The Jewell Wolk Story Quilt Project - Jewell Wolk

jewell wolkThis project is dedicated to the memory of Betty "Jewell" Wolk. Over the course of twenty-five years, Jewell completed nine quilts and began a final, tenth quilt. Each quilt tells a unique story about some aspect of women's lives and work.

Jewell was an extraordinary artist and creative storyteller. Founder of the famous Montana Storytelling Roundup, she knew how to tell a story. The project seeks to show how each quilt came into being and the stories that are associated with each scene or vignette pictured on the quilts. For more information about the project, click on the "PROJECT" tab above. To see each of the quilts check out the "STORY QUILTS" section.

The "QUILT STORIES" section includes one story for each quilt. Written by Paul and Barbara Krause, the stories integrate the scenes found on the quilts into one complete story for each quilt. Eventually the stories will be either published separately or as a set. In addition, Paul Krause intends to create an e-book that will include video animations of some of the stories.

The "DOCUMENTARY FILM" section includes background information about the film Paul Krause is working on and will eventually link to video sites where the film may be viewed.

We intend to show the quilts in as many public venues as possible. Jean Wakely, Jewell's daughter, is in charge of this part of the project and has already arranged to show some of the quilts at the annual meeting of the Montana Historical Society. Visit our site regularly for detailed listings of places where the quilts will be shown.

The following is an excerpt from Jewell's obituary. It was published by the Great Falls Tribune on April 27, 2011.

Betty Jewell Wolk was born to a German sodbuster farmer, Henry Otto Peterson, and schoolmarm Mary Blythe Peter-son on July 10, 1924, at Deacon-ess Hospital in Great Falls. She was their third child of five. Jewell attended country school and Cut Bank High School. After high school, Jewell was a telephone operator for the Cut Bank party line system.

Jewell and Robert Walter Wolk were married at the ranch in Cut Bank after Bob returned from a tour of duty as a volunteer pi-lot/engineer for American Airlines at the Gold Coast of Africa during World War II. Jewell was Bob's sweetheart and only love. They lived for a while in Los Angeles, Calif. Jewell was lonesome for her family so Bob brought her back to Cut Bank. He dug a basement apartment on Fifth Avenue next to H.O. and Mary. They lived in the basement with Bob's mother and their first child, Bobbie Jean.

When building supplies became available, a first floor was built and they moved upstairs. With a furnished basement apartment, Bob and Jewell started their lifelong career as landlords. Jewell enjoyed her life as a wife, mother, landlord and community volunteer. At heart, Jewell was a deeply committed philanthropist. But, instead of bestowing money, she gave her time to so many clubs, groups and organizations.

Among her many adventures in philanthropy, she was a longtime Sunday school teacher. She designed every lesson from the point of view of a student, not a teacher. This foundation gave her the strength to step out in faith. She never had a plan. She simply wanted to learn and grow and gave the rest to God to figure out where it should go.

Jewell joined Toastmistress and Women's Club. Her passion was bridge, but her steam engine passion was people. She was a friend to many foreign military wives who were homesick and needed a friend.

She loved Cut Bank. She loved her neighbors. She refused to believe that people were "bad"–they all had a story, a talent, something to share. She brought out the best in everyone through her unfailing belief that God never made a nobody. Everyone was a somebody and she wanted to meet them and learn their story.

Jewell and Bob were inspired one night by a speaker who spoke about children who needed a home. Together they felt their two bedroom home on Fifth Avenue had plenty of room to share. After being blessed with three children, Jean, Fritz and Laurie, they opened their home to four more, Marion, Luella, Nancy and Jody. And, amazingly, their little house actually grew larger. Where you see a need, God opens doors and walls.

To sum up Jewell, she cared. She cared about every person she met. It was people who brought the world to Jewell's front door … to a tea party in her yard … to the beauty of God's majesty in her life.

Her quilts, storytelling and passion to make Cut Bank the best it could be brought music and talent to everyone's door. The Montana Storytelling Roundup started as an idea that had no middle or end. She stepped out in faith and let God direct the rest of the show. Her faith was her road map. God was her navigator. Wherever he opened a door she was guided through to a most blessed life, filled with the most interesting people and places she would ever know.