Healing Quilts Initiative
What is the purpose of “Healing Quilts”?
Imagine that you have been diagnosed with cancer, and you are sitting in a hospital waiting room before your first chemotherapy treatment. You might be experiencing emotions such as anxiety, fear, and concern about the outcome of treatment, and even about the treatment itself. You might be thinking about how the chemotherapy could make you sick, cause your hair to fall out, or other scary side effects. Imagine that as you’re having these thoughts and emotions, you look at the wall in front of you and see displayed a colorful, beautifully intricate quilt featuring tranquil nature scenes and words of encouragement like “courage” and “survivor”. Next to the quilt is a plaque explaining that the plants depicted are used in the making of chemotherapy treatments. You may be surprised to learn this, as many people tend to think that chemotherapy consists of dangerous chemicals constructed in a laboratory. To learn that the roots of your treatment lie in the tranquil nature scene before you may be very comforting and anxiety reducing.
Studies show that artwork in the hospital setting, particularly images of plants and flowers, has a measurable positive impact on the well-being of patients. By displaying artistic quilts in clinics and hospitals that feature plants and animals used in chemotherapy treatments, those battling cancer can feel more peaceful, less afraid and more connected to their own treatment. Research also shows that patients who have less anxiety tend to have better outcomes and quicker recovery times.
A goal of the Healing Quilts initiative is to create a gallery of quilts that will feature pieces from the original Healing Quilts in Medicine galleries as well as new pieces created by local artists and quilters in the Auburn and Opelika area, and by students, offering them a unique learning experience.
The gallery will debut during a community event held in October 2012, which is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and put on public display. Educational resources that promote awareness of screening options and services for cancer patients and families will be made available as well.
Similar to the galleries now on display at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center Cancer Center and at the University of Michigan Cancer Center, the Auburn University Healing Quilts gallery will display fiber and textile art quilts that feature words of comfort and the beauty of plants and flowers used in cancer treatment. The art will later be placed permanently in healthcare facilities that serve cancer patients and their families in our community.
What does a Healing Quilt look like?
On our homepage slideshow and below are some quilts currently in the collection, with more being constructed by local quilters that will debut in October. Read more about the Healing Quilts in Medicine program and Auburn's healing quilt collection.
How can I get involved?
We are looking for local quilters who are willing to donate their talents towards building the gallery. We also welcome supporters to help us with event planning and getting the word out about the initiative. If you would like to be involved in the Healing Quilts Initiative, please contact Dr. Donna Sollie at firstname.lastname@example.org.