Jewell Wolk's Story Quilts

A thumbnail of each quilt is shown below. To see an enlarged version of a particular quilt, click on the quilt. You will then be able to choose each scene or vignette and read the stories that inspired the imagery.

story quilts shepherd book of ruth

Other Quilts

The Montana Centennial Quilt (1989)

Jewell contributed the header panel for the Montana Centennial Quilt shown below. The quilt features 56 blocks, one for each county in the state. Each block was created by a quilter who resided in the county depicted. The header pictures a wide variety of occumpations held by women during the period.

centennial quilt

The first woman to be married in the Montana Territory was Sweet Pine Woman to Augustin Hamel in 1846.  Together they had seven children, descendants of whom still live in Browning, MT.   

Jewell Wolk was commissioned to design the leader panel to the 1989 Montana Centennial Quilt.  Her quilt-life stories center around Women’s History.  We all know that the Blackfeet Indians, Cowboys, the Railroad and the Immegrants settled the west, but what about the women?  Each woman featured on the panel is a real-life story of a woman’s attempt to help settle the West.  Montana became a state November 8, 1889, and with it came School Marms, Nuns, Indian Women, Nurses, Slaves and the like.  They brought home life, rules, manners, church, schooling, nursing, mothering, and clean laundry to the West.   The entire quilt is depicted in a booklet (no longer available) published by Mary Hurley and Marian S. Sweeney of Stevensville, MT in 1988.  Every block was made by a woman from every county in the state depicting a special scene or event from that county, along with accounts and stories surrounding it.  A quilting bee was formed to quilt this enormous quilt. 

The Montana Centennial Quilt is available for Special Exhibitions through Jean Wakely and Mary Hurley at jeanwakely@gmail.com or 507-663-9085.

Registered with the Montana History Museum, Helena, Montana

The Quilt Show

Jewell's first quilt is shown below. It features 12 panels, each one shows a woman exhibiting a quilt at a quilt show.

first quilt

Found on the cover of Quilter’s Newsletter Magazine, January, 1980, Bertha Stenge’s design “The Show Quilt”, 1943, (now in the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago), Jewell found her inspiration.  Her daughter, Jean, was getting married and her trousseau trunk was sorely lacking (save a pair of stolen salt and pepper shakers and an ashtray).  Jewell needed to get to work.  Her first attempt at making a quilt came from this inspiration photo.  But, like reading a recipe, Jewell would look it over and say something like, ‘well, that will never do’ and began the remake.  Each miniature quilt was made by Jean’s grandmothers and aunts and neighbors.  Jewell hand-copied the design (we don’t need a pattern!), but opted to recreate a center medallion of her own design.  It was Jewell’s first attempt at “3-D” quilting designs:  horses’ tail and the fence posts that stand away from the quilt.  Jean’s only regret – well two regrets – is that the family and friends who made each little quilt didn’t sign them; and, that she proudly displayed the quilt on her new bed in her mountain home in Colorado which subjected the poly-cotton fabric to intense sun damage.

Registered with the Montana History Museum, Helena, Montana