the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles in San Jose, California; and Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum in Golden, Colorado.
I live at 9,200 feet in Colorado in the Rocky Mountains where I watch the wild critters — elk, moose, bobcats, mountain lions, rabbits, squirrels, birds of prey and songbirds — from my quilt studio that faces Mount Thorodin. I enjoy designing and making quilts and teaching others to do so. And I enjoy speaking and writing about quiltmaking and quiltmakers.
I have a special passion for foundation paper piecing so many of my quilts and classes incorporate that technique. I’m also addicted to insetting circles and find great joy when I help others see how easy it is to do. I’m a regular teacher at multiple quilt shops in Colorado, have taught at Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum and for more than 100 guilds across the United States and Canada. In 2022, I taught and spoke at International Quilt Festival in Houston and at Amerian Quilter's Society shows in Daytona Beach and Grand Rapids. I also teach open-enrollment classes from my home via Zoom.
My current pursuits reflect my formal studies. I’m a graduate of the University of Illinois’ journalism school with a minor in home economics. I studied business administration at Webster University in St. Louis and theology at McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago. I completed 30 hours of fine-art instruction at Belleville Area College, now Southwestern Illinois College, where I was named one of the college’s top 50 students during its first 50 years. I was named United Methodist Outstanding Communicator of the Year in 2005 and artist in residence for the library in Gilpin County, Colorado, in 2012.
I began writing and editing in high school when I was hired for a part-time position with my hometown newspaper in Libertyville, Illinois. I owe my long and fulfilling career in journalism to my high-school English teacher Mary Louise Humes, who mentored and encouraged me for years, and to my first editor, Art Peterson, who had faith in the future of a high school student who wanted to be a reporter. I owe my love of design and type to Professor Glenn Hanson, who taught typography in the University of Illinois journalism school for years. I owe my love of all things quilting to my paternal grandmother, Gertrude Jones, who made sure all her grandchildren slept under covers of love pieced from remnants of her house dresses.