Stitches in Time quilt show Ellen Mauzey quilts mesmerize at museum
by CHRISTY ARMSTRONG, Banner Staff Writer
Jan 27, 2013 | 481 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Ellen Mauzey
ELLEN MAUZEY, a quilter whose work will be featured in the lobby of the Museum Center at Five Points in conjunction with the Stitches in Time quilt show, poses with her award-winning quilt called “The Tea Ceremony.” This first-place quilt, also seen on the left, is from the 2011 Stitches in Time quilt show’s “Best Use of Color” category. It remains one of Mauzey’s favorite creations. Featuring details like colorful kimonos, “The Tea Ceremony” is inspired by the Japanese culture. It, along with several of her other quilts, will be on display at the Museum Center at Five Points beginning this weekend.
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If you saw one of the full-sized quilts carefully pieced together by Ellen Mauzey, you might think that she has been quilting for a very long time. However, it wasn’t until later in life that the quilter whose work started the hobby she would later refer to as a “saving grace.”

A collection of several of Mauzey’s quilts will be hanging in the lobby of the Museum Center at Five Points in conjunction with this year’s Stitches in Time quilt show that runs from Jan. 26 to March 9.

Originally from northern Missouri, Mauzey said she moved to Cleveland with her husband about 25 years ago to help out with their son’s Ocoee River rafting business. She did bookkeeping and other tasks in the rafting company’s office, where she worked until her retirement in 2007.

She got her start in quilting when her daughter-in-law decided she wanted to take a quilting class and asked her to join her since she knew nobody else in it. The daughter-in-law later turned her attention to other hobbies.

“She went on, and I continued,” Mauzey said. “The rest is history.”

Mauzey continued quilting, starting with small pieces before graduating to full-size quilts in 2005. She had been accustomed to sewing since she was a little girl. Her mother was a seamstress, and she regularly sewed projects for home economics classes and 4-H club while in school. However, the class had given her the first experiences she had with quilting.

When she first started quilting, she practiced with small projects to perfect her technique before tackling larger ones, a strategy she said helped her when she did begin making full-size quilts.

“It took me three years to finish my first quilt,” Mauzey said.

2005 was also the year Mauzey’s husband passed away. She said quilting gave her a creative outlet to help her stay busy while she mourned his death. She said immersing herself in the art of quilting, along with enjoying the camaraderie of the other women in her informal quilting group, helped her stay positive during that tough time.

“This has been my saving grace, keeping busy making quilts after my husband died,” she said.

Mauzey estimates she has created 35 to 40 full-sized quilts since then, entering quilt shows at the Museum Center and winning a few awards in the process. She said her secret to success is being unafraid to experiment with new sewing patterns and fabric choices.

“I see a pattern, and, if I like it, I adapt it to my own colors,” Mauzey said.

Her favorite quilts of the ones she’s made happen to be the ones that have received awards, she said.

The first quilt she ever exhibited won first place for “Best Use of Color” in the Museum Center’s Stitches in Time quilt show in 2011 and was titled “The Tea Ceremony.” It featured Japanese-inspired fabrics and depicted cups of tea, kimonos and Japanese characters designed to remind viewers of Japan’s culture. Another favorite, titled “Black, White and Red All Over,” features a bright red floral design against a black-and-white background made up of a variety of patterns, including one that resembles an old newspaper page, complete with headlines and stories. That quilt won third place in the “Best Use of Color” category in 2012’s show.

Mauzey said she would encourage everyone, especially young people, to learn quilting, adding that it is a learned skill that is “easy” once you know how to measure and cut the fabric correctly. From there, all that is left to do is sew.

“It’s a game of accuracy more than anything,” she said.

For more information about the Stitches in Time quilt show, visit the museum’s website, MuseumCenter.org, or call 423-339-5745.